Caolan Rafferty celebrates with his teammates following their win in the 2021 Home Internationals
Ireland have won the Men’s Home International Matches at Hankley Common, halving their match with England on a day where Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty showed his mettle against one of the best amateur golfers in the world.
Entering the day high in confidence having overcome both Scotland and Wales, Ireland faced a tough English side, who were seeking to secure three Home International titles in a row.
The morning foursomes matches did not go to plan as Ireland took just two half points with England entering the afternoon session 4-1 up. One of those halves was secured by Rafferty and TJ Ford who took on the formidable duo of Jack Bigham and Josh Hill.
Rob Moran lead the Irish team into the singles matches in what was to be a stellar match with John Gough. Ten birdies by Moran was matched by a bogey-less round that included seven birdies from Gough, leading to the match being halved overall. Moran, who played all six sessions this week, added five points to Ireland’s tally.
Matt McClean secured a significant win over Zachary Chegwidden while Rafferty had one of the toughest tests of all the singles as he took on Laird Shepherd. The Englishman is the reigning Amateur champion, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the sport but the Louth man showed little fear in blitzing him convincing by a margin of 8&7.
Four more points were added by Hugh Foley, TJ Ford, Liam Nolan and Jack McDonnell to guarantee the all-important 7.5 and for Ireland to capture the Raymond Trophy for the 19th time and the first since 2017.
Ireland 7.5-7.5 England
Robert Moran and Alex Maguire halved with Jack Dyer and Arron Edwards-Hill
Peter O’Keeffe and Matt McClean lost to Olly Huggins and John Gough 1hole
Marc Boucher and Liam Nolan lost to Sam Bairstow and Haider Hussain 6&5
TJ Ford and Caolan Rafferty halved with Jack Bigham and Josh Hill
Hugh Foley and Alan Fahy lost to Zachary Chegwidden and Laird Shepherd 2&1
Robert Moran halved with John Gough
Alex Maguire lost to Jack Dyer 2 holes
Hugh Foley beat Sam Bairstow 1 hole
Peter O’Keeffe lost to Olly Huggins 7&5
TJ Ford beat Haider Hussain 3&1
Liam Nolan beat Callan Barrow 1 hole
Jack McDonnell beat Josh Hill 3&2
Alan Fahy lost to Jack Bigham 3&1
Matt McClean beat Zachary Chegwidden 6&5
Caolan Rafferty beat Laird Shepherd 8&7
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