Cadet Girls report from European Youth Championships

The cadet girls team of Sophie Earley, Silke Heinen and Lucy McIvor faced Luxemboug, Austria, Switzerland and Spain in its opening group. With two teams to qualify from round one, the stakes were high. First up was Luxembourg who took the opening game against a nervous Sophie Earley(3/1). Silke Heinen, however, was undaunted and levelled the match at 1/1. The doubles combination of Earley/Heinen put Ireland ahead 2/1 and Sophie Earley added another win for a 3/1 victory.

Second match up was against a determined Austria. Sophie Earley’s nerves had now disappeared and she won the opening game. This was followed by a win from Silke Heinen and the match was completed with an impressve doubles win (3/0). Third win on the trot  against Switzerland with a 3/1 victory. Final match saw Ireland play Spain to determine the group winner. Sophie won two singles but crucially we lost the doubles and Spain took the other singles games against Silke.

Second phase gave Ireland a chance to advance to the top 16 against Belarus. A truly amazing battle saw the lead ebb and flow many times. Two fine wins from Sophie but the doubles loss was crucial. The match, on a knifes’ edge at 2/2, with Silke leading 2/1 and game and match point but Belarus managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on a 2-3 scoreline. 

The Cadet girls now played for positions 17 to 28. They lost to a strong Portugal 0/3. Lucy McIvor made her EYC debut against England. Sophie claimed two more singles and a doubles from Silke/Sophie gave Ireland a 3/1 victory. Ireland’s fifth win came against Estonia. Sophie notched up two more wins and again another Silke/Sophie doubles win. Another 3/1 victory.

Ireland finished in 21st position, an improvement of nine places from the previous championship in Romania. Sophie also competed in the singles event and with two impressive wins v Sisanovaite (Ltu) and Balough (Hun) advanced to the last 32 where she fought bravely before losing to fifth seed Papadimitriou (Gre) 2/4. Overall an impressive showing from the girls.