Mahon and Munster representative Sean O’Leary masterminded a third successive win for Ireland in the European Senior Men’s Team Championship. The competition was held in Bulgaria in Pravets Golf Club. While Team Captain O’Leary planned the campaign, he was helped on the course by Cork’s Tom Cleary. The current Munster Senior’s champion went through the 36 hole strokeplay qualifier in -4, second in a field of over 120 golfers.
Ireland finished the strokeplay phase in first place, 24 strokes clear of second place. In the matchplay phase Cleary was partnered with Tramore’s John Mitchell as Ireland’s foursomes pair. They won their quarter-final and semi-final but lost out in their final match against Italy.
In a tense final against Italy that went down to the wire, all eyes were on Kelly when Garth McGimpsey squared the match at two points apiece. Italy had taken the foursomes point while Adrian Morrow was beaten 4&2 in the singles. However Arthur Pierse led the Irish revival, romping home with a 7&6 victory in the top singles match. His old sparring partner, McGimpsey, followed him in, taking the back match 3&2 and that left Kelly fighting for the championship on the 18th green against Vincenzo Sita. The Naas veteran held his nerve to deliver the decisive point.