Selections for Primary Schools International

We would like to wish the following players the very best of luck at this weekends Primary Schools International, which is taking place in Northamptonshire in England:

Boys – Peadar Sheridan, Stefan Bonchev, Clifford Tan & Karsten Close  

Girls – Eimear Hutchinson & Polly Smith (they will be joined by players from England and Wales for the team event)

The teams will be supported by coaches Erin Thompson & Conn Higgins.

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Report: Malmo Parasport Event 10-12 February 2023

Mark Twain wrote “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts”. By that yardstick we travelled well in attending the 2023 Malmo Parasport Event in Sweden this past weekend. The table tennis event saw a record entry of 160 participants from 10 countries – Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, UK, Austria, Jordan, Hungary and Iceland. So much so that the event had to be moved from the main Malmo stadium to the sports hall at Hasthagens where the lack of live streaming and interaction with the wider selection of parasport games devalued the player and supporter experience somewhat.

Nevertheless, the Development Squad put 13 players into the field – the largest Irish entry in the three visits to Malmo to date since 2019 – and we enjoyed our best results in the competition standings to date winning 15 medals in total across the three days.

On Friday Team Ireland won 3 medals , which included a gold medal for Alicia Winter in the seated doubles plate final – her partner was Heinrik Andersson from Austria. Jude Sheldon and Sam Brennan won silver in the standing doubles plate final. So, a good start for the Development Squad.

Saturday saw three general classification and four junior/youth singles categories on offer where 5 medals were won. Patrick McCormick won a bronze medal as a semi-finalist in the morning’s category 3 plate event. The afternoon saw Caoimhe Folan winning the junior girls plate event and Jude Sheldon semi-finalist in the junior boys plate event, Sam Brennan semi-finalist in the youth event and Alicia Winter third in the youth/class 1-5 events.

Sunday proved to be our most successful day with seven medals across classes 1 to 11. Alicia continued her good form with winning the plate final in class 1-3. Conor O Callaghan reached the semi-finals in class 6, while Des Ryan won a bronze medal in the class 6 plate competition. Class 7 saw a brilliant performance by Paddy Vaughan who made it to the final, beating some higher ranked players along the way, but found the current world no 1 and multiple paralympic champion, Will Bayley, too strong in the final. Hello??? Will Bayley!! Back on earth in class 8 both Jude and David McCaughern won bronze medals in the plate competition. In class 9-10 Sean Geoghegan went two steps better and won the plate final. Finally, while we did not have any medallists in class 11, performances since 2020 did improve with strong last 8 achievements in the main event for Aaron Mellows and for Aoife Kelly in the plate competition.

Overall, our most successful player was Alicia Winter with two gold and one bronze with special mention to Jude Sheldon with one silver and two bronze. 15 medals represent a 70% increase on our 2020 medals total and taking the significant improvement in the number of quarter finals achieved – 11 versus 5 in 2020 – the curve for the Para Development Squad is firmly upward.

The investment of the coaches, Sam Logue, Mick Cunningham and Ashley Robinson, along with Para Manager, Gavin Maguire, in the monthly training camps and the complimentary support of the parents/family members is paying off. A big thank you to them all and we look forward to more international competitions and training camps abroad in the future with funding support from TTI. While it hardly needs to be said that what happened in Malmo stays in Malmo, a special shout must go out to Mick Cunningham for his indefatigable good humour throughout the 4 days – his early (very early) morning wake up calls apart (tip no 1: don’t book a room beside his). Finally, the Para Committee will be awarding a specially commissioned St Christopher’s medal to Des ahead of his next trip abroad with the Squad


Para Squad at the 2023 Malmo Open

The following players have accepted their selection for the Malmo Open Games, in Sweden. The team travel to Sweden from the 8th – 13th of February.

  • Sam Brennan
  • Caoimhe Folan
  • Seán Geoghegan  
  • Aoife Kelly
  • David McCaughern  
  • Patrick McCormick 
  • Aaron Mellows 
  • Conor O’Callaghan  
  • Des Ryan
  • Jude Sheldon
  • Patrick Sweeney
  • Paddy Vaughan
  • Alicia Winter

The Malmo Open is known as the European Para Sport Games, one of the top events in Europe for Para Athletes. We are very excited to have our para players competing in this prestigious event and representing Ireland in the table tennis event.

We would like to wish the very best of luck to all our players and Coaches Sam Logue and Mick Cunningham who travel to the Malmo Open with the squad!

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Rescheduled Anti-Doping Educational Webinar – 5th of December 7-8pm

Table Tennis Ireland are hosting an educational Anti-Doping Webinar with Sport Ireland Anti-Doping unit. This session is open for all of our members on Monday the 5th of December from 7pm-8pm online, we look forward to providing a very useful session to our members. This session is free of charge for Table Tennis Ireland Members.

Anti-Doping forms a very important part of ensuring our sport is clean and fair, we can’t stress the importance of making sure that our Table Tennis Community are aware of Anti-Doping processes and procedures.

This webinar will be a very informative engaging session which will be useful to all of our members, including players, coaches, parents, NPC’s and clubs. This masterclass will provide an overview of what happens during a test for anti-doping, an overview of what substances are banned as of 2022 and some other useful information to know on anti-doping, such as therapeutic use exemption – in some instances an athlete may be given the authorization to use a prohibited substance or method.

We encourage all our athletes, parents, coaches, athlete support staff and all other interested members to sign up for the very important Anti-Doping Educational Webinars run by Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Unit.

To register for this webinar please email [email protected] and zoom details will be sent out to you prior to the session.

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Mixed fortunes in Slovakia for Peadar Sheridan

There were mixed fortunes for Peadar and coach Conn Higgins in Slovakia this weekend at the WTT Youth Contender Senec.

In the Under 13 event Peadar qualified for the main draw, having finished second in his group after beating Roland BACA (Slovakia) 3-0 and losing to Deni VALE (Croatia) 0-3.  He then went on to the round of 64, beating Kuzey GUNDOGDU (Turkey) 3-1 before losing to Francesco TREVISAN (Italy) 3-1 in the round of 32.

In the Under 11 event a tough draw saw Peadar come up against three Asian opponents, two of whom were unseeded.  Despite heroic efforts to force a deciding set, he lost to Yun-Yan WU (Chinese Taipei) 1-3 before overpowering Yousuf HANIFA (Saudi Arabia) 3-0.  Playing for a place in the main draw, he took the first set off Yeongjun MA (South Korea) but eventually lost 1-3.

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Best of luck Colin at the 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships

Table Tennis Ireland Paralympian, Colin Judge has flown out to Granada, Spain to compete in the 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships. Colin is competing in the Class 3 Singles. Colin’s event begins on the 8th of November!

Colin, along with coaches Gavin Maguire and Sam Logue have been putting in long hours of training and preparation ahead of this tournament. We are extremely proud of the hard work that has been put in and all the great performances to qualify for this tournament amongst the world’s top players.

From all at Table Tennis Ireland, we would like to wish Colin, Gavin and Sam the very best of luck in this major tournament.

Keep an eye out on our social media as we will be sharing details on Colin’s games. Also, keep up to date on the tournament here:

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Senior Men at the European Men’s Championships Qualifiers

Our Irish Men’s Team of Owen Cathcart, Thomas Davis and Alexander Gillen alongside NPC Paul McCreery flew out to Sarajevo to compete in the European Men’s Championships Qualifiers from the 14th –  17th of October. This event is one of the most prestigious competitions in Europe for our players. 

The Men’s Team had a tough but exciting draw, meeting Netherlands and Norway. The top 2 in the group progressed to Stage 2. The last spots were up for grabs for all teams, so it was all to play for. 

There were some close games and matches in the opening round of matches vs the Netherlands, starting at 11am. First up, was Alex against VAN OOST in the opening game of the campaign. Alex Gillen was beaten 3-1 vs the Dutch opponent. Owen Cathcart fought hard, winning his first game in 3-0 leveling up the match. Tom Davis on his Senior debut for Ireland was up next, and he came close to beating DE BOER, but coming just short of a 2-3 defeat in an intense game. Owen followed Tom, and with another fantastic victory he tied the match at 2-2, Alex Gillen went toe-to-toe with CAMARA, but the Dutch came out with a 3-2-win vs Alex in a great game which could have gone either way. The team put up a good fight against the Netherlands but couldn’t secure a win as the Netherlands came out with a close fought 2-3 win.  

Coach Paul McCreery had to get the boys in line again, as they faced the Norway Squad later in the evening on that same day. Owen Cathcart stepped up first against RØNNEBERG, after a fantastic performance, Owen secured a superb 3-1 win.  In the remaining 3 games that followed in the respective order of Alex (vs Borgar Haug), Tom (vs Alexander Fransson), and Owen (vs Borgar Haug) were all beaten 0-3 in their games. The Norwegian team came out on top with a 3-1-win vs Ireland. Norway had a very strong No.1 in Borgar Haug who showed up in full form against us after uncharacteristically losing his game against Holland. 

Team Ireland competed extremely well, with some close games throughout. The team were very unlucky to have not qualified, Holland finished top in the group and beat Norway 3-0, we were only one set away from beating Holland showing how competitive this qualifier was. The team have now shown that we are in the right direction and we can compete amongst Europe’s best.  

Overall, a great weekend of Table Tennis from the Irish Men’s Team with great performances from all of our players. Ireland have not qualified for the European Team Championships in Malmo in 2023 and will now begin to plan and build for the next phase of qualification events. 

Well done to Owen, Tom, Alex and Paul on representing Ireland fantastically well and doing our country proud in Sarajevo.  

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Coach Conn Higgins & Peadar Sheridan

Peadar Sheridan has had another phenomenal weekend, finishing 6th at the 2022 Stiga Masters Minimes in Blegny, Belgium.

After a week spent training in Otočec, Slovenia, Peadar and Irish national coach Conn Higgins travelled to Belgium for the 15th edition of the Stiga Masters Minimes.  This is a long-running event that brings together the top 14 Under 11 finishers from the same year’s Eurominichamps, where Peadar placed 12th.

The group stage on Saturday saw Peadar firstly lose to top seed Andrej MORAVEK (Czech Republic) 1-3, then win against Alexandru POP (Romania) 3-1, before losing again to Romeo MULLER (France) 1-3.  After the interval he had a narrow loss to Pietro ANDREOLI (Italy) 2-3 followed by two wins over Roger QUESEDA (Spain) 3-2 and Bryan ZHANG (Belgium) 3-1.

The Last 16 draw on Sunday saw Peadar come up against Emil ELLERMAN (Sweden) who he defeated 3-0.  This set up another encounter with Roger QUESEDA (Spain) in the quarter-finals.  Having beaten QUESEDA in the group stages hopes were high, but this time it was not to be with QUESEDA overpowering him 3-0.

In the play-offs for 5th to 8th place Peadar defeated Tobias FABIAN (Czech Republic) 3-1 then lost David TORO (Romania) 0-3 to finish in 6th place.

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Peadar Sheridan has just returned from Montenegro where he was competing in his first World Table Tennis Youth Series event, the WTT Youth Contender Podgorica 2022.

In the Under 13 Boys Singles event Peadar topped his group defeating Santiago URIBE (Peru) 3-0, Filip NAGY (Slovakia) 3-1 and Mohammed AL-SALUATI (Qatar) 3-2. He then had a bye to the Quarter Finals where he lost to pimples player Yousif ABDALLA (Qatar) 0-3. ABDALLA went on to meet world number 1 Steven MORENO (Puerto Rico) in the final.

In the Under 11 Boys event Peadar again topped his group, this time without dropping a set. He firstly defeated Yousuf HANIFA (Saudi Arabia) 3-0, then Milan VECETIC (Montenegro) 3-0 and finally Abdulaziz AL ABDULLA (Qatar) 3-0. He then went on to defeat Filip NAGY (Slovakia) 3-0 in the Semi Final before losing to Abdulrahman AL TAHER (Saudi Arabia) 0-3 in the final.

Reaching the final in his first WTT event is a massive achievement and we couldn’t be more proud to see Peadar’s hard work in the training hall paying off in international competition

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Report on Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022

The Team with NPC Jing Yi Graham

Commonwealth Games is one of the most prestigious competitions for our players. Following many phone calls, emails and meetings and with full support from CGNI, a Men’s Team (Paul McCreery, Zak Wilson, Owen Cathcart and James Skelton) and one Women’s individual player, Sophie Earley were selected to participate in B2022.

Sophie Earley

The Men’s Team had a very tough draw, meeting India and Singapore in the group stage. There were some close games and matches. Owen Cathcart fought hard, but closely lost (2-3) to Indian No. 2 Hameet Desai who is ranked World no. 124. Our team lost to India and Singapore 0-3 and beat Barbados 3-0, finishing joint 9th in the Team event. India and Singapore were the ultimate gold and silver medallists at the Team competition in B2022.

James Skelton and Owen Cathcart
Owen Cathcart

After a few days’ recovery time, the men’s team and Sophie started the Individuals events. As there were only 3 players in the Singles event, James Skelton assisted Jing Yi taking on some coaching roles.

Paul, Owen and Sophie had some convincing wins in each of their groups and all 3 proceeded to the last 32. Zak finished with 1 win and 1 loss, narrowly missing out on the knock-out stage.

Zak Wilson

In the knock-out stage, Paul and Owen met tough opponents from India and Singapore and lost 0-4 and 1-4 respectively. However, Sophie displayed some outstanding performances. After some nail biting sets, Sophie beat Zhou Jingyi from Singapore 4-3, whom she never beaten in a number of previous encounters, to progress to the last 16. Then, after a long battle, unfortunately Sophie narrowly lost 3-4 to the no. 3 seed, Canadian Zhang Mo after taking a 3-1 lead in the match.

Paul McCreery

In the Men’s Doubles, another nail biting, marathon combat, Paul and Zak took on the no. 1 pair from Malaysia. The match was on the show court and broadcast live on the BBC. Support poured in from inside and outside the stadium, the boys did Northern Ireland proud, demonstrated tremendous effort, resilience and with an exceptional performance beat their highly ranked opponents 20-18 in the 5th set for a 3-2 victory. All players gave of their best and well done to them all!

Photo credit Michael Loveder Photography