Junior Interpros Review 2010

Competitors from all over Ireland gathered at the Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen to compete in the Junior Interprovincial Championships on 1st May. The Championships were organised by the Fermanagh Table Tennis Association in conjunction with Table Tennis Ulster and the ITTA, with thanks to the Fermanagh District Council who kindly agreed to sponsor this year’s Championships.

Ulster went into the event as overall Victor Barna Memorial Shield Champions and were favourites to retain their title. In the end, they were pressed all the way by Leinster, but were determined to retain their title on home turf and were again deserved champions.

Boys Events

In the Junior Boys, Ulster with Paul McCreery and Ashley Robinson leading the team, were completely dominant, winning all three matches 9-0 and leaving the other provinces scrapping for the runner-up spot.  All of the Ulster squad passed through their opponents with a 100% record, with Stephen Slater and Darren Reilly backing up their higher ranked team-mates in some style. Leinster finished second with a nail-biting 5-4 victory over Munster, with Maciek Syzmanski producing some great displays to record 3 wins against the Munster boys.

In the Cadets, Leinster were very strong, producing some fantastic performances to take the title won by Ulster in 2009. Leinster’s strength in depth was apparent, with Ciaran Kelly and Conor Mullally both recording important victories to supplement some great performances from Kevin Hutchinson and National No.1 Ryan Farrell, including a straight sets victory over Ulster’s No.1 and international team-mate Neil Irwin. Munster took a surprise second place following a 5-4 victory over Ulster, with Shane O’Connor recording the crucial victory.

At Under 12 Level, Munster perhaps recorded the biggest surprise of the day with a top class performance from the team of James O’Reilly, Gearóid O’Donoghue, Alan Walsh and Roman Poutkalyte. Defeating Leinster 7-2 in the first match was a signal of their intent and they followed that up with a 5-4 victory over Ulster, with Alan Walsh defeating Ryan McConkey in the decider, having earlier beaten Eric Shekleton. Munster rounded off their weekend with a 7-2 victory over Connacht. Ulster re-found their form to record a 9-0 victory over Leinster to take 2nd place.

Girls Events

At Junior Level, Leinster’s team of Sara Dolan, Rebecca Kenny, Sarah Byrne and Lavinia Maties were strong favourites and they delivered in style, defeating Munster and Ulster, dropping only two games in the process. Connacht’s Sarah Timlin put up an impressive display to record all 3 of Connacht’s wins against the champions and will be happy with a victory over National Junior/U21 champion Sara Dolan, but Leinster were supreme and deserved their title. Munster claimed 2nd place.

In the Cadets, it was a straight battle between Munster and Ulster. Both provinces dispensed with Connacht and Leinster and it was to be winner-take all in their match. Ashley Givan was in imperious form for Ulster, recording thee victories including a fantastic five-setter against Edel O’Reilly to put Ulster in a dominant position. With Annalise Walker and Emma Ludlow also in top form in this match, Ulster were not to be denied and ran out 6-3 winners to take the Cadet title.

At Under 12 Level, the tension in the air was palpable as this event closed out the day’s play, with the Victor Barna Shield still up for grabs, with Ulster and Leinster in contention. This was a lot of pressure for the young girls, but both teams responded well to the support of their team-mates and spectators to produce some thrilling table tennis. Ulster girls Hannah Dawson, Emma McSorley and Laura Finn thrived on the day and closed out the win. Laura Finn in particular was impressive as she held her nerve to record two five-set victories over both Katie and Elayna McGlone.

Congratulations to the victorious Ulster squad and to the various category winners – all players contributed to a fantastic 2010 Junior Interprovincials. The Victort Barna Shield was presented to the victorious Ulster team by Mr.Robert Irvine, Chair of the Fermanagh District Council.