Lester the Leinster leader

by Gazette Reporter
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HERMITAGE Golf Club’s Rowan Lester helped Leinster produce a phenomenal display on the final day at Rosapenna to reclaim the Interprovincial Championship for the first time in seven years.
Team captain Seamus McParland kept faith with his young guns throughout the week and they delivered in spades in the decisive match against Munster.
The winning point came courtesy of Lester in the afternoon singles after the foundations for victory were laid in the morning foursomes as Leinster whitewashed their southern rivals. Lester and Kevin LeBlanc set the tone with a gutsy one-hole win in the top match against Eanna Griffin and Ian O’Rourke.
One down with two to play, the Leinster pair made winning pars on 17 and 18 to steal a huge point for their side. Thomas Mulligan and Paul McBride secured another big point on 17 with a 2 and 1 success against Robin Dawson and John Hickey while Alan Lowry and Conor O’Rourke did likewise in the final match against Pat Murray and Geoff Lenehan.
The third game also went the distance but Jeff Hopkins and Richard Bridges held firm on 18 to secure a two-hole win.
That 4-0 result left Leinster one and a half points from victory heading into the afternoon’s final session. In search of a miracle, Phil Cooney’s Munster side battled bravely but the tide was always against them.
The Island’s Paul McBride was the undisputed star of the tournament, finishing with a 100% record and he signed off in style with a comprehensive five and four victory against Robin Dawson.
After McBride collected his sixth point of the week for Leinster, the way was clear for Lester to wrap up the championship and he did so with a fine two and one win against John Hickey.
The Hermitage teenager went three up on 15 to secure the half point Leinster needed to take the title. In the end the new champions finished six points clear of Munster thanks to their 8.5-2.5 win.
The only bright spark for Munster on a dismal afternoon was Eanna Griffin’s two-hole win against LeBlanc but not even the Waterford man’s fine record – five from six – could gloss over their final day collapse.
In the battle for third place, Ulster got the better of Connacht 8.5-2.5.

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