The 2016 International Youth Cup took place over the weekend in Belgium. The annual tournament, ran by the Hasselt club in the Flemish region, has been popular with Irish teams over the years, but few have been as successful as last weekend proved. This year, UCD TTC and the newly formed ‘Rebel Alliance’ were the two Irish representatives in action over the three days.
UCD were quick out of the blocks, as both their ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams sealed their place in the semi final of their respective divisions by Saturday evening. The A team, made up of Irish Internationals Alexander Gillen, Charlie Fitzgerald and Conor Gallagher, didn’t stop there as they brushed all aside as they continued their relentless pursuit in the Junior Boys Elite section. They eventually came through to claim the title – a fantastic achievement!
Team supremo Alexander Gillen continued his impressive form as he raced towards victory in the Junior Boys singles event. In the Final he accounted for Hoffmann (Lux) in convincing fashion, a excellent performance by the France based Junior.
The ‘B’ Team, made up of Louis Murphy, Joey Nelson & Alan Pattison came close in their semi but had to settle for the 3rd place spot. The success for the Dubliners didn’t end here though, as both Louis Murphy and Alan Pattison took their place on the podium with joint third in the Junior Boys Club singles.
A new initiative combining two clubs resulted in two Junior Club titles for Munster. West Cork, who are regular travellers to Hasselt joined up with Ballincollig TTC for their first trip to the event. The “Rebel Alliance,” had three teams with the Boys made up of James Kelly, Niall O’Driscoll & Dylan Grace. Junior Girls; Chloe O’Halloran, Nora O’Sullivan & Mair Kelly while the U13s comprised of Ciaran O’Donoghue, Erik Olsson & Jake Adler.
The Girls went through their team competition without dropping a match reaching the final against a strong German Team from Braunschweig. The team showed great camaraderie and each contributed to the final victory. The Boys completed the double against Bech-Maacher from Luxemburg who included Elite Boys Finalist Tom Hoffmann when Dylan and James pulled off a fine 5 set doubles victory.
The U13s very nearly reached their final but lost in a competitive semi and then went on to win the 3rd/4th play off to earn their moment on the podium.
The highlight for the Rebel Alliance in the singles was a championship victory for Ciaran O’Donoghue in the U13 Boys Club singles event seeing off Dutch opposition in a competitive final. The semi final against the top German player saw Ciaran turn round a 2 set deficit with a 19/17 win in the third and then the final two sets in a thrilling if somewhat tense match.
On behalf of Table Tennis Ireland, we would like to congratulate all of those involved in these successes. You should all be extremely proud!