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Grant's back nine salvo secures her second Irish championship

By Phil Casey

Lisburn's Paula Grant was crowned Irish Women's Close champion for the second time yesterday after battling back to see off the stubborn challenge of Hermitage's Ciara Casey 3 and 1 in the final at Mullingar.

In a match that was nip and tuck until the turn Dubliner Casey - on the back of her recent Hermitage Ladies Scratch Cup and Ulster Women's Open triumphs - looked to have seized the initiative when she took the 10th and 11th to go two holes up. But Irish international Grant, the leading qualifier at this year's Ladies' British Amateur Open Championship, has herself also been in excellent form and responded by winning three holes on the trot between 12-14 to grab the lead back.

It was a lead she would not surrender for the remainder of the contest, taking the 15th to go two up with three to play, before finishing it on the 17th green.

It's a second Irish Close crown for Lisburn star Grant, who also won it at Ballybunion in 2013 when she defeated Slieve Russell's Lisa Maguire on the 19th.

Earlier in the day Grant had seen off Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) to reach the final while Casey rallied from two down with five to play to defeat 2010 champion Mary Dowling from New Ross 2 and 1 in the other semi-final.

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