Two matches went down to No. 18 at Druids Glen Golf Club. The first of the two saw the Continental Europe team's Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez defeat Steve Webster and Paul Casey, 1-up.
The Great Britain & Ireland team avenged the earlier loss when Irishmen Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley bested Frenchmen Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin, 1-up.
The remaining matches were not as close. Colin Montgomerie, the Great Britain & Ireland team captain, teamed with Andrew Oldcorn to beat Niclas Fasth and Robert Karlsson 2-and-1.
Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke of the Great Britain & Ireland team rebounded from a shocking loss in the morning greensome matches by trouncing Thomas Bjorn and Alex Cejka 3-and-2.
'This is the way it goes,' said Continental Europe's captain Seve Ballesteros. 'The Great Britain & Irish team just played a little better, that's why they're ahead. Simple as that.'
'Good afternoon because it was a tough morning,' said Montgomerie. 'This afternoon was going our way, then it wasn't and then it was again.'
The first match to hit the closing hole did so because Olazabal ran home a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 17 to give his team a 1-up lead. Neither team played well off the tee at 18 with Olazabal in the right side of the fairway behind a tree and Webster in a fairway bunker.
Casey could not reach the green from the bunker so he pitched out but his ball landed in the right rough. Jimenez hit a poor approach as well, knocking his shot into the left rough under a tree.
Webster mis-hit the team's third and almost landed in a stream right of the putting surface. He missed the water and Casey flopped his shot six feet from the hole.
Olazabal pitched his shot high in the air to avoid low tree branches and stopped it 40 feet from the cup. Jimenez left Olazabal with three feet for bogey after Webster holed his clutch bogey save.
Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, stroked home the putt to preserve the 1-up victory.
Back on the 18th tee, Harrington found the fairway while Levet landed in the same fairway bunker that Casey blasted out of 15 minutes earlier. Jacquelin also had to pitch out rather than go at the green but his shot found the rough well short of the putting surface, while McGinley missed the green left with his approach.
Levet missed the putting surface with his team's third shot but Jacquelin chipped seven feet past the cup. Harrington, who is currently ranked ninth in the world, hit a poor chip that came up 15 feet short of the hole.
McGinley's par save lipped out but the bogey putt was conceded. Levet had seven feet to halve the match but his putt never came close and the win belonged to Great Britain & Ireland.
Montgomerie and Oldcorn birdied two of their final three holes, including a chip-in by Oldcorn on the 15th. That was enough to propel the Scottish duo into the first win of the afternoon session.
Clarke and Westwood, Ryder Cup partners in 1999, won five of six holes in the middle of their match to cruise to their victory.
Full scores from the Seve Trophy