Copy of Table Tennis Ireland News

Return to Play Update

Please click HERE to download the “Return to Table Tennis – Club/Training Environment: COVID-19 Responses & Protocols”

The Board takes this opportunity to thank the Management Committee and office team for their invaluable work in this area over the last several weeks. Whilst there are positive indications regarding ‘return to play’, the Board and Management Committee continue to believe that a cautious approach should be adopted.

Therefore, National and Provincial Squad activity may recommence. However, inter-club activity, training, or competition, is not encouraged. Indeed it is discouraged. This is to reduce the risk of cross contamination. It is, therefore, recommended that members not travel between clubs and clubs should not allow non-members access to their facilities. 

Where such movement is unavoidable, or in an official National/Provincial Squad context permitted, all necessary protocols as laid out in the ‘Protocols’ document should be followed.

When return to play in a club/training environment recommences, individuals and clubs are responsible for assessing their own circumstances and risks. Some members may choose not to return until later than the general population.

While competitions and league play remain suspended for now, planning for their recommencement has begun. The Management and Events Committees are continuing to monitor the situation and are considering a return to competition in late August, possibly with the deferred 2020 National Championships.  We hope this can be achieved, but of course, nothing is certain, particularly given the recent news on Covid-19 increasing in the younger population.

The Board notes and welcomes the recent permission granted by Sport NI for a limited return to play, in a club/training environment, for clubs based in Northern Ireland.

Further updates will be posted as information becomes available.


Double Gold for Colin Judge in Poland

Colin Judge emerged the winner in the Men’s Singles (Class 3). The no.4 seed, in the final he beat Korea Republic’s Kim Jinsung (11-9, 11-8, 17-15), having in the penultimate round ousted Poland’s Maciej Nalepka, the top seed (12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9).

In the Men’s Team (Class 3) event, Colin Judge alongside the French pairing of Alexandre Delarque and Nicolas Savant-Aira emerged with victory. These three players were the most successful male players on duty at the 2020 ITTF Para Polish Open in Wladyslawowo. This second title gained by Colin Judge was not to be expected. 

Next up for Colin is the Costa Brava Para Open which is taking place next week. 

Para Malmo

Report from the 2020 Malmo Paralympic Open

A Para Development Squad travelled to Malmo, Sweden, last weekend to represent TTI in the annual Malmo Paralympic Open Competition. The squad was one of the largest in recent years with 12 players from all three Paralympic classes and three provinces represented. Indeed the Irish squad was the largest single group of players among the 8 countries, 40 clubs, and 124 players who entered the Malmo Open this year. Supporting our 12 players were coaches/managers/minders Susan Keating and Mick Cunningham, along with additional coaching from Rachel, Hiroto and Chinatsu, who also assisted when coaches were under pressure to cover all of the matches. Mick also provided the entertainment but, alas, what was said in Malmo, stays in Malmo….!  While our overall approach to the competition was one of developing the skills and confidence in our emerging players, our overall medal toll tells us that we are well on the way on that journey – a whopping 2 gold, 5 silvers and 2 bronze medals with an additional 5 quarter-finalists in the knockout stages of a number of classes.

Friday 7th involved all of the doubles matches. Gerry Commins won gold (partnering Arnoy Brede of Bergen) in the Wheelchair Doubles final, where the final opposition was provided by our own Mark Henderson and Alicia Winter, on a score of 3-1. In the standing doubles, Aaron Mellows and Matthew Collins progressed to the last 8 of the knockout stage, but were unlucky to come up against the top seeds and eventual winners and lost 3-0. Matthew Flynn and Conor Halpin qualified for the plate event in the Standing Doubles, but lost out in the last 8. So, a great start with 1 gold and 2 silver medals plus a quarter-final placing in a knockout stage.

Saturday 8th saw matches for players over 21 years organised across 3 mixed performance classes along with a Youth (U/15) class for both wheelchair and standing players and a Junior (U/18) class for both wheelchair and standing players. In the largest class – Performance Class 3 – Gerry Commins, Mark Henderson and Patrick Sweeney qualified out of their respective groups, but were beaten at the last 16 of the knockout stage. Aoife Kelly and Aaron Daly both went through to the last 16 in the plate, but lost out at that stage. Gary Sorenson enjoyed a wonderful run in the plate and eventually finished joint third winning a bronze medal – mission accomplished for both Gary and Susan! In the Junior Standing event Matthew Collins qualified out of his group but lost out at the last 8 in the knockout stage, while Aaron Daly, Matthew Flynn and Caoimhe Folan went into the plate but lost out at the last 8 stage. The undoubted highlight of Day 2 came in the Youth Standing class where Conor Halpin, playing very well throughout, won the plate final. In the same class Aaron Mellows was very unlucky to finish outside of the medals in 5th place. So, another gold medal plus a bronze medal for Ireland!

Sunday 9th presented the Squad with competition in singles matches in their respective Paralympic classes. Here we enjoyed our largest medal haul and some outstanding performances. In class 3, Alicia Winter went into the plate event and eventually made it to the final where she finished second, winning a fine silver medal. In class 3-4 combined, Gerry Commins and Mark Henderson also progressed into their plate event where Gerry won a silver medal and Mark, losing out in the semi-final, won a bronze medal. In class 7 both Matthew Flynn and Caoimhe Folan lost out in the last 16 of their plate event. In class 8 Conor Halpin fared better in getting to the last 16 stage of the knockout event, but eventually lost out here. In class 11, Aoife Kelly, Matthew Collins and Aaron Mellows qualified out of their respective groups into the knockout stage. In an unfortunate draw Aaron and Matthew were pitched against each other in the last 16 and, after a titanic struggle, Matthew prevailed on a 3-2 score. Both Matthew and Aoife failed to get beyond the last 8 stage having been beaten by the eventual finalists respectively. In the plate event Gary Sorenson went out in the last 16, Aaron Daly and Patrick Sweeney progressed into the last 8 where they were drawn to play each other. Patrick prevailed 3-1 and eventually he made it to the final where he lost out 3-1 despite playing very well. So, a medal toll of 3 silver and 1 bronze for Day 3.

Finally, thanks to the coaches for their unfailing enthusiasm and encouragement of the players; thanks must also go to all our players for a wonderfully competitive attitude over the weekend and for being great ambassadors for themselves and for TTI; last, but not least, special mention must go out to the family members who travelled to Malmo to support the players and who contributed to a very enjoyable social experience.


Report and results from the Masters Munster Open

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.

Tournament results can be downloaded HERE

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.