Ireland edged out of Under-25 Home Internationals by Scots at Belmont
Battling Ireland were yesterday edged out in their final game in the 2014 Under-25 Home Internationals at Belmont, but manager Michael Nutt was far from despondent.
In a tournament that started so well, the young Irish side had to settle for third place in the final standings as Scotland agonisingly claimed a last-ditch four-shots win following a thrilling contest.
Under Nutt's leadership for the first time, the boys in green made a sensational start to the campaign with a dramatic 42-shots win over Wales.
But the Irish, looking to win the title for the first time since their landmark breakthrough victory at the City of Derry club four years ago, suffered a 24-shots defeat against an impressive England team in their second outing. And, the English emphasised their superiority yesterday morning with another 19-shots success against Wales which guaranteed them the trophy for the eighth time, equalling Scotland's record.
"The boys put in another great shift against the Scots," said Nutt. "There is certainly a tinge of disappointment about the result simply because we held a 20-shots lead at one stage."
Ireland won on all four rinks in that opener against Wales, which was also another first at this level, courtesy of Gary Kelly, Robert Kirkwood, Shane Leonard, Terry Crawford, Alistair Coleman and Matthew Crawford. Kelly then produced a stunning finale in his second game to snatch a last end win over England's Sam Tolchard (24-23). Terry Crawford also defeated Tristan Morton while Kirkwood ground out a 25-25 draw with Dan Morris.
Ballymoney man Kelly and Belmont's Terry Crawford yesterday made it three out of three in the final outing against Scotland, beating Daniel McDougall (28-20) and Calum Taggart (19-18). Shane Leonard finished on a high by claiming a 19-13 win against Ryan Burnett.
RESULTS: 2014 Under-25 Home Internationals
Wales 110 England 129 (J Skinner 15 P Martin 17, M Thomas 7 T Morton 31, O Dando 15 J Walker 24, M Newcombe 20 J Willgress 16, R Owen 33 S Tolchard 19, D Davis jnr 20 D Morris 22).
Scotland 126 Ireland 121 (R Burnett 13 S Leonard 19, C Taggart 18 T Crawford 19, K Anderson 29 A Coleman 18, C Logan 25 M Crawford 22, D McDougall 10 G Kelly 28, D Kiltie 31 R Kirkwood 15).
Wales 104 Ireland 146 (R Owen 15 G Kelly 22, D Davis jnr 16 R Kirkwood 30, J Skinner 17 S Leonard 19, M Thomas 18 T Crawford 27, O Dando 23 A Coleman 28, N Newman 15 M Crawford) 20.
England 152 Scotland 100 (S Tolchard 21 D McDougall 12, D Morris 20 D Kiltie 20, P Martin 17 R Burnett 19, T Morton 18 C Taggart 27, J Walker 23 K Anderson 28, J Willgress 27 C Logan 12).
Wales 97 Scotland 130 (O Dando 28 K Anderson 15, M Newman 18 C Logan 22, R Owen 11 D McDougall 22, D Davis jnr 13D Kiltie 25, J Skinner 18 R Burnett 22, M Thomas 20 C Taggart 17).
Ireland 120 England 144 (A Coleman 14 J Walker 23, M Crawford 19 J Willgress 34, G Kelly 24 S Tolchard 23, R Kirkwood 25 D Morris 25, S Leonard 18 P Martin 22, T Crawford 20 T Morton 17).
Final positions: 1 England 6pts; 2 Scotland 4pts; 3 Ireland 2pts; 4 Wales 0pts.