All of Ireland descended on Breaffy House Hotel Arena for the second staging of the 2017 Connacht Senior and Junior Open.
Play got underway promptly at 6.30pm on Friday evening with the Groups of the Women’s and Men’s Singles. There was a shock early on when UCD’s Katie McGlone (3rd Seed) was defeated by Susan Hanlon of Balgriffin.
Later on Friday the early stages of the Restricted Singles were played.
On Saturday morning it was the turn of the Cadet Boys and Girls. Ulster Open Cadet Champion Glenburn’s Lucy Craig was drawn against Sophie Early (Ormeau TTC) in the group stages in a match that had “close” written all over it. The girls didn’t disappoint with Sophie edging it in a five set thriller, 14/12 in the 5th. Sophie reached the final where she played Griffeen Valley’s Mia O Rahilly Egan, the current title holder. Another tight match saw Mia prevail 3/1.
In the boys event Ballincolligs Ciaran O Donoghue was the top seed and he lived up to his status by claiming the title and winning his first Irish Ranking event with a win over Kristijonas Dapkus (Bunninaden) in the final.
Meanwhile the Senior Ladies and Men continued in the knockout stages. Katie bounced back from her disappointment of the night before to beat Sabina Devereux in 5 sets in the quarters and then top seed Rebecca Finn in the semis. Waiting for her there was Mia who had ended Susan’s hopes in the semi-final. The two Leinster girls produced high quality table tennis and after sharing the first two sets Katie emerged the victor and claimed her first Connacht Senior Open title -14/12, 13/15, 11/7, 11/4.
This was Katie’s second title of the day, after winning the mixed doubles with club-mate Gavin Maguire over Mia and Alan Walsh. Mia also added to her Cadet title by taking the Women’s Doubles with Zofia Wawryzyniak.
In the Men’s Singles it was all to play for. Sam Logue, invoking memories of his upset win over Gavin in the 2014 Connacht Senior Open raced to a 2 nil lead in a last 16 encounter before the Irish Number 1 drew on his experience to take the match 3/2. In the opposite half number 2 seed Ryan Farrell made his way through the draw to take on 15 year old Alan Pattison in the quarter finals. Here Alan made Ryan fight all the way before losing 11/9 in the fifth. After beating Alan Walsh in the semis Ryan met Gavin in the final and as the clock approached 8.55pm and in another five setter Ryan came out on top winning 11/9 in the 5th and claim his maiden Senior Provincial Open Ranking title. It was not all gloom for Maguire however, as he took the Men’s doubles title alongside Tom Davis as well as the Mixed doubles alongside women’s champ McGlone.
Ryan’s success topped off a flawless day for the Howth player, as he took the U21 Mens Singles following victory over Davis in the final. Katie won the Women’s U21 against Nga so her Saturday haul was amounted to an impressive 3 titles.
In the Class 2 Singles Sam Logue came out as the winner with Brian Devereux the runner up. Earlier Brian had lost the Masters Final to Connacht’s own Kevin Devaney.
Sunday, the final day of competition saw the Disability Standing and Wheelchair titles go to Paddy Vaughan and Ronan Rooney respectively.
In the Hopes boys and girls categories there was some keenly fought matches and all players went home with a medal.
The Under 18 Girls group stages saw Nga nearly cause a shock against Katie as she led 2/1 and 7/3 before Katie fought back to take it in 5 sets. In the semis Katie met Rebecca and Katie won to make her 4th final of the weekend.
In the other half of the draw Mia came through and so set up a rematch of the Ladies Final. Katie got off to the quicker start and led 8:4 in the 1st set. However Mia won the next 7 points and with it the opening set. This spurred on the 14 year old Griffeen Valley girl as she continued her good form to take the next two sets and win the match 11/8 11/4 11/9 to reverse the previous evening’s result and take her first Connacht U 18 Open Girls title to go along with her Cadet title from Saturday.
In the Under 18 boys Julian Kelly, Ulster’s first year Cadet nearly caused a seismic upset in the morning’s group stages losing out to top seeded Charlie Fitzgerald 12/10 in the 5th set. In the semi-final Charlie met Thomas Earley and Thomas defied the seeding’s to make it into his 2nd Junior Open final of the season
Here he met Dylan Grace who had beaten his own doubles partner Alan Pattison in the other semi. The final match enthralled the crowd and after losing the first two sets Thomas won a nail-biting third 16/14.
Dylan was not to be denied however and he took the 4th set and with it the title to make it two in a row after winning the Munster Open U 18 Boys 3 weeks previously.
In the U13 Girls Sophie and Silke lived up to their seeding by advancing to the final. Sophie was in impressive form throughout as she went on to take the match and the title by a 3/0 scoreline, despite Silkes effort and fine play.
In the Under 13 Boys, which was the final event of the weekend to come to a close, Cian Ross progressed to the final where he met Joe Sheard. Cian was attempting to make it a clean sweep for the Ballincollig club in the underage boys’ events, after Dylan’s and Ciaran’s wins. He did not disappoint and duly won his first Open title – A superb feat for Ballincollig TTC.
Finally a word of thanks to all who helped in making the tournament such a success and they include:
Tom Mitchell (referee), Niall, Kariem, Alison, Mairead, Liam, Kevin, Terry, Marc, Shay, James, Kacper, Ray, Michael, Carmel, Jacki and the umpires Jim Walker and Arthur Brett.
Also we would like to thank Rob Cowan for all his help prior to this event and Eoin Kelly and Arthur Brett for assisting us with some challenges that were positively overcome. Finally we would like to thank Breaffy House for supporting us with the addition of new lights installed prior to this event and their hospitality and professionalism, in looking after our guests.
For the final results from each event please click here