Focus on the Under 14 & 16 Boys: Report by NPC Gavin Maguire
On paper the 2011 Senior Schools International tournament did not prove to be as successful in terms of medals for Ireland as 2010; however the playing field was considerably stronger with England, Scotland and Wales sending some of their strongest competitors. In the u14 boys Ireland’s “Jonny” Porter and Kevin Hutchinson faced an extremely tough task in their group facing England A, Wales B and Jersey, however the Irish outfit put in strong performances with 3-2 wins over Jersey and Wales B but England A the eventual winners were just too strong for our boys. In the quarter finals they faced another tough challenge up against Wales A only to lose 3-1 after 4 long matches. They did finish the tournament on a high with a final playoff victory over Scotland to finish in 5th place.
The Under 16’s boys, Declan O’ Brien and Ryan Farrell were our most successful team of the weekend with a silver medal, finally succumbing to the team they lost 3-2 to in the group stages, a strong England A consisting of Igor Morais and Matthew Outhwaite. The final’s result was not flattering for the lads as a 3-0 loss after a switch in the order of play unfortunately did not work out for Ireland as Ryan Farrell lost to Outhwaite who he had previously beaten and Morais was just too sharp for O’ Brien. The semi final was the round were the team really showed what they were made of, with a 3-1 victory over another strong England team Liam McTiernan and Adam Harrison. Ballincollig’s Declan O Brien was in blistering form taking both singles in his usual exciting fashion with some unbelievable support and atmosphere coming from the bench. Another interesting fact is that the pair did not lose a doubles match all weekend, which could be the beginning of a formidable partnership.
In the individuals event the cadets were unfortunate to be drawn in some tough groups with both players exiting the event at the group stage with Kevin Hutchinson narrowly losing out in the deciding match after coming back from a 2-0 deficit to his Welsh counterpart. Jonathan Porter put in some good performances and can be happy with his weekend even if it did not reflect on paper, the opposition was heavily armed.
The 16’s again was one of the more successful categories for our teams as Declan O’ Brien dispatched of Matthew Outhwaite 3-0 in the group stages, who he had lost to the previous day. He went on to defeat England’s Liam McTiernan in another exciting encounter and was finally defeated by the eventual and deserved winner of Igor Morais who did not drop a match all weekend. Eastpoint’s Ryan Farrell can be very proud of his efforts in a category one above his actual age group. He defeated Alex Prosser of Wales who he seemed to have no chance against in Saturday’s team event however he raised his game and took the match in a five set thriller to advance to the next round. In a preliminary round he earned a solid 3-1 victory over the ever improving Connor Edwards who Ryan has had some fantastic matches with over the last couple of years. The tournament ended here for Ryan as in the next round he was put out by the now champion, Igor Morais 3-0.
Full Results available: http://www.estta.org.uk/News%2013%20-%20Lilleshall%202011.html
Ireland also won bronze in the Senior Boys and Intermediate Girls Team events. In the Individual events, Decland O’Brien and Ashley Givan both made it to the semi-finals and brough home Bronze medals – fantastic performances from both players.