The Board of Table Tennis Ireland is delighted to announce that they have appointed Tara Fusco as the Performance Manager. Tara has been involved in the performance portfolio nationally since 2019. Tara is a qualified Level 2 coach, and has diplomas in Sports Nutrition and Sports Psychology. The Performance committee is comprised of Conn Higgins, Alan Hurley, Paul McCreery and Marcus McDonnell.
Over 200 young talents gathered in Schiltigheim, France, at the European Euro Mini Championships (U13 & U11). Representing Ireland with pride were Peadar Sheridan, Stefan Bonchev, Aaditya Singh, Toby Caldwell, and Karsten Close, accompanied by Irish team coaches Conn Higgins and Gervis Knox. The event showcased exceptional performances and here is how the event unfolded.
Peadar Sheridan’s Remarkable Journey
Starting with the in the under 13 boys category, Peadar Sheridan showcased his resilience and prowess, making a significant impact by reaching the main draw (last 32). Peadar navigated through three grueling group stages, each featuring four players. Notable victories in the group stages included wins against Priou and Richard of France, Muller (last year’s quarter-finalist), Sahrni of the Spanish National Team, and candelier of France.
Peadar’s path led him to a close encounter with Closset, the World No.10 from Belgium, where he fought valiantly but narrowly missed out in a three-set match. In the 17-32 playoff, Peadar encountered tough competition in Razak from the Czech Republic, the European No.11 and going down 3-1.
However, Peadar’s shining moment came on the final day, where he secured three impressive wins against Malik of Denmark, Andrade of Portugal, and Lois of Spain, clinching a well-deserved 25th position. Peadar’s overall performance was nothing short of impressive, and he is still in the age category next year!
Aaditya Singh and Toby Caldwell’s Determined Efforts
Also in the under 13s category, Aaditya Singh and Toby Caldwell represented Ireland with enthusiasm. Though they didn’t progress beyond the stage one groups, their determination was evident in every match. Aaditya’s commendable effort included a thrilling 3-2 battle against Sandona, a top 16 finisher. Toby’s remarkable performance was highlighted by a closely contested match against Ellerman, a top player from Sweden, which saw him fighting fiercely in three close sets. Aaditya was able to finish with two wins in the consaltion whilst Toby took one victory, well done boys.
Stefan Bonchev’s Inspiring Top 16 Finish!
Stefan Bonchev shone brightly in the under 11 category, where he embarked on an epic journey to reach the last 16 stage. Stefan’s exceptional wins against opponents like Campagna of the Italian National Team showcased his talent and perseverance. While he faced a tough match against Issakason from Sweden in the last 16, Stefan’s resilience was evident in every set and narrloy lost out in the 5th set.
His journey continued in the places 9-16 bracket, where he faced off against Maran of France losing 3-1 to the French National Team player. Stefan kept battling hard and emerged victorious in his last two outstanding matches against Jaffiner (France) and Escudier (France), finishing in a superb 11th place, many congratulations Stefan!
Karsten Close’s Strong Performance
Also in the U11s Karsten Close demonstrated his mettle in the competition, displaying notable performance against formidable French opponents in his first round group. Despite not advancing from the group stage, Karsten’s showed great fight in every match whilst gaining great experience. In the consolation matches, Karsten secured three impressive wins, showcasing his potential for growth and future success!
A Special Thanks to Coaches Conn and Gervis
A heartfelt thank you goes out to our coaches Conn Higgins and Gervis Knox, who tirelessly coached and guided the young athletes throughout the weekend. Their expertise and support played a pivotal role in the success and growth of the Irish contingent. The experience gained by the players under their guidance will undoubtedly contribute to their future achievements.
The European Euro Mini Championships not only brought thrilling matches but also showcased the talent we have coming through in the mini cadets. As these young athletes continue to train and develop, the future of Irish table tennis looks bright.
Congratulations to all the players for their outstanding performances and to the coaches for their unwavering support!
Stefan Bonchev traveled to the ETTU Euro Talents pre selection camp in Kiskunfelegyhaza, Hungary accompanied by Coach Conn Higgins.
Over six days Stefan trained with some of the best U13 boys in Europe. He also played a tournament where he played 20 of those boys (where all matches would be 3 sets).
Stefan won 10 of those matches, winning 34 sets and losing 26. This left Stefan in eighth position from 28 participants.
A very creditable performance as he has 2 more years in this age group.
This past weekend 23/06 – 25/06 Table Tennis Ireland hosted the Senior Schools International in the Kingfisher club, Galway. TTI welcomed teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man.
Along with the following NPC’s: Tom Davis, Thuy Linh Cashman, Sam Logue, Paddy Vaughan, Erin Thompson, Claire Nelson, Ryan Farrell, Ranjit Singh, Tara Fusco, Marcus McDonnell, and team manager Gavin Maguire.
Day 1 and 2 seen competitors battling it out in the teams events. Some great performances from team Ireland resulted in bronze medals for both U18 Girls Ireland A team consisting of Anjali Singh, Emily Flynn and NPC Tara Fusco and U18 Boys Ireland A team consisting of Adam Faulkner, Tom Irwin and NPC Ryan Farrell. Well done to both teams.
On day 3 the team fought hard in the singles events. Some great matches and lots of experience gained! Well done to the following medal winners:
Under 14 Boys Plate Silver medalist – Toby Caldwell
U14 Boys Singles Bronze medalist – Clifford Tan
U14 Girls Plate Winner – Rebecca Scott
U18 Girls Singles Bronze medalist – Emily Flynn
U18 Boys Runner up – Adam Faulkner
The team finished the weekend with 1 gold,2 silver and 4 bronze. Well done and big thanks to all countries who travelled over to compete in the tournament. A big thanks also goes out to all Team Ireland coaches and umpire’s, and special thank you to Niall O’Flaherty and referee Con O’Ceadaigh who helped the weekend run smoothly
Success in Prague for Team Ireland
Team Ireland travelled to Prague for the Prague Grand Prix which took place 23rd – 25th June. The first day saw the team events which saw bronze for Ireland. Peadar Sheridan and Boris Bonchev were narrowly beaten 3/2 in the u 13 boys team event Semi final in Prague by Hertha Berlin losing 11/9 in the 5th set in the deciding doubles game. In the U15 category Vincent Ni and Boris Bonchev finished 9th of 40 teams while Ben Watson and Sean Loughnane finished 11th of 44 teams in the U17 category.
The next day saw the individual events where Stefan Bonchev captured the gold medal in the boys U11 final at the Prague Grand Prix. He came fromone set down to win against Remi Borok 3/1. Peadar Sheridan reached the quarter final in the U13 Singles while Vincent Ni also reached the quarter finals in U17 Singles. Boris Bonchev reached the last 32 in the Boys U15 singles while Sean Loughnane and Ben Watson were both beaten in the consolation quater finals.
Big thank you Conn Higgins and Alan Hurley who coached the team.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.