European Team Championships
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS - 2001
Saturday May 5th 2001 was a wonderful afternoon for the Irish on the Costa Brava. The Ireland team won the second European Team championship at the Lloret Papalus course, north of Barcelona. Two matches to one down after the morning foursomes in the final to hosts Catalonia, the Irish scooped five of the afternoon's six singles to clinch a memorable victory. James Marshall of Catalonia pitched to eighteen inches at the home hole to defeat Sean Harkins one up in the top singles.
That gave the Catalans a 3-1 advantage but wins by Derry McCarthy (always in control against Josep Pellicer) and by Irish skipper Ray Murphy (comfortably over the Catalan star of the previous day Gines Fernandez) leveled matters. Chris Scannell and Mark Millar gave Ireland the five points they needed for victory with wins over Ramon Carrera and Marc Lloret - the matches finishing almost simultaneously on the 17th and 16th greens respectively. That great campaigner Sean Downes rounded it all off with a one up win over Jordi Saborit - the Meathman resisting a late rally from the Catalan who birdied the 15th and 16th to reduce Downes' lead to one. Ireland's vital point in the morning foursomes was supplied by the all-Cork pairing of Scannell and Murphy.
Ireland finished as leading qualifiers in the 36 hole Strokeplay qualifying round on Thursday. Ireland shot a team total (best five out of six) of 36 under par to head Catalonia by nine shots. Sean Downes' 99 won the prize for the best individual score - that was on the back nine of the second 18 from Chris Scannell who had the consolation of taking the prize for the most birdies (presented by the Lombardia tourist region of Italy) with 12. Sean Harkins was second in this category on 11.
That first position in the Strokeplay event qualified holders Ireland for Group A in the Round Robin Matchplay against No. 4 seeds Great Britain and No. 6 seeds France. As expected Ireland made it through the Round Robin as Group A winners to reach the final. Sean Harkins was the only Irish loser against France - he went down to a last hole birdie by Jean Patrick Lorgeou. Chris Scannell halved his match with Savio Fernandez of Britain - winning the 17th in par to square and narrowly failing with a birdie try on the 18th green.