Positive signs for the future as Ireland wrap up at European Team Championships

European team championships

A hectic week of golf wrapped up on Saturday in Royal County Down as England walked away with the top prize in the European Ladies’ Team Championships.

High-flying Sweden went into Saturday’s final on the hunt for their fourth title in a row but despite being level after the morning session, England took firm control in the afternoon and Charlotte Heath wrapped up the victory for the side.

Overall, it was a positive campaign for the Irish team represented by Lauren Walsh, Anna Foster, Sara Byrne, Beth Coulter, Aine Donegan, and Annabel Wilson.

They posted strong results early in the week, earning the second-seed with a total score of +18 during Tuesday’s qualifiers. The following day, Ireland enjoyed an impressive start against the Italians, winning the first two foursomes matches before an afternoon fightback from their opponents saw them clinch the crucial winning points.

A narrow loss to Denmark set up Ireland for a final-day showdown against Spain in the battle for seventh place. A win against the Spaniards would have equaled Ireland’s best finish at a European Ladies Team Championship in 15 years, with a team not finishing in the top six since 2005.

Lauren Walsh and Sara Byrne got the action off to a terrific start with a win in the foursome but the team eventually fell to a 3-2 loss to Spain with Annabel Wilson recording their other win of the day.

Beth Coulter (IRL) and Annabel Wilson (IRL) in action during day 2 of matchplay at the European Ladies’ Team Championship, Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. 09/07/2021. Picture David Lloyd / Golffile.ie

There is plenty to be optimistic about for the future of ladies golf in Ireland as four of the six players made their senior international debut during the tournament in Royal County Down.

One of those players was Byrne who said that the week surpassed all her expectations.

“With it being my first senior cap, I didn’t really know what to expect but it’s just been a fantastic week. We’ve really bonded as a team and I just think we tried our best and we gave every effort we had out there.”

Sara Byrne (IRL) in action during day 2 of matchplay at the European Ladies’ Team Championship, Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. 09/07/2021. Picture David Lloyd / Golffile.ie

For Walsh, to play the European Ladies’ Team Championships at home was an extra special bonus.

“Getting to play at home is always really special. Some of our families and friends got to come up and watch. To have it at a venue like this, Royal County Down, it’s honestly been incredible, the condition of the golf course… Obviously, it’s a links course so some of the European teams aren’t used to this so that kind of played into our hand and all week we just kept to our strategy and we planned it out really well.

“To play a European Championship at home is really incredible. As Sara said, it’s a week we’ll look back on with very fond memories.”

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. View all posts by The PA Team