Ireland’s remarkable summer of amateur success shows no signs of running out of steam.
Victory in the Home Internationals at Royal Portrush earned Ireland back-to-back titles for the first time since 1992.
They did so without three of their more experienced players in Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass), Gary Hurley (West Waterford), and Paul Dunne (Greystones) who are in America, preparing for the US Amateur Championship.
It was a personal triumph for Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell who made the telling contribution in the final match against Scotland, wrapping up a 4&3 victory over Greig Marchbank to put Ireland over the line.
Campbell formed a formidable foursomes partnership with John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) and finished the event unbeaten with 5.5 points out of six, earning the Player of the Tournament award.
“I put it right up there as the highlight of my career alongside winning East of Ireland Championship,” said Colm.
“To stay undefeated was a great achievement and then to cap it all off by winning the player of the tournament. It was a great week all round.”
Ireland made a shaky start to the Championship, drawing their opening tie with England 7.5-7.5 but they improved from there, beating Wales 9.5-5.5 before crushing Scotland 11-4.
“There is a great connection between the Ireland players, everyone gets on really well and I think that’s a great reflection on Irish golf at the minute,” added Colm.
“Look at the team, we had a couple of potential Walker Cup players, and a host of Championship winners in Stuart Grehan, Dermot McElroy and John Ross Galbraith but there are no egos, no-one running around saying they are better than anyone else.
“It’s great to be part of that environment and it seeps out onto the course.
“On Friday everyone else was finished and John Ross was the only player out on the course, but everyone went out to watch him play the last couple of holes, that speaks volumes.”
Galbraith finished the event with 4.5 points out of six and relished the opportunity to play the anchor role at the bottom of the singles order throughout the week.
“Tony [Goode – Irish Captain] said at the start of the week that he was going to put me in the anchor role,” said Galbraith, winner of the North of Ireland Championship back in July.
“It was nice to get that vote of confidence, that if it came down to me he had trust in me to come through.
“I enjoy that – when the pressure on – it almost makes me play better.
“It was a great week. Me and Colly [Campbell] sort of said at the start of the week that we fancied playing together in the foursomes.
“We thought we could do well together and we gelled really well and played some good golf. Everyone on the team was playing well and I always thought we were going to be hard to beat, so it was really good to pull it off.”
The Home Internationals effectively marked the end of the season for Galbraith who will not be defending his Irish Close title this week at Tramore GC after failing to submit his entry on time!
“I only realised with about half an hour remaining before the deadline,” said the 21-year-old.
“I was having problems getting on-line. I just ran out of time.”
“The GUI brought out a policy last year that no late entries would be accepted so I couldn’t do anything about it. I was very annoyed.”
It means the North of Ireland Champion can put the clubs away before he tackles Euro Tour Q-School in late September.
“I’ll get some time away from golf and I’m going on holidays at the start of September,” added JR.
“Then I will spend getting ready for tour school.
“I’ll maybe try and find an event or two to enter, just something to keep the sharpness up.”