The Irish underage panel return will home from Cardiff later this evening with the Stokes Cup in tow after a nerve-wracking final round.
Starting into the final round a half point ahead of England, the u-12s just needed to match against Scotland England’s score against Wales. And they had the best possible start – Wales won the first game of the afternoon, and Ireland the next. Having already beaten Scotland 6-0, things were looking good for Ireland.
The next three games, however, all went against the Irish – England won two, and we “only” picked up a draw. But when Ireland won the next two and Wales picked up a draw, we needed just a single point from the last four matches to go our way.
And then things went horribly wrong! Ireland lost their last two games – including a defeat for the previously reliable Ross, who ended on an excellent 4½/6 – and England won; it suddenly all came down to the last game! Fortunately, the Welsh player queened and delivered mate, meaning the celebrations could start. Only half a point separated the two teams in the end, but it was enough for a first Stokes Cup for the Irish.
Elsewhere, we were third across the board, with surprise hammerings costing us second in the Glorney and Robinson Cups. Top scorer across the Irish teams was Rathmines’ Michael Higgins on 6/6, followed by Ross and Conor O’Donnell on 4½/6.