Ireland placed second in the Home Internationals for a second successive year as they again finished narrowly behind a strong Welsh team at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
The Irish team was hoping to regain the trophy they last captured in 2012 but, needing a 7-5 victory over England in the final encounter, fell agonisingly short and had to settle for a spirited 6-6 draw.
It was a perfect start for an Ireland set consisting of Rodney Goggins, Robert Murphy, Michael Judge and Keith Sheldreck as they overcame Wales A 8-4 on Saturday to pin hopes of a fifth success in the annual competition.
However, despite remaining unbeaten in their remaining four ties, the quartet were left to rue drawing three with an 8-4 triumph over Scotland their only other success.
In the last game against England, they knew that by winning at least seven frames they would be walking away as champions but life became very difficult as they quickly went 5-0 down.
A more than respectable fight back brought the scores to within one and there was hope for an unlikely turnaround but when the English made it 6-4 the writing was on the wall.
Meanwhile, Wales A’s Duane Jones, Gareth Allen, Jamie Clarke and Rhydian Richards responded well to their early defeat to the Irish by earning victories over Scotland, Wales B and Northern Ireland.
They managed only a draw with England as well but their 10-2 annihilation of the Scots proved the major difference and they just pipped Ireland to the post to become champions.
A gutsy effort once again, though, from Ireland and congratulations to a Welsh outfit comprising plenty of young up-and-coming talent.