Manager Jim Baker admitted Irish selectors have a ‘daunting job’ in naming the five-man team for next season’s Commonwealth Games.
Ireland’s ‘Elite squad’ defeated Wales in an International Test Series at Kelvingrove, Glasgow, over the weekend, with every member staking a claim for a seat on the flight back to Scotland next year.
Battling Ireland triumphed in nine of the 16 games in four disciplines - singles, pairs, triples and fours.
With the Commonwealth selection process now nearing the finish line, the pressure is now mounting on the panel to whittle the 11-man group down to five!
Current Irish double title holder, Marty McHugh, certainly did his chances no harm at all by finishing the two-day Test unbeaten.
“This was a vital part of our Commonwealth preparation,” said Baker. “The only player from the Elite squad missing was Neil Booth, who was attending a wedding.
“The Series also gave the players a chance of competing on the actual greens where the Games will be hosted. Wales named their strongest team, so it was a good workout.
“We are working with a squad of 11, so the selectors will have tough call to make when the time comes to finalising the team.”
McHugh got Ireland off the the best possible start with an impressive 21-18 singles win over Robert Weale, who will almost certainly represent Wales in that discipline in Glasgow.
The big Whitehead man also featured in the triples and fours. McHugh joined Mark McPeak, Neil Mullholland and Mark Wilson in the latter and they enjoyed a 14-10 success against Mark Harding, Andrew Fleming, Paul Taylor and Jon Tomlinson in the second session.
Stephen Shields, Neil Mulholland and Ian McClure then linked up with McHugh again in the fours and they edged a tense 13-12 win against Mark Harding, Marc Wyatt, Jon Tomlinson and Weale.
Then in Sunday morning’s final series of matches, McPeak, McKee and McHugh chalked up a 15-12 victory against Harding, Taylor and Weale in the triples.
Meanwhile, Irish women’s boss Sally McGarel stressed he was ‘happy’ her team’s showing against what was Wales’ Commonwealth side.
The battling Irish ended the Series level, having won nine of the 18 games - with the pairs proving to be the strongest discipline.
Ireland won only two of the six singles games, but repaired the damage in the pairs by enjoying three victories from the four ties.
The triples were shared, courtesy of an impressive performance from Sile Garvey, Ashleigh Rainey and Sarah Jane Coleman, who beat Hanna Smith, Kelly Packwood and Kathy Pearce 15-8.
And, in the final discipline, the four games were shared in the fours.
Sally McAuley was the only singles winner. She defeated Ceris Hewlings (21-13) before roaring to a 21-10 win over Smith.
The experienced Mandy Cunningham -- the current Irish singles champion -- teamed up with Barbara Cameron in the pairs and they got that discipline off to a great start with a 14-8 victory over Caroline Taylor and Anwen Butten.
Cunningham and Cameron then scored an equally impressive 17-11 victory against Hewlings and Butten. Garvey and Jennifer Dowds ensured Ireland would top that section by beating Taylor and Butten 15-12.
“It was a good exercise . . . and a creditable performance against a very strong Welsh side,” said Irish boss Sally McGarel.
“The tournament also gave the players a taste of playing at the Kelvingrove arena.
“It was a great experience for everyone involved with the side.”
Singles: C McMillen (Ireland) 20 C Hewlings (Wales) 21; C Eadie (Ireland) 12 C Taylor (Wales) 21; S McAuley (Ireland) 21 C Hewlings (Wales) 13; C McMillen 16 C Taylor (Wales) 21; M Cunningham (Ireland) 11 C Taylor (Wales) 21; S McAuley (Ireland) 21 H Smith (Wales) 10.
Pairs: M Cunnngham, B Cameron (Ireland) 14 C Taylor, A Butten (Wales) 8; M Cunnngham, B Cameron (Ireland) 17 C Hewlings, A Butten (Wales) 11; S Garvey, J Dowds (Ireland) 15 C Taylor, A Butten (Wales) 12; C McMillen, S McAuley (Ireland) 6 C Taylor, A Butten (Wales) 20.
Triples: S McAuley, J Dowds, D McCloy (Ireland) 14 H Smith, K Packwood, K Pearce (Wales) 18; S Garvey, A Rainey, SJ Coleman (Ireland) 15 H Smith, K Packwood, K Pearce (Wals) 8.
Fours: A Rainey, SJ Coleman, K Woodside, P Montgomery (Ireland) 12 H Smith, K Packwood, K Pearce, A Butten (Wales) 20; C Eadie, P Montgomery, D McCloy, J Dowds (Ireland) 13 C Hewlings, K Packwood, K Pearce, A Butten (Wales) 12; M Cunningham, K Woodside, A Rainey, SJ Coleman (Ireland) 11 H Smith, C Hewlings, K Pearce, A Butten (Wales) 18; M Cunningham, P Montgomery, B Cameron, D McCloy (Ireland) 18 H Smith, C Hewlings, K Packwood, K Pearce (Wales) 10.
Singles: M McHugh (Ireland) 21 R Weale (Wales) 10; I McClure (Ireland) 15 P Taylor (Wales) 21; G Kelly (Ireland) 17 R Weale (Wales) 21; P Daly(Ireland) 21 P Taylor (Wales)19.
Pairs: G Kelly, J Talbot (Ireland) 17 S Harris, A Fleming (Wales) 7; P Daly, J Talbot (Ireland) 14 S Harris, M Wyatt (Wales) 11; S Shields, I McClure (Ireland) 10 M Harding, R Weale (Wales) 16.
Triples: M McPeak, M Wilson, G Kelly (Ireland) 11 S Harris, M Wyatt, J Tomlinson (Wales) 16; S Shields, N Mulholland, J Talbot (Ireland) 18 M Harding, A Fleming R Weale (Wales) 8; P Daly, M Wilson, G McKee (Ireland) 12 A Fleming, P Taylor, S Harris 20; M McPeak, G McKee, M McHugh (Ireland) 15 M Harding, P Tayor, J Tomlinson (Wales) 12.
Fours: P Daly, G McKee, M Wilson, I McClure (Ireland) 11 M Harding, P Taylor, J Tomlinson, M Wyatt (Wales) 14; M McPeak, N Mulholland, M Wilson, M McHugh (Ireland) 14 M Harding, A Fleming, P Taylor, J Tomlinson (Wales) 10; S Shields, N Mulholland, I McClure, M McHugh (Ireland) 13 M Harding, M Wyattt, J Tomlinson, R Weale (Wales) 12; M McPeak, G McKee, J Talbot, G Kelly (Ireland) 18 A Fleming, S Harris, M Wyatt, J Tomlinson (Wales) 9; S Shields, N Mulholland, M Wilson, I McClure (Ireland) 10 S Harris, A Fleming, J Tomlinson, M Wyatt (Wales) 18.