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Ireland set sights on five in a row at Home Internationals

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Ireland’s World Amateur Golf Championship team members Robin Dawson, Conor Purcell and John Murphy are already setting their sights on the next challenge.

Above – 2017 Irish Home International Team – Image from pat Cashman
Dawson and Purcell prepare for this week’s date with destiny at Conwy, Wales where the Irish team bids for an historic fifth successive Home Internationals title, while Murphy returns to the USA to play for his college, the University of Louisville.
Murphy (Kinsale) spoke of his regret at missing the chance to compete in Conwy but is obliged to return to Louisville after a week he described as: “All in all, it was an experience that none of us will ever forget. It was a very enjoyable week, and I will never forget it.”
The 20 year old winner of the St Andrews Links Trophy last June has shot to prominence in the last couple of years, but has yet to play in the Home Internationals.
“Yes, I’ve never played Home Internationals, and I’d love to be playing in that, but  we’ve got our first college tournament starting next Friday on our home course in Lousiville.
“It’s a shame. I’d love to be playing Home Internationals, but that’s the way it goes.
“We have eleven incredible players going over to try to win the five in a row, so I’ll  be keeping tabs on the scores, hole by hole,” said Murphy.
Dawson, 22, exudes confidence, as befits a golfer who is preparing to end his association with the amateur game and turn professional after the Home Internationals.
The Tramore GC member had only four bogeys in 72 holes of the demanding World Amateur Championship at Carton House.
Overall, Dawson was 14-under par through the two rounds on the Montgomerie Course, and two on the O’Meara Course.
“You can get away with it bit around here as well, but it gives you confidence, doesn’t it,” he said.
Dawson does not expect any WAGC tiredness to impact his game at Conwy.
The reigning Irish Open Amateur champion and Amateur Championship runner-up is excited about the individual and team challenge this week.
Either way, it’s farewell to the unpaid ranks.
“It would be nice to go out on a high,” said Dawson.
Conor Purcell, 21, has opted out of the college scene in the USA after two years attending the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
Instead, the Portmarnock golfer will focus solely on his golf on this side of the Atlantic for the next year, with 2019 Walker Cup selection one of his ambitions.
Purcell, a son of the renowned PGA professional Joey Purcell, made his Irish debut in the Home Internationals of 2016, the year he won the South of Ireland championship.
In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s final round of the World Amateurs, Purcell was a tad disappointed with a one-over par round of 74 on the O’Meara Course.
He did, however, play impressive golf tee to green, and just needed the rub of the green with his putting to capitalise on some fine approach work.
“I’ll play the amateur circuit full-time next year and see where that leaves me.
“I am not going to rush into anything, or turn pro any time soon.
“Obviously next year Walker Cup will be on the radar, and we will see what happens and whether I make or don’t make the team.
“For the next 12 months, I will do my best and see where it leaves me,” said Purcell.
Irish national coach Neil Manchip put the experience of competing in the World Amateur Championship into perspective when he said: “This particular tournament,  very few players play it more than once because the cycle it comes in, if they’ve made this team, they tend to turn pro before the next one comes around. 
“It’s a special event, absolutely and really special to be playing at home. They’ll remember this for the rest of their lives, and they’ll be talking about it for years to come.”
The ILGU and the GUI’s hosting of these World Championships – Espirito Santo for the women, and Eisenhower Trophy for the men – was a huge and historic undertaking.
Victory ultimately went to the USA women and the Danish men’s team.
Ireland gave a céad míle fáilte to the 58 Espirito Santo teams and the 71 countries who played in the men’s event.
The players, officials and supporters of those teams will have gone home very impressed with the facilities at Carton House and the organisation of the tournaments.
Neil Manchip and Irish team manager John Carroll were focuse on performance but Manchip confirmed that the staging of the championship resonated with the participants.
“It was a well run week overall. All the volunteers were fantastic.
“We had great crowds out watching the guys.
“I’ve heard nothing but compliments about Carton House and about the way it was run and everything. I think it’s been great,” he said.
The Irish team for the Home Internationals at Conwy (Wednesday September 12-Friday September 14) is: Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan); Robin Dawson (Tramore); Alex Gleeson (Castle); Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene); Ronan Mullarney (Galway); Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas); Mark Power (Kilkenny); Conor Purcell (Portmarnock); Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk); James Sugrue (Mallow); Jonathan Yates (Naas).
Team Captain: John Carroll (Bandon). Team Manager: Niall MacSweeney (Athenry). National Coach: Neil Manchip .

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