Ireland won the home internationals for only the 4th time in the events 34 year history. Ireland's last victory coming in 2001. The Irish team captained by Andrew Johnston made the best of the home advantage and the sun to secure an early lead with a 5-0 victory over Scotland on Saturday. England played late into the evening to scrape home 3-2 victors over Wales, leaving many of the round two matches to finish on the final day.
The key match to the event for the Irish was always going to be against England, as the match with Wales stood delicately poised 2-1 in Ireland's favour over night. England struck early on Sunday at number one seed as David Maugham put Andrew Johnston away 2-0 in a flawless match 17tp, 26tp where Andrew narrowly missed a number of lift shots. Simon Williams, in top form, playing at number 2 quickly struck back and leveled the match. Soon after Patsy Fitzgerald made it 2-1 to Ireland as he showed more and more form against a miss firing Richard Smith. This win turned the tide in Ireland's direction. Danny Johnston playing on the same lawn knew it and battled back superbly from 1-0 down against a world top 50 player in Robert Wilkinson to score the match win point over England. From then on the momentum was with the Irish and Ed Cunningham playing at seed three beat the highly respected Robin Brown in 2 games. This, the mathematicians and knowledgable spectators knew was the title clinching point and the applause was rapturous around the lawns at Carrickmines. The victory over Wales was quickly sealed by the Irish captain who efficiently beat the Welsh number 1, Ian Burridge. This gave Ireland a clean sweep of match wins and an impressive match win haul of 13 out of 15.
Elsewhere, Scotland struggled this year but a notable victory for the prodigal son, Duncan Reeve over David Maugham and a win for debutant Sam Murray.
Wales battled hard as usual and took England so close, again ! But David Walters was their stand out performer of the weekend.
Man of the event for Ireland would be difficult to judge but perhaps goes to Simon Williams with his flawless 6 games out of 6. Danny Johnston a close second for delivering the killer blow to England.
The support from the croquet playing community throughout the weekend was fantastic and really appreciated. Undoubtedly the use of croquetscores.com to report the results added to the event allowing people to stay in touch with the event and attend its historic conclusion.
Huge thanks from the team and CAI to Joe and Anne Marie McGowan for putting on a tremendous evening on Saturday. It greatly added to the event and was appreciated by all.