Darius Knight of England put up a top class performance to secure the men’s senior title at the Munster Open which took place at the Neptune Stadium in Cork.
Knight, who was participating in this tournament for the first time, secured his place in the final after eliminating Ulster’s Ashley Robinson in a thrilling five-game match at the quarter-finals before overcoming third-seeded Gavin Rumgay of Scotland in four games at the semi-finals stage. Knight’s opponent in the final, Ryan Jenkins of Wales, succeeded at the quarter-finals after defeating Leinster’s Ryan Farrell in straight games. The Welsh proceeded to overcome another Leinster player, Gavin Maguire, without conceding a game.
Knight, who was second seeded, secured the first point in the opening game before racing to a three point lead in the encounter against the fourth-seeded Jenkins. From here, Knight led all the way before winning by four points. It was the same scenario in the second game as Knight was in the driver seat from the start, however, Jenkins recovered towards the end of this second game to prevail. Then, it was Jenkins turn to lead at the start of the third game as he took a five-point advantage at 10-5. The determined Knight found his form to reduce deficit before eventually levelling the score at 10-10. Knight made two good forehand topspins to win the two deuce points and to lead by a game. Once again, Jenkins started brightly in the fourth game but it was Knight who had the upper hand towards the end of the game as he led at 8-4, 8-6 and 10-6 before winning the last point with a forehand topspin where his opponent was unable to retrieve. Leeside club coach, Ben Haughton, was on the sideline to provide advice to Knight in this tournament.
Miroslav Horejsi from the Czech Republic, who was top-seeded, was edged out by Gavin Maguire of Leinster at the quarter-finals. The match went to five thrilling games. Horejsi took the first game before losing the subsequent two games by the narrowest of score margin. He levelled the score after winning the fourth game to force the match into the deciding fifth game. It was a nail biting fifth game with both the players having to play the two-point deuce when the score was tied at 10-10. Finally, the seventh seeded Maguire managed to win the two points to knock out Horejsi from this tournament.
Charlotte Carey of Wales took her place on the winner podium when she defeated Ulster’s Hannah Lynch Dawson at the final stage of the women’s senior event. Dawson took a brief lead in the opening game before Carey raced to a three-point lead towards the end of the game. The top-seeded Carey won the game on 11-7 score. The Welsh increased her intensity in the subsequent two games to win the title. Prior to the final, Carey beat Leinster’s Katie McGlone in five games while Dawson edged past Cherith Graham of Wales in four games.
Ryan Jenkins and John Murphy of Wales and Leinster combined well to beat the English and Munster pair of Darius Knight and Alan Walsh in straight games to win the men’s doubles title. The women’s doubles title went to Charlotte Carey and Katie McGlone of Wales and Leinster who overcame Hannah Lynch Dawson and Sarah Timlin of Ulster and Connacht in four games.
Charlotte Carey was on the winner podium again when she combined well with Leinster’s Gavin Maguire to beat the Ulster and Leinster pair of Ashley Robinson and Katie McGlone in straight games in the mixed doubles event.
Zak Wilson of Ulster showed his superiority to secure the men’s U21 title after defeating Connacht’s Brian Dunleavy in straight games. The Ulster player raced to a quick first game win before receiving strong opposition in the second game. It was not enough as Wilson won the second game by four points and he was in control of the third game leading all the way to win. Prior to the final, Wilson beat Leinster’s Conor Mullally in straight games while Dunleavy eliminated Conor Gallagher of Leinster also in straight games.
Kerry O’Mahoney of Munster produced outstanding performance when facing Leinster’s Claire Heller in the final of the women’s U21 event. O’Mahoney started the final encounter leading by three points before increasing this to seven points when the score stood at 9-2. She quickly wrapped up the game winning on 11-5 score. O’Mahoney’s opponent had a better start in the second game when leading by three points. Heller led all the way to win the second game. O’Mahoney was able to recover to win the subsequent two games without difficulties to lift the title. Prior to the final, O’Mahoney beat Connacht’s Amanda Taylor in four games at the semi-finals while Heller defeated Nga Nguyen of Leinster also in four games.
Mark White of Munster won the Class 2 event after overcoming Welsh Dave Wetherill at the final stage. After an easy first game, White was given strong opposition in the second game losing by five points. White won the next two games to win the title. Before the final, White beat Ryan McConkey of Ulster in straight games while Wetherill edged past Leinster’s Dave Butler in four games.
Philip Shaw of Munster secured the men’s veteran title after a count-back when three players were tied on the number of wins. Shaw pipped Brian Devereux of Leinster and Connacht’s Kevin Devaney to second and third places. Fourth place was taken by Alan Taylor of Connacht.
Zak Wilson of Ulster won the second title of the day when he beat Connacht’s Brian Dunleavy in straight games at the final stage in the boys’ U18 event. Wilson and Dunleavy progressed to the final after eliminating Owen Cathcart of Ulster and Evin McGovern of Leinster at the semi-finals. After losing the semi-finals match, Cathcart came back to secure third spot after beating McGovern in four games.
Katie McGlone of Leinster recovered on two occasions in the first and second game to win the girls’ U18 title. She beat Munster’s Chloe O’Halloran in straight games. McGlone trailed all the way from the start of the opening game until the score stood at 7-3. From here, McGlone won point after point to finally level at 7-7 before going in front at 8-7. From then onwards, McGlone won three points to win the game. It was the same scenario in the second game with McGlone trailing at the start before leading briefly midway in the game at 4-3 and 5-3. As the match progressed, McGlone trailed once again at 8-7. At this point, McGlone used her forehand topspin to her advantage to level the score. Then, McGlone went ahead at 9-8. O’Halloran managed to win two successive points to come within a point of winning the game with the score at 10-9. McGlone managed to save the game point to level the score at 10-10. Once again, McGlone’s forehand was the winning factor as she produced another good forehand topspin to win the game at 12-10. McGlone went on to win the third game by seven points.
Prior to the final, O’Halloran beat Ulster’s Hannah Lynch Dawson in four games while McGlone edged past Kate Whelan of Leinster also in four games. Whelan took third spot with Dawson finishing in fourth place.
Owen Cathcart of Ulster progressed to the final of the boys’ U15 event after eliminating David Taylor of Connacht in straight games at the semi-finals. Dylan Grace of Leinster also won a place in the final. He beat James Kelly of Munster in straight games. The stage was then set for the final showdown with Cathcart securing the title winning in four games. Kelly took third place after beating Taylor in five thrilling games.
Kate Whelan of Leinster won the girls’ U15 title after beating Connacht’s Marie Williams in straight games in the final. Whelan was the better player when facing Leinster’s Mia O’Rahilly Egan at the semi-finals winning in straight games. On the other hand, Williams overcame Ciara O’Toole of Leinster also in straight games. Third place went to Egan and fourth position was taken by O’Toole.
The final of the boys’ U13 event was between two Leinster players. Art McLaughlin beat Dillon Byrne in four games to win the title. Third place went to David Taylor of Connacht while Thomas Joyce also of Connacht was placed fourth. It was a thrilling five-game match.
Mia O’Rahilly Egan of Leinster was the better player in the final of the girls’ U13 event. She beat Natasya Barry of Connacht in straight games. Saoirse Jordan of Connacht took third place while Leinster’s Tiegan O’Connor secured fourth position. Jordan won in four games. Egan played O’Connor while Barry faced Jordan at the semi-finals.
Adam Buckley of Munster won the boys’ U11 title, finishing ahead of Brian Tansey of Connacht with two Munster players, Nick McLeod and Luke Murdoch, in third and fourth places.
Silke Heinen of Munster took the title in the girls’ U11 event with Sophie Earley of Ulster finishing in second position. Third and fourth positions went to Leinster’s Sadbh McLaughlin and Amna Mandal.