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.