The 2020 Connacht Open will take place at the Breaffy House Resort, Demesne, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
Please click HERE to download the entry form and tournament information
Entries should be emailed to [email protected] or should be posted to Niall O’ Flaherty, Glenascaul, Oranmore, Co.Galway. Please note that players from Northern Ireland can pay organisers on the day of the tournament.
Closing date for entries is FRIDAY 14th of FEBRUARY 2020. Late entries may be accepted after this deadline but a late entry fee of €20 will be applicable
Fortified with New Year resolutions, fresh tactical approaches and some with steps over a new age threshold, TT rivalries were renewed at Pingzone for the Munster Open 2020. Some smashing encounters were served up among the 58 competitors, with many very creditworthy performances. The Ladies event featured several sparkling confrontations with no shortage of thrust, counter and riposte to banish any thoughts of Christmas bargains from the scene. Highlight among four five-set matches must be Annemarie’s victory over Teresa on a scoreline of -10,13,-10,8,9. Some of the rallies were breathtaking, and it set the tone for the remainder of the competition. Gillian beat both Teresa and Paula in tight fifth sets. Ger eventually won out overall, but all of the ladies can derive satisfaction from elements of their individual performances. Well done!
The 40s groups saw some cracking matches, with one three-way tie decided by just ONE point. Tibor scored a notable win over Rory to reverse their Ballymena result. Brian Devereux seems to be developing his long pimple skills to good effect, beating Dave Pemberton in five, and taking a game from Daryl in the semi-final. Daryl eventually triumphed over Pat McCloughan in the final. Normal service restored, so!
The 50s saw good wins for Paul Norgrove, Dave Gibbons and Mark McAlister in the early knockout stages. However, pick of the bunch must be Sean McAnaney beating Kieran Burke on a scoreline of -10,-10,7,9,8 and following up with a victory over Branko in four. Some of his returns against Kieran were outstanding, disguising float with chop, and really subverting Kieran’s confidence. Pat beat Mark in a close semi-final, but he beat Sean comfortably in the final.
How can one extol the substance of Kieran Burke’s performance in the 60s? Listening to Dylan on TIME OUT OF MIND coming to the tournament actually set him up for Eugene O’Neill’s LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT! Playing Robby in the first knock-out round, he was 1-5 down in the fifth, Robby spanking winners for fun. Kieran clawed back to 8-9, then levelled at 10-10 after Robby’s time out. Kieran hit a good forehand for 11-10, and then Robby served off! Kieran beat Finn in three straight, then again in four in the 50s before losing to McAnaney as outlined above. Next, he gave a wonderful display to beat Tommy Caffrey 9,10,9 in the semi- final of the 60s. He just went loop, roll, kill to drill sergeant specifications!! However, he was 8-3 up in the third, but Tommy did level at 9-9. Shaw beat Branko -7,9,6,8 in the other semi-final. The final saw both players hit very wide winners which the opponent actually returned with interest! Kieran led 9-6 in the first, wobbled somewhat, and lost 10-12 when Philip just hit winners for fun on both wings. The second game followed the same pattern, Philip coming back to win by the narrowest margin again. Fortunes were reversed in the third game, with Kieran overturning Philip’s healthy advantage to sneak it 11-8. The fourth game was key; very tight, with errant serves being roundly punished by both players. Kieran eked out a lead, and just edged home 11-9. Kieran raced out to a 4-1 lead in the fifth, won a great rally to go 6-1, and just kept going away to win out. Fatigue obviously affected both players, and may have banished any negativity from Kieran’s mindset. A disappointing finish to a fabulous match!
David Jacobson continued his good form from the 60s to lead Tommy Caffrey 2-0 in the final of the 70s. However, in the crunch, Tommy changed tack at the start of the third, opened up a big lead, and David just could not find a way back. He can be well pleased with his performance having changed to half-long pimples. Shay O’Reilly and Jimmy Fleming also played very well. Sadly, Jimmy misplaced his camera during the day. It has not escaped our notice that Jim Storey finally registered an all-important victory over Martin. A new decade indeed!
Our thanks to Sharon, Ger, both Davids and Jim for the successful completion of the tournament. A 40s Round Robin was even completed! Willingness to umpire matches greatly helped, and Ray seemed to enjoy testing out his long lenses. Hopefully Roman enjoyed the event as much as everybody else. Anna’s assistance was greatly appreciated.
We offer our condolences on the recent passing of Peadar Wiley, a member of Crofton and Terenure. Team mate of a young Jim Langan, he was a fount of knowledge on hard bat players from a bygone era. Formerly Captain of Lucan GC, he played on two Barton Cup winning teams. Les Whittaker, a great friend of Irish veterans table tennis, has also died. Both of them will be greatly missed by those fortunate to have known them. Our best wishes go to all of our members who are coping with serious illness at this time.
Not long into the New Year, and with outside temperatures dipping to several degrees below freezing, TT rivalries were renewed at Neptune Stadium for the Munster Open 2020. Neptune Stadium proved to be a very welcoming venue with excellent cooperation between stadium staff and the Munster Branch Organising Committee giving rise to a well-run event for competitors and a positive experience for visitors. 159 competitors were engaged over the weekend, which commenced at 6.30 pm on Friday 17th and finished at 4.30 pm on Sunday 19th. Notable among the entries were the 21 competitors in the U/11 Boys and the 39 competitors in the U/13 Boys. In fact when added to the entry of 15 girls, the U/13 category had the biggest entry at 54 players. Also notable were the 21 entries in the Para Open category, the highest seen for many years. Finally Munster Open saw the participation of 16 Special Olympics players from Beech Hill, Leeside and Cope Foundation Clonakilty clubs in an invitational event. These latter two events represent the ongoing commitment of Munster Branch to the promotion of inclusion in table tennis and it would be great to see the Para category equally strong at other provincial opens and at the National Championships.
The overall highlight of performances at the Munster Open has to be the five titles won by Mia O’Rahilly-Egan of Griffeen Valley/Dun Laoire – Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, U/21 Women and U/18 Girls. Has this feat ever been achieved before, one wonders?
Looking across the results there were winners from all four branches, which is great to see. Leinster led the way with a total of eight winners – alongside Mia O’Rahilly-Egan, Art McLaughlin from UCD won the Men’s Singles and Alex Gillen and Joey Nelson, also from UCD, won the Men’s Doubles. In second place were Munster with five winners, the Vets winner in Mykola Koval (Beech Hill), the Restricted Singles winner in Mathew Haynes (Leeside), Paddy Vaughan (Ballincollig/UCC), winner of the Para Singles, Ciaran O’Donoghue (Ballincollig),winner in the Mixed Doubles and Zofia Wawrzyniak (Leeside), winner in the Women’s Doubles. Ulster with Anjali Singh (Ormeau), winner of the U/13 Girls, Jonathan Mooney (Ormeau), winner of the U/15 Boys, Lucy McIvor (Ormeau), winner of the U/15 Girls and James Skelton (Ormeau), winner of the U/21 Men’s Singles had four winners. Connacht had one winner with Kristijonas Dapkus (Bunninadden) in the U/18 Boys. U/11 results not to hand.
Finally, but not least, thanks go to Tournament Referee, Con O’Ceadaigh, and to Top Table officials, Dave and Sharon Gibbs, for their efficient and effective management of the many matches played over the weekend.
Please click HERE to download the results overview for each category.
GREAT SCOTT! A big shock at the Ulster Masters tournament as Daryl Strong loses the first Irish veterans tournament in three years. His conqueror in the final was an inspired Rory Scott who won 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 7-11. Rory’s defence was virtually impenetrable, while he was bold enough to pick off winners if Daryl played any loose safety shot! Rory had defeated Ruth McGilligan 3-0 and Des Flanagan 3-1 in the qualifying group, before defeating Joe Colvin 3-1 in the last 16, Tibor Pofók 3-1 in the quarters and Phil Wallace 3-1 in the semis. St. Anne’s David Irwin defeated evergreen Norman Nabney in the consolation event. The 40 /49 restricted had another shock as Rory Scott lost out to the talented Daniel Molzenberger in straight sets. The Women’s event was one of the closest encounters with countbacks required to see who had emerged from the group stages to the semi-final knockout stage. In the semis, Ger lost out to an imperious Anne-Marie Nugent, while Gillian Richardson defeated Senga Thompson in a five-set thriller. Anne-Marie continued her fine form in the final, defeating Gillian in straight sets. The favourite for the over 50s was Kevin Mackey. He comfortably progressed to the finals where he defeated surprise package Des Flanagan in straight sets. Dave Gibbons edged past Bryan Morrison to win the plate competition. In the 60s a similar journey was had by Philip Shaw who justified his top ranking by reaching the final. Norman Nabney had a good win over Branko Jakotevic in the semi-final. However, despite some outrageous points, Philip triumphed in the final in straight games. David Jacobson beat Bryan Morrison in the consolation final. A very competitive over 70s had Martin Pickles edge past Jim Storey in four sets in the final. Our thanks to Norman McBride, Dave Weatherspoon, Ollie, Peter and all of the members at Wellington TTC for hosting a very enjoyable event.
Day 2 of the DL Open had arrived and Gervis was deep into his second bacon butty while I was enjoying my healthy porridge with nuts and honey. We waited for everyone to arrive and were a little taken aback to be greeted by many stressed and worried looking faces. Gervis leaned over to my right ear and with tomato ketchup running down the left side of his mouth whispered ‘Here we go again!’
UNDER 18 MIXED
SEMI FINALISTS: JAMES SKELTON & JOEL SMITH
RUNNER UP: TOM COLVIN
WINNER: MAX SKELTON
CONSOLATION WINNER: LUCY MCIVOR
We added Lucy McIvor and Rachel Taylor to the draw due to the disappointing Under 18 Girls entry and they both did themselves justice. The girls are to be congratulated as they are seriously committed to the game and have superb attitudes, Lucy and Rachel will go far in the game in my opinion. Max continued his superb form from Saturday and he just seems to be going from strength to strength at the minute. Tom Colvin is also playing some fabulous stuff and has one of the most consistent topspin F/Hs in Irish Table Tennis.
UNDER 18 GIRLS
RUNNER UP: RACHEL TAYLOR
WINNER : LUCY MCIVOR
Lucy did the business as expected but Rachel tries every point and can be proud that she pushed Lucy in all 3 sets.
UNDER 15 BOYS
SEMI FINALISTS: ALEX LO & BEN WATSON
RUNNER UP: ADAM FAULKNER
WINNER: JOEL SMITH
CONSOLATION WINNER: PAEDAR SHERIDAN
Joel, like Max, continued his impressive play from Saturday and can be proud of his fighting spirit as Adam looked the likely winner in the early stages of the match. Both players have improved their level over the last month and if they commit to the game as much as possible they have a bright future.
UNDER 15 GIRLS
SEMI FINALISTS: RACHEL TAYLOR & ERIN CABELLERO
RUNNER UP: ANJALI SINGH
WINNER: LUCY MCIVOR
CONSOLATION WINNER: GRACE LOONEY
Lucy, again, took care of business, but both Rachel and Anjali gave her some problems, Rachel actually won the only set of the Tournament against Lucy. It’s not easy when you are the big favourite but Lucy is a real pro and takes it all in her stride. She is one of the few players who, when you look at her body language you wouldn’t know if she was 10-5 up or 10-5 down, some of the other players could learn from her! Serious maturity!
UNDER 13 BOYS
SEMI FINALISTS: BEN DICKSON & AADITYA SINGH
RUNNER UP: JOSH HICKMAN
WINNER: SENAN SHERIDAN
5TH: PEADAR SHERIDAN
Young Senan is a breath of fresh air and has a real flair for the game. He has fine tuned his game over the last month or so and his overall play has become more consistent, he also has that little bit of a swagger about him so he plays with confidence. If he continues to work hard at the game, along with his undoubted talent then he is one for the future no doubt! There are some super young players in this category so keep working hard lads!
UNDER 13 GIRLS
SEMI FINALISTS: ALICE LOONEY & NIAMH MASON
RUNNER UP: ERIN CABELLERO
WINNER: ANJALI SINGH
5TH: GRACE LOONEY
Anjali is one of my favourite young players at the minute as she has such a positive attitude and just works really hard at her game. She works on all aspects of Table Tennis because she wants to be better and anyone who knows sport want people like that to succeed. Erin gave Anjali a real fright in the final and she is another outstanding prospect. Well done to all the girls in what is one of the most exciting categories in Ulster Junior Table Tennis!
RUNNERS UP: TOM COLVIN & JOE SHEARD
WINNERS: JAMES SKELTON & DAVID TAYLOR
Apologies to all the young players who left David Lloyds in tears when Gervis (The Dreamwrecker) told them their day was finished when in fact they were still in the Doubles event. Gervis will offer a FREE 1-1 to all those affected!
Seriously, thanks to all the parents, competitors, sponsors, umpires etc and we will see you all next year in hopefully what will be a bigger and better Tournament and I’ll finish with my favourite quote for the players:
We had just dropped off the last Table at Ormeau at around 10.30pm on Sunday night and were sitting in our white van when Gervis gave me one of those ‘why do we bother?’ looks! We pondered for a split second and then both burst out laughing! We bother because we love sport, have a passion for Table Tennis and enjoy seeing the joy of competition, warts and all!
Sport brings out the best and unfortunately the worst in some people but nothing take can beat seeing the emotions of a competitor straight after a big win! Sport can create emotions we didn’t even know we had, everyone reacts differently, however Champions tend to react the same way and hopefully we witnessed some Champions last weekend.
The Tournament was in general a great success and while we witnessed the usual dramas and temper tantrums the majority of the players played their matches with enthusiasm, will to win, and most importantly were respectful to their opponents and umpires.
SEMI FINALISTS: MAX SKELTON & JOEY NELSON
RUNNER UP: ALEXANDER GILLEN
WINNER: RYAN FARRELL
CONSOLATION WINNER: JOE SHEARD
The packed David Lloyd crowd witnessed an absolutely brilliant final in which Ryan saved match points with some breath-taking play and also a slice of luck here and there. The final set in particular had everything with the superb top -v- top rallies providing some stunning entertainment for the gallery. Special mention must go to Ormeau’s Max Skelton (14) who reached his first Irish Ranking Senior Semi Final after beating clubmate Zak Earley in a pulsating ¼ final.
SEMI FINALISTS: LUCY CRAIG & SABINA DEVEREUX
RUNNER UP: REBECCA FINN
WINNER: SOPHIE EARLEY
CONSOLATION WINNER: EMMA MCSORLEY
Business as usual for Ormeau’s Sophie Earley (13) who went through the whole Tournament without dropping a set. Sophie never really had to get out of 2nd gear and looked a class above all her rivals which is a testament to her commitment to the game and the hours on the practice table that comes with it.
SEMI FINALISTS: BRIAN DEVEREUX & PAT MCLOUGHLIN
RUNNER UP: PHIL WALLACE
WINNER: DARYL STRONG
CONSOLATION WINNER: ARVIN CABALLERO
Top Irish Vet and proud Ormeau player Daryl was in confident form as he lost only 1 set throughout the event. Ormeau’s Fast Phil showed great fight to edge past Irish 50s player McLoughlin in a drama filled Semi but Daryl had too much for him in the final this time. Big shout to Ormeau’s Arvin for winning the Consolation.
SEMI FINALISTS: DAWID SULKOWSKI & RAINO SOIKKELI
RUNNER UP: JOEL SMITH
WINNER: JONATHAN MOONEY
Superb performance from Ormeau’s ‘Chopper’ Johnny (14) who is one of the best defenders in Ireland. Some of his retrieving is just incredible and the looks on some of his opponents faces is in sheer disbelief at times. Ormeau’s Joel Smith (14) can be very proud of his performance and he enjoyed some of his best wins to date over the weekend.
Gervis, in particular, does an unbelievable amount of work behind the scenes and I want to thank those who made a special effort to thank the front desk after the event, also thanks to those who helped to set up and clear up after the event. We would like to thank our official umpires Adrian Brown and Jay McAlister for umpiring our most important matches of the day in a professional and fair manner!
Thanks to our two main sponsors McDonald’s Dundonald and Teessport for helping us make this a wonderful event!
Massive thanks also to Danny who lent us his van all weekend and his daughter Noleen who drove us back to David Lloyds at 11pm! Can’t thank you guys enough!