Fermanagh Open: A Magnificent Hat Trick for Paul

17 year old Paul McCreery (Crossgar) scored a magnificent hat trick of successes at the Stiga Fermanagh Open at Fivemiletown college on Saturday as combination bat specialist Amanda Mogey (Carnmoney) took the ladies title while Kevin Devaney (Ballina) and Peter Clarke (Annahilt) won the class two and veterans classes respectively.

Munster Open champion McCreery has often saved his best performances for forays outside the province but this time he really showed what he could do on home soil.  He was just a different class and won the mens singles without dropping a set.  In the quarters the talented Pole Maciek Szymanski felt the wrath of Crossgar teenagers ferocious attacks as did the much improved Sam Logue in the semis.  The Queens destroyer Daryl Strong dumped Irish national champion Gavin Maguire out in straight sets but then lost his semi to left hander Conor Nolan after losing momentum at the start of the fifth.  In their last four encounters McCreery and the hardhitting Nolan had fought out close five setters but this was different as the super fit topspin magician mesmerised Nolan with flashing forehands, breathtaking backhands and deft touches to run out an easy straight sets winner.  The adversaries then joined forces to win the doubles and McCreery completed his Lakeland rout with a four set victory over a game Logue who had taken out fellow Dubliner Daniel Keenan in straight sets.

Amanda Mogey never fails to impress and she badgered a series of opponents into submission with a fine display of power table tennis culminating in a 3-0 win over Dungannon topspin ace Ashley Given who is an ever growing threat to the Ulster No1.  Greystone league stalwart Randolph Loney raised local expectations when he scythed his way into the the class two semi finals but then met Devaney, an allround player at the vanguard of Connacht table tennis, who put the Portadown defender to the sword.  The other semi was a great match with Burke and fellow Connacht player Dennis McDonagh going toe to toe but the veteran was fastest to the draw when it mattered and won through.  Battler Burke found himself in another five set marathon with Devaney but this time lost 11-4 in the decider.

In the veterans class Dromore Chemist Jim Stirling produced a shock after leaving Irish international Robbie Davis (Dublin) puzzled with his sidewinder returns to win in straight sets in the preliminary groups.  The knockout stage was not for the fainthearted as Willie Cherry gained revenge over Kevin Devaney for a recent Ulster Open defeat, Norman Nabney had to concentrate to see off the swift footed Ted Mahaffy, Clarke beat No1 seed Karim Sabir (Athlone) and Kieran Burke dispatched Cavan farmer Cyril Fannin.  In the semis Cherry halted Nabneys challenge comfortably while a tiring Clarke struggled through in five against Burke.  After listening to wise tactical advice from his Annahilt team-mate Wallace Mehaffy Clarke just piped Cherry to the title after five bruising sets.

In his closing speech Fermanagh Table Tennis Association Chairman Alex Gordon thanked tournament referee Tom Mitchell for ensuring all players competed within the laws of the game and also the McConkey family Rachel, Jamie and Stuart who ran the top table with great professionalism and skill.

Fermanagh Open Results

Mens singles

Semi Finals
Paul McCreery (Ulster) bt Sam Logue (Leinster) 3-0
Conor Nolan (Leinster) bt Daryl Strong (Ulster) 3-2

McCreery bt Nolan 3-0

Ladies singles

Semi Finals
Amanda Mogey (Ulster) bt Sarah Timlin (Connacht) 3-0
Ashley Given (Ulster) bt Sarah Dolan (Leinster) 3-0

Mogey bt Given 3-0

Veterans singles

Semi Finals
Willie Cherry (Ulster) bt Norman Nabney (Ulster) 3-0
Peter Clarke (Ulster) bt Kieran Burke (Connacht) 3-2

Clarke bt Cherry 3-2

Under 21 singles

Semi Finals
McCreery bt Ashley Robinson (Ulster) 3-0
Logue bt Daniel Keenan (Dublin) 3-0

McCreery bt Logue 3-1

Class 2 singles
Kevin Devaney (Connacht) bt Randolph Loney (Ulster) 3-0
Burke bt Dennis McDonagh (Connacht) 3-2

Devaney bt Burke 3-2

Open Doubles
McCreery/Nolan bt Logue/Robinson 3-0