Munster upset the hosts and Leinster moved back into contention on day two of the Men’s Interprovincial Championship in Athenry.
A top class performance from Munster in the singles secured a convincing 8.5-2.5 victory against Connacht, who trailed by a point after the morning foursomes. Leinster, meanwhile, got their four-in-a-row bid back on track with a 7.5-3.5 win over Ulster.
It’s all to play for on the final day with all four teams still in the mix. Any one of Connacht, Leinster and Munster could yet take the trophy. With Connacht playing Ulster on the final day and Leinster facing off against Munster, it could be the hosts that have the edge but it is guaranteed to be a tense final day in Athenry.
After the high of beating the defending champions on the opening day, Connacht suffered a setback on day two. Trailing 2.5-1.5 following the morning foursomes – Ronan Mullarney and Jack McDonnell their only pair to win – Connacht needed a strong showing in the singles but it was Munster who prevailed.
James Sugrue, Eanna Griffin, Peter O’Keeffe and Andrew McCormack all won down 18 in what was a closely fought contest overall. John Hickey enjoyed a clear-cut 4&3 win against Joe Lyons and Garry O’Flaherty held sway in the back match, beating home favourite David Kitt 3&2.
Leinster dominated the foursomes, taking the first session 3-1 on their way to victory. Caolan Rafferty and Eugene Smith combined in the top match, winning 2&1, while Alan Fahy and Charlie Denvir finished two up. Denvir delivered again in the singles, beating Marc Norton by two holes and there were wins also for Fahy, Smith and Robert Brazill.
Day 2 Scores
Connacht 2.5 Munster 8.5 (Connacht names first)
A Gleeson & S Flanagan lost to A McCormack & C Butler 3&2; A Hill & D Kitt lost to J Sugrue & E Griffin 2&1; R Mullarney & J McDonnell beat G O’Flaherty & P O’Keeffe 5&4; J Lyons & TJ Ford halved with J Hickey & G Lenehan; A Gleeson lost to J Sugrue 1H; A Hill lost to E Griffin 2H; R Mullarney lost to P O’Keeffe 1H; J McDonnell lost to A McCormack 1H; TJ Ford beat C Butler 3&2; J Lyons lost to J Hickey 4&3; D Kitt lost to G O’Flaherty 3&2
Ulster 3.5 Leinster 7.5 (Ulster names first)
R Black & R Dutton lost to C Rafferty & E Smith beat 2&1; M McKinstry & M Norton halved with J Yates & R Brazill; T McLarnon & M McClean lost to A Fahy & C Denvir 2H; P Kerr & R Williamson halved with R Cannon & R Moran; T McLarnon halved with C Rafferty; R Black beat J Yates 1H; P Kerr beat R Cannon 2&1; M McClean lost to R Brazill 1H; M McKinstry lost to A Fahy 5&4; R Dutton lost to E Smith 4&3; M Norton lost to C Denvir 2H
Ulster v Connacht
T McLarnon & M McClean v D Kitt & A Hill; M McKinstry & M Norton v A Gleeson & S Flanagan; R Black & R Dutton v J Lyons & TJ Ford; R Williamson & P Kerr v R Mullarney & J McDonnell
Munster v Leinster
A McCormack & C Butler v C Rafferty & E Smith; J Sugrue & E Griffin v J Yates & R Brazill; G Lenehan & P O’Keeffe v A Fahey & C Denvir; G O’Flaherty & J Hickey v R Cannon & R Moran