MacSweeney lauds Irish performance in Belgium

Ireland picked up a bronze medal at Royal Waterloo. Photo: EGA.

Ireland captain Niall MacSweeney was thrilled with his players as they touched down in Dublin Airport with their bronze medals from the European Amateur Team Championship.

Ireland were comprehensive 6-1 winners over England in the third-place playoff on Saturday afternoon to end a great week on a high at Royal Waterloo in Belgium.

It was a good week for all Irish sides involved with the Boys team winning Flight B, while the Girls beat England in their Flight A playoff and the Women were unlucky to lose to France in their final match.


But the Men, who came so close to reaching the decider only to lose narrowly against Denmark on Friday, performed heroics in Flight A.

“A fantastic week, a fantastic bunch of lads,” said MacSweeney.

“We travelled with a team in form. There was competition for places but we were satisfied with the team that we had going.

“We believed we had every chance of going deep in the competition and it worked out that way.”

Caolan Rafferty and Matt McClean were the key combination for Ireland all week and they put the first point on the board in Friday’s semi-final against Denmark. However, Denmark were too strong in the afternoon and came back to win 4.5-2.5.

Ireland still advanced to the bronze medal match and with Rafferty and McClean laying the platform again, Mark Power and Liam Nolan also won, with Open bound Alex Maguire on target too on a famous day for Irish golf.

“There were two elements to the week, you had to qualify through Stroke Play before you reached Friday which was obviously the goal at the end of the first two days,” said MacSweeney.

“Great Stroke Play performance, we started a little bit slowly, our front nine on day one, but rallied on day two and finished with great momentum.

“Liam Nolan who was our last man out eagling the 18th which put us into tenth place, put us in a position to attack.

“The following morning we got up and at it early. Our first three lads out put us in a super position. I think we shot a combined -11.

“For the second few lads to come out and tidy it off, finish in fourth overall in Stroke Play qualifying, drawing France in the quarter-final the following morning.”

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