With two victories apiece, it was a winner-takes-all clash for the reigning champions but they had to settle for second as England prevailed 8.5-6.5. Level after the foursomes, England dominated the singles, winning six of 10 matches, and they reached the magic total when David Langley beat Alex Gleeson by two holes.
It was still all to play for facing into the singles. Level at 2.5 points apiece, Ireland only required five points to retain the title — a halved match would see the reigning champions retain the trophy by virtue of their superior match points total (21-19.5 at the start of play) — and that meant England had to lead the charge.
The spoils were shared in the foursomes but crucially England salvaged a half from match number two when Tom Plumb and Tom Sloman won the last with a birdie. That left the teams tied at lunchtime. Robbie Cannon and James Sugrue had combined for an impressive 5&4 win while Tiarnan McLarnon and Ronan Mullarney maintained their unbeaten partnership with a 2&1 success.
A fast start to the singles put England in a promising position early in the afternoon. Mitch Waite was two up on Robin Dawson in the top match through nine holes and Andrew Wilson had total command against Conor Purcell, six up at the turn.
With the top two matches going England’s way, Ireland needed their middle order to come good. Mark Power fought valiantly to secure Ireland’s first success in the singles, edging Tom Sloman by two holes, but there was not enough green on the board with time running out.
Having got within a half point of overall victory, England knew the trophy was theirs when Langley beat Gleeson at the last. Even though Peter O’Keeffe, Ronan Mullarney and Tiarnan McLarnon rallied strongly to win points, it was not enough. McLarnon finished the week as Ireland’s most valuable player, winning all six of his matches. Mullarney also produced a sterling performance with five points to his name.