Last weekend witnessed an exciting start to the Junior domestic season with the STIGA Irish Junior Classification held in DCU, Dublin. Entries were up 17% on 2010 and clubs from all over the country were represented. With players aged from 8-17, the focus of the fans as always was on the elite players – however with the group into group qualification system and the provision of Plate events, there were lots of matches for all players, including many who were playing their first National event. Full results from every match played are available here –
Many thanks to our excellent volunteers who have driven the roll-out of Tournament Software which was piloted in this event.
Event Summary – Girls
As is almost traditional, Ashley Givan took 1st place in the Under 17 Girls event and she did so in style without dropping a set in the entire event. She defeated international team-mate Edel O’Reilly in the Final (4,4,8). O’Reilly had a scare in the Semi-Final against Katie McGlone, who took the first two sets to set up a potential shock. O’Reilly is known for her gritty determination and claimed a vital 3rd set 14-12, before closing out the match in sets 4 and 5 to claim her spot in the Final. Elayna McGlone produced some fireworks to progress to finish 6th in the event, with a spectacular win over Emma Ludlow.
There was a little more pressure on Elayna McGlone in the Under 14 event, where she was 2nd seed. She did not disappoint and progressed to the Final, with good wins over Sarah Cooney and Chloe O’Halloran. In the Final, she faced Hannah Lynch Dawson, the top seed. Lynch-Dawson was in fine form having defeated Valentine Puotkalis and Rebecca Finn, and she justified her seeding in a tumultuous battle with McGlone, recovering from a 2-1 deficit to eventually claim the match in the last set (11-9).
In the Under 12 Girls, a shock was on the cards as Kate Whelan belied her No.10 seeding to claim the title, producing the best table tennis of her career to date. She claimed victory in the semi-final in straight sets, before repeating the trick in the Final against Rebecca Finn. With this result, Whelan has confirmed her arrival on the National scene and will be a player to watch this season.
The Under 10 event is a fun event to introduce players to competitive table tennis – well done to all who took part and in particular to Ciara O’Toole who claimed the Winner’s trophy.
Event Summary – Boys
In the Under 17 Boys, top seed Declan O’Brien knew he would have a tough battle on his hands to claim his first trophy of the season. This arrived in the shape of Shi Zhao Li who pushed him all the way in the Semi-Final, with O’Brien happy to claim a narrow final set victory. He faced Ryan Farrell in the Final and was clinical in his victory, dropping just the 1st set.
In the Under 14 Boys, again the event went to top seed Kevin Hutchinson, who produced some great table tennis to dominate the event. His opponent in the Final was surprise package Alan Walsh, who will be delighted with his win over Jonathan Porter in the Semi-Final, despite the concession of the Final in straight sets – a great start to the season for Walsh.
The Boys Under 12 section was very difficult to predict in advance and so it proved on the day with Alexander Gillen claiming the title despite being seeded outside the top 10. He was impressive in defeating both Brian Dunleavy and Martin Williams to progress to a Final against Evin McGovern. Again, he rose to the occasion with a 3-1 victory to claim the title.
The Under 10 event is a fun event to introduce players to competitive table tennis – well done to all who took part and in particular to Paul Cooney who claimed the Winner’s trophy.
Many thanks to all who volunteered over the weekend – to our top table personnel, to our hall set-up crew and to the volunteers who worked very hard on the draw and introducing new technology to our events. Finally, thanks to all of the players who took part – we look forward to seeing you all again at the Ulster Junior Open.