Girls fightback falls short in Vagliano Trophy quest
Great Britain and Ireland could not wrest control of the Vagliano Trophy from Europe at Malone Golf Club on Saturday.
The biennial tournament, which pits the best amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland against their continental counterparts, has been held by the European team since 2007 and they took the 2015 edition with a 12 and a half to 11 and a half victory.
Cavan golfer Leona Maguire, ranked as the number one amateur in the world coming into the competition, played a starring role for her team but it proved insufficient after Europe did just enough to hold off a late fightback.
Entering Saturday with a 6 and a half to 5 and a half advantage from the first day's play, Europe doubled their advantage after the morning foursomes.
Despite leading for long stretches, Maguire and fellow Ulster golfer Olivia Mehaffey halved their match with Noemi Jimenez and Luna Sobron.
Albane Valenzuela and Nuria Iturrios secured a 4&3 win over Bronte Law and Chloe Williams with Celine Boutier and Justine Dreher defeating Meghan Maclaren and Alice Hewson by the same margin.
Hayley Davis and Charlotte Thomas reduced arrears with a 4&3 win of their own over Linnea Strom and Madelene Sagstrom.
Maguire was first out for the singles and the Duke University student put down an important marker with a 4&2 win over Sobron.
Law followed suit with a 3&1 win over Jimenez to tie proceedings and a once unlikely comeback appeared a distinct possibility.
Royal County Down's Mehaffey's contest with Boutier always looked set to be crucial.
The 17-year-old local took the first, eighth and 13th but was pegged back by the 18th and Boutier took the final hole, and the point, to move Europe once again into a winning position.
With Iturrios having already secured a 5&3 win over Gemma Clews, a win for Valenzuela and a half from Olivia Cowan were enough to secure the victory despite both Maclaren and Williams taking a point from their contests.