Mid-Day Update from European Youths

Paul McCreery produced a performance full of determination and quality in progressing to the 3rd Round of the Junior Singles this morning in Prague. Strorming into an early 3-0 set lead against Kirstian Dalia of Serbia, McCreery looked to be in complete control of the match. But Dalea is significantly higher in the European rankings and began his comeback, taking the next 3 sets(8, 4, 8) to set up a deciding set. McCreery showed great resolve in the final set, winning 11-8 to take a surprise victory. He now moves into the last 64, where he faces CHODORSKI, Piotr of Poland who is ranked 6 in Europe. This 3rd Round match takes place at 6pm this evening.

Other results today have not gone the way of the Irish squad, with Hanley, Robinson, Nelson and Givan all knocked out of their Singles events at the 2nd Round stage to higher ranked opponents. No doubt the team will rally behind McCreery this evening in his 3rd Round match.

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Success for Veteran Women’s Teams

Vivienne Barry

Two teams of Irish Women Veteran players travelled to Sofia in early July to compete in the 2nd International Veterans Table Tennis Championships. Competing against top nations such as Germany, England, Russia and Switzerland over 3 days of competition, the Irish excelled with Teresa Devaney and Jenny Harrison winning Silver medals, and Audrey Robinson and Vivienne Barry taking bronze bronze. Congratulations to all players involved.


Evening Summary from Prague

Ireland’s last remaining player in the Singles event in the European Championships, Paul McCreery, was knocked out of the tournament this evening following defeat by the Polish No.6 Ranked player Chodorski. McCreery lost the 1st set before levelling at 1.1. However, the Pole was too strong and McCreery eventually bowed out by a 4.1 scoreline. McCreery however, has another year left at Junior level and will look to improve on an already impressive performance in 2009 at the 2010 European Youths in Turkey.

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Slater and Givan progress

Stephen Slater
Ashley Givan

In the Cadet Mixed Doubles 1st Round , Slater and Givan took the first game 14-12, after losing a 7-3 lead, Pitkewics and Kozma fought back to deuce, with the Irish holding their nerve under the TV cameras  to establish an early lead. The second set also went to the Irish, fighting back from 5-3 down to eventually take the set 11-9. With coaches Brett and Logue on duty, the Irish closed out the game in straight sets(11-8 in 3rd set)  to progress to the 2nd Round where they will face English opponents Lewis Gray and Tin Tin Ho. We will have further updates later this evening from the other Irish in action, but a positive start to the day for the Irish squad.

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Busy Day for Irish in Prague

Today was a busy day for the Irish in Prague at the European Youth Championships. All 8 squad members were in action in the singles, with 5 players progressing to tomorrow’s 2nd Round.

In the Junior Boys Singles, a remarkable display by all 3 Irish boys saw all 3 progress to the 2nd Round without dropping a set. Paul McCreery defeated Labenouski from Belarus 4-0(8, 10, 10, 7) with Sam Hanley also winning in 4(9,1,5,2) against Kert Rais from Estonia. They will be joined in the 2nd Round by Ashley Robinson from Ulster who enjoyed a straightforward victory over Gambina from Malta(3,4,8,5). All 3 move into the 2nd Round tomorrow. Hanley will face Slovenian Slodej(Ranked 73 in Europe), McCreeery will face Dalea(Ranked 56 in Europe) and Robinson has a tough game against the Cypriot Yiangao(Ranked 33 in Europe). All 3 players face opponents with significantly higher rankings, but will carry confidence from today’s performances into their matches and will seek to cause an upset or two.

In the Junior Girls Singles, Claire Nelson progressed to the 2nd Round, defeating Vastavuo of Finland 4-1. She faces SLIFIRCZYK (ranked 66 in Europe) of Poland in tomorrow’s 2nd Round.

In the Cadet Singles, both Declan O’Brien and Stephen Slater were eliminated, although O’Brien took has match to 7 sets, eventually losing 4-3.

In the Cadet Girls, AShley Givan played a thrilling match with the Turkish player Pinar Sen, eventually winning 4:3 to progress to the 2nd Round where she will face Italian Elisa Trotti(ranked 38 in Europe).

In the Junior Mixed Doubles, Claire Nelson and Paul McCreery progressed, beating the English pair McBeath and Vickers 3-1. Hanley and Kenny were eliminated by the Swiss Mixed Doubles partnership. In the Cadet Mixed Doubles, Slater and Givan were outclassed by Ho and Gray of England in their 2nd Round tie. In the Junior Girls Doubles, Nelson and Rebecca Kenny progressed to the 2nd Round where they will face a pair from Luxembourg on Thursday. In the Junior Boys Doubles, Hanley and McCreery teamed up well to defeat Oktav(TUR) and Neiman(ISR) to progress to the 2nd Round in straight sets.

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Veterans Squad Announced for 6 Nations

A large squad of 17 of Ireland’s top Veteran players has been announced to compete in the 2009 6 Nations Veterans Championships, which takes place in the Isle of Man in September. The full squad is:

Men’s over 40

Terry Dolan

Kevin Devaney

Robert Davis

Ladies over 40

Helen Dolan

Susan Murphy

Men’s over 50

Kieran Burke

Kariem Sabir

Philip Shaw

Ladies over 50 

Teresa Devaney
Jennie Harrison

Men’s over 60

Tommy Caffrey
Martin Pickles

Ladies over 60

Audrey Robinson
Vivienne Barry

Men’s over 70
Ted Mahaffy
Tom Burke
Windsor Clarke

Congratulations to all on selection, check back here for tournament preview

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Irish Successful at Senior Schools International

It was a successful weekend in the Team Events, with the Under 18 boys duo Gavin Maguire and Paul McCreery and the Under 16 boys duo Ashley Robinson and Sam Hanley both claiming gold with fantastic victories over England. The Under 18 girls also made their Team Final, Claire Nelson and Rebecca Kenny claiming silver following a loss to England.

In the individual event, the Irish squad was cut as a number of players travelled to a pre European Youths cadet training camp in Halmstad, Sweden. Sam Hanley progressed to the Final of the Under 16 Boys, losing out to Lewis Gray of England whom he had defeated 3-0 in the Team event. Claire Nelson also took silver in her individual event, defeating English junior No.1 Emma Vickers for the first time along the way. Women’s Coach Arthur Brett was delighted with this result and pleased with the performance of the Under 18 girls overall.

Please see below for further results:

Team event

U18 boys——– beat England A 3/0 in semi final    beat England B  3/1 in Final

U18 girls——— beat England B 3/1 in semi final    lost to England A  0/3 in final

U16 boys (A)—- beat England A 3/1 in semi final   beat Scotland B   3/1 in final

U16 boys(B)—— lost to England  A  in ¼ final

U16 girls———- finished 3rd in group and won consolation event

U14 boys ——– finished 3rd in group and won consolation event

U14 girls ——— lost 3rd /4th play off

Singles event: Highlights

Gavin Maguire lost in semi final to Emran Hussain (eng) 2/3(U18)

Paul McCreery lost in semi final to Christopher Doran(eng) 1/3(U18)

Sam Hanley lost in final to Lewis Gray (eng) 0/3  (u16)

Claire Nelson lost in final to Lucy Davidson (eng) 0/3   (u18)

Full Squads:

Senior Boys:      Gavin Maguire, Paul McCreery

Under 16 A:       Sam Hanley, Ashley Robinson

Under 16B:        Sam Logue, Stephen Slater

Under 14:           Declan O’Brien, Neil Irwin

Senior Girls:       Claire Nelson, Rebecca Kenny,

Under 16:           Sara Dolan, Ashley Givan

Under 14:           Edel O’Reilly, Niamh Buttimer

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European Youth Championships Squad Announcement

Irish team mates Ashley Givan and Sam Hanley

Following a demanding domestic season at Junior and Cadet level, the Irish squad has been announced for the forthcoming European Youth Championships which takes place in Prague, Czech Republic from the 9th to the 18th July, 2009.
Ireland will be represented by 3 teams:

Junior Boys – Paul McCreery, Sam Hanley, Ashley Robinson
Junior Girls – Claire Nelson, Rebecca Kenny, Ashley Givan
Cadet Boys – Stephen Slater, Declan O’Brien

Commenting on the squad announcement, ITTA Technical Director John O’Donoghue stated that this is the strongest Irish Youth squad in some years:

“This year, the selection process was for the coaches very tough, the players who made it on to the squad are to be commended for their commitment, workrate and ability…The aim in 2009 is to continue to improve our standing at this level, indeed it is a measure of our progress that we have decided to enter all players into both the Team and the Individual events. We would certainly hope for a top half finish, particularly from the Junior Boys who are very strong.”
As part of the elite Cadet programme, Stephen Slater and Declan O’Brien travelled to Halmstad, Sweden to take part in a cadet training camp under the direction of Senior Men’s Coach, Peter Nillson – this should help these promising young players prepare for the tests that await at European level.
This event will be covered on ETTU TV, click here for promotional clip.

The draw for the Team event has taken place and is as follows:
Jnr Boys: Slovenia, Switzerland, Azerbaijan
Jnr Girls: Estonia, Netherlands, Belgium
Cadet Boys: Norway, Portugal, Cyprus, Finland
Check out the ITTA website for further updates as the tournament progresses.


Irish Veterans Shine at Blackpool

A strong Irish squad recently participated in the English Northern Masters Veterans event in Blackpool, England. Teresa Devaney won two gold medals in the Over 50 category, taking both the Singles and Doubles gold(where she beat compatriots Terri McKeon and Irene McNevin in the Doubles Final). Other medal winners were Ulster-born players Jenny Harrison and Audrey Robinson(taking gold in the Over 70 category). The Veterans game is hugely important to the ITTA and we are looking to grow development in this area as part of our Strategic Development Plan. If you have any ideas on how we could achieve this or would like to assist in the process, please email this address.

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Irish Juniors/Cadets Perform Well at 6 Nations

Four Irish Junior and Cadet teams travelled to Cardiff for the 6 Nations Junior and Cadet Championships, held at the Welsh Institute of Sport on the weekend of the 13th – 15th April. In a tournament totally dominated by England(winning gold in all available age categories), the Irish team did well to take home medals in each Team category also(team with medals pictured above). The Irish excelled in the Team events, taking 3 silvers and a bronze. The Junior Boys and Girls(Sam Hanley, Ashley Robinson, Claire Nelson and Sara Dolan) both took team silvers picking up wins against all of their opponents bar England. The Cadet Boys of Declan O’Brien and Stephen Slater also took home the Team silver, with 4 wins over Scotland, Wales, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The Cadet Girls of Ashley Givan and Edel O’Reilly took bronze, losing out to England(again!) as well as the host nation. In all, it was a succesful weekend for all players and NPCs(Arthur Brett, Louise Long, Marcus McDonnell and Shay Logue). Highlights in the individual competition were the performances of Sam Hanley and Claire Nelson who both took bronze medals, Hanley narrowly losing to Welsh No.1 Patrick Thomas in the semi-final and Nelson losing to English No.2 Lucy Davidson in four sets.