Ulster retained the Senior Inter-provincial table tennis title at Breaffy House, Castlebar in fine style with a brilliant final 6-4 victory over old enemy Leinster, with no less than three of the five player squad being still in the junior ranks.
Ashley Robinson (15 years) from Clogher was the star of the show with a massive victory over National Senior Champion John Murphy in the deciding match, before defeating leading junior Sam Logue of ALSAA TTC. Robinson’s raw talent was recognised by the ITTA at the Championship Dinner when he was awarded the new Tommy Caffrey ‘Player of the Tournament’ Trophy. Following the presentation of the trophy, Caffrey, who has now played in over 50 Interprovincial tournaments, enthralled the crowd with a speech covering some of his many memories of this wonderful event.
Irish No.1 and top Ulster player Paul McCreery (17 years) was equally impressive as he continued his meteoric rise, also scoring vital wins over Murphy to reverse the 2010 National Championship Men’s final score line, and over the 2009 Irish champion Gavin Maguire. Ulster anchor Daryl Strong (Queens) gave his customary consistent performance by taking out Maguire, with Ulster’s female starlet Ashley Givan (14 years) from Dungannon securing the Ulster gold medal with an impressive win over Sabina Devereux.
In the Veterans event, Leinster were pushed very hard to retain their title for the 10th Year running. A dogged home performance from Connacht saw the title deciding match go to a final Singles battle between Kariem Sabir of Connacht and Dave Pemberton of Leinster. This was an enthralling 5 setter which Sabir looked to be favourite to win having taken a 5-3 lead in the 5th set. Pemberton was not to be beaten however, and displayed some top class table tennis to fight back and claim the 5th set and the title for the Leinster Veterans.
In the Under 21’s, Leinster also claimed Gold and indeed were the dominant province, dropping very few matches on their way to gold. With 9-1 victories over Munster and Connacht and a 6-2 victory over Ulster, the young Leinster players were deservedly crowned as Interprovincial Under 21 Champions. Munster finished in 2nd position following a 6-5 victory in a closely fought match with Ulster.
Senior: 1. Ulster; 2. Leinster; 3. Munster; 4 Connaught.
Veteran: 1. Leinster; 2. Connaught; 3. Ulster; 4. Munster.
Under 21: 1. Leinster; 2. Munster; 3. Ulster; 4. Connaught.