Leinster League Report: 23/24 Season

The 2023 / 2024 season has been a great success at the Leinster League. We had 25 senior teams compete across 4 divisions compared to 23 teams last season. The 25 teams represented 11 clubs versus 8 clubs’ last season. We aim to continue this growth over the coming seasons. There were 115 active players in the senior league this year which highlights the importance of the league to so many people.

Our Junior League is also growing with 6 teams last season and an expected 8 teams this season which will be on May 12th in Grifeen Educate Together school Lucan (K78 YA07).

All our players are affiliated with Table Tennis Ireland, and many compete in Junior, Senior and Veteran competitions also.

The League App has continued to be a great success and is very well appreciated by the players. A huge thank you is due to Keith Knox who has continued to develop this app and add extra features – including the individual statistics where players can see how they have fared vs other players in their division.

So now that the senior competitions have finished here are the results and some phots taken along the way.

Chris Cowan

League Results

Division 1:

Loop 1 was undefeated in winning the division. They won 85% of their individual matches. Balbriggan 1 however ran them very close winning 82% of their individual matches. Loop 1 beat Balbriggan 1 by the thinnest of margins (5/4) in both of their fixtures with many games going to the 5th set.  To emphasise the closeness of these matches Balbriggan turned the tables on Loop 1 in the final of the Division 1 Cup winning 5/3 with many games also going to the 5th. There was also a battle for 3rd place in this division between Balbriggan 2

Loop 2 and Ballygriffin 1. An injury to Vinil Thombrey (Loop 2) late in the season probably cost them 3rd place with Balbriggan swooping in to take the glory helped by great performances by the attacking long pips player, Kevin McCarthy.

Pat McCloughan (Balbriggan 1) took the individual title with 33 wins out of 36 while Boris Bonchev (Loop 1) was 2nd with 31 wins out of 33. Boris managed to beat Pat in their head to heads in 2 tight matches. The only other player to defeat Pat was Clifford Tan (Loop 1) while the 2 players to take a scalp against Boris were Ben Keiran Glennon (Trinity 1) and the famously tactically astute Robby Davis (Balgriffin 1). Phil Jameson came 3rd with 28 wins from 30 – remaining undefeated except to Boris during the entire season.

A special word for Loop 1 which is a very young side competing against some experienced and battle-hardened teams. Besides bringing a very high standard of play they also brought great sportsmanship to the league, it was a pleasure to have them joining us and to see their progress over the season. I hope that the close matches and variety of styles and tactics will help them to continue developing.

Division 2:

Leixlip 1 were undefeated in this Division winning 77% of their individual matches with the new club to the League Wayside coming in a strong 2nd winning 76% of their individual matches. Similarly to Division 1 the 2nd team (Wayside) only lost by the closest of margins to the Leixlip – 5/4 for both fixtures with may close games. Leixlip’s 90th match, the last of the season, which went to the 5th set, secured their position at the Top of the Table!

Balbriggan 4 piped Balbriggan 3 for 3rd place with some very exciting derby matches between them, including a 17/15 win by John Keogh (Balbriggan 4) against Andre Ivanic (Balbriggan 3) in the 4th which was ultimately the difference between the 2 teams for the season.

Sid Prasad (Leixlip 1) was clearly the strongest player in the Division with 28 wins from 30 matches. Vasily Goyn (Balbriggan 4) and Kola Oseni (Wayside) were the only players who managed to beat him during the season although Annmarie Nugent (Wayside) and John Keogh (Balbriggan 4) came close. 

Aaron Mellows from Balbriggan 3 was 2nd in the individuals with 20 wins from 30, a great set of results for this very promising young player. Watch this space…

Division 3:

A very close fought affair between Loop 3 and Dunboyne 3 with both teams winning 9 out of 10 matches and both beating the other by 5-4 and the same number of sets each over the 2 ties….. Loop 3 eventually came out on top winning 81% of their individual matches while Dunboyne 3 won 76%. Navan 1 also put in a strong performance remaining undefeated against all comers except Loop 3 and Dunboyne 3 – although they had some close encounters with ALSAA 1.

Overall, a great season for Loop 3 who were promoted from Division 4 last season.

In the individuals Raja Saverian (Dunboyne 3) was the clear winner with 28 from 30, only losing to Simon Hocde (Loop 3) (twice) during the season.

Simon came 4th winning 21 from 21 and would probably have won the individuals if he had played in more matches. His closest encounters were with Carmel Lokko (11/7 in the 5th) and Raja (11/7 in the 5th).

2nd place went to Tudor Popescu with 23 from 30 a great performance by the Dunboyne 3 player.

Division 4:

Dunboyne 4 proved the strongest by far in this division with 10 wins from 10 team matches and a 76% individual win %.

Castleknock dipped in to grab 2nd with 7 wins just ahead of Leixlip 2 with 6 wins. One of the key matches of the season for Castleknock was away to Leixlip 2. They managed to win 5/4 with Loris Serena winning a real humdinger against Kevin Reynolds 11/9 in the 5th in what proved to be the difference on the night and for the season. This was a gutsy result that showed lots of resilience from Loris who had lost a similar Humdinger to Chris Kearney 11/13 in the 5th at the start of the night. A great win.

The individuals were a close fought affair between Dunboyne 4 players Victor Lungu and Vladimir Domentii, with Victor coming out on top on 27 wins out of 30 while Vladimir had 26 wins out of 30 to get 2nd place. Ray O’ Donoghue (Leixlip 2) came in 3rd but could have been a contender if he had played 30 games instead of 27, he won 23 of the 27 having split the honours with both Vladimir and Victor.

This season was a learning one for Leinster 1 where they were unable to take any wins although they had a few close calls and tight games. I’m sure they will come back stronger next season.

CUP Results

The cup was a great opportunity to change the format and bring back some doubles while also moving some teams around giving everyone the opportunity to play against teams they hadn’t play against in the league.

The finals took place on 13th April in Balbriggan TTC. A big thank you to the Balbriggan committee and in particular Brenda Burns for organising the event and the Tea / Cake etc. Also, a big thank you to the many spectators (about 60 spectators and players turned up on the day) who really added to the atmosphere.

Division 1 winners were Balbriggan 1 who overcame Loop 1 in a thrilling encounter with top class table tennis on show. The young Loop team got off to a slow start and although they fought hard, they were unable to get back on top of a Balbriggan 1 team playing to the maximum of their ability. Balbriggan 1 won 5-3 in the end.

Division 2 was won by Dunboyne 1 who beat Balbriggan 3 5-0. A ruthless performance by Dunboyne 1 with them clinching several close games, and a tough result for Balbriggan 3 who will learn from the experience.

Division 3 (a battle of the Royal County) was taken by Dunboyne 2 who beat Navan 5-1. There were many close games in this one with the Dunboyne 2 team holding their nerve and to bring glory to the club.

Division 4 Leixlip 3 beat Balgriffin 2 by 5-1. Again, some very close calls in this exciting match. The first few games in this one which could have gone either way, were crucial with Balgriffin getting off to a strong start and then keeping their foot on the accelerator.

Other Items

Thank you all for playing in the League, it’s a great pleasure to see it growing and expanding again. Next season we expect to have at least 5 divisions with one being for players who are new to competitive table tennis. We’re also thrilled that the Junior League continues to grow and in a few years’ time many of these Juniors will be competing in the senior league.

There will be a presentation night at 7:30 pm on May 4th in Leinster Cricket Club (Observatory Lane, Rathmines, Dublin 6) where all prizes will be awarded and where we will get a chance to catch up with some old and new friends. Sandwiches etc will be available. All are welcome!

The representative team from Leinster League will be playing against the Belfast & District League on Saturday 27th April in Balbriggan – starting at 11am. Congratulations to the selected players and best of luck against what will be a strong team from B&D. Spectators are very welcome and we hope to see you there. Next season we hope to also play representative matches vs other league like Bray & District or United Churches.