What a great day for the Irish ladies as they were crowned the 2017 Ladies’ Home Internationals champions while England claimed victory in the Girls’ Home Internationals at Little Aston.
It was Ireland versus England in both the ladies and girls matches on the final day and and in both matches it was looking like it was England’s title to lose. In the ladies match both teams shared the morning foursomes and then England took an early lead in the singles but then the Irish ladies mounted a late comeback which led them to a momentous 5-4 victory.
Lianna Bailey beat Paula Grant 4&2 in the first singles on the course but the turnaround got underway when teenager Annabel Wilson came back from five down at the turn to beat Sophie Lamb by two holes.
Chloe Ryan (3&1) and Julie McCarthy (5&4) then got the better of India Clyburn and Gemma Clews before Mairead Martin came up the last and halved with Olivia Winning. Rochelle Morris did earn one final point for the English when she beat Curtis Cup colleague Maria Dunne by one hole in the last singles but by that time the outcome had been settled.
Clodagh Hopkins, Ireland Ladies’ captain said, “This is just amazing. I can’t believe it has happened. The English are a very strong team but I had an inkling we could get something out of the match. The girls have played so well and been so positive all week that I knew they had a chance. Every time we went out we did just enough and that’s exactly what we did today.”
“Golf in Ireland is looking good. Last year the girls did it. They put it up to us and we have responded. I think we’ll all have a big celebration tonight.”
In the girls’ event, a strong English team were in dominant form throughout the matches and battle to a 6 ½ – 2 ½ win on the last afternoon to seal their victory and their captain Gemma Butler was full of praise for her young team, “I’m absolutely thrilled. They are a very new, young team. We have four new Home Internationals players, three new caps, so to run the English so close is very encouraging. We knew we were up against it. We recognised that but after a shaky, nervous start we gave it a real go. I couldn’t be more proud, particularly at the end when one of our new caps won on the 17th and we managed to steal two halves on the 18th.”
“Annabel Wilson, aged 16, and Mairead Martin, aged 17, stepped up to the ladies’ team this year. We generously let the ladies have them. We’re building a new young team. We’ve got great hopes. We’re building it very well and we’ve got a few girls champing at the bit. Irish girls’ golf is in a good place right now.”