The latest Irish ranking tournament took place in Killarney, County Kerry last weekend with the always popular STIGA Munster Open. A massive amount of work by dedicated volunteers within the Munster branch delivered a top class tournament in the excellent venue of the INEC , Killarney. Over 200 entrants across all of the events enjoyed a fantastic weekend’s play.
In the Men’s Senior event, interest was high with two UK players topping the seeds, Gavin Rumgay of Scotland and Wales’ Ryan Jenkins(pictured). UCD’s Irish internationals John Murphy and Gavin Maguire were also expected to be in contention at the business end of the tournament. Early surprises in the event were restricted to outside the top four, but Leeside’s Alan Walsh claimed the scalp of 6th seed Tibor Pofok with a fine performance belying the significant ranking difference between the two players. Apart from that upset, the event went according to seedings, with Murphy against Rumgay and Maguire against Jenkins in the last four. Unfortunately for the home support, this was to be the end of the road for the Irish internationals, with Rumgay and Jenkins both looking good as they progressed to the Final. Both of these players brought their ‘A game’ to the Final in front of an enthralled crowd, with Jenkins eventually claiming victory and the Munster Open title.
In the Women’s Senior event, a lot of pressure was on the shoulders of young Junior Hannah Lynch-Dawson who has also emerged this season as one of Ireland’s top ranked Senior players. Again, there was an upset in the knock-out stages as Kinneigh TTC’s Kerry O’Mahoney delivered a stunning performance to eliminate 4th seed Jean Wyse in straight sets. Making a welcome return to competition was Leeside’s Deirdre Murphy who eventually put an end to O’Mahoney’s fine run at the Quarter Final stage. UCD’s Sarah Timlin defeated Murphy to progress to the Final – showing pleasing form in advance of her trip this week to the ITTF Austria Open. Lynch-Dawson fought off tough competition from 3rd seed Sabina Devereux in the Semi-Final and claimed a fine Munster Open victory over her international team-mate to justify her top seeding and crown a fine weekend for the Ulster player.
Leeside’s Chloe O’Halloran was the star turn in the underage events, recording a fine double at Cadet and Junior level at her home event. O’Halloran took on all-comers across both events and will be delighted with her consistency as well as wins over all of the top underage girls – Kate Whelan, Katie McGlone, Hannah Lynch Dawson, Elayna McGlone and Katie McGlone all were eliminated by the Munster star across the two events – a spectacular event for O’Halloran. UCD’s Shi Zhao Li claimed the Junior Boy’s title with victory over Eastpoint’s Ryan Farrell, while international teammates Zak Wilson and Alexander Gillen played out an excellent Cadet Final, with Wilson emerging on top.
In the Under 12 Boys, the finalists came away from the top seeds, with Dylan Grace taking on Isac Ghenadie in an all Leinster Final with Mountrath’s Grace storming to the Munster title. In the Under 12 Girls, National Champion and Primary Schools International Champion Kate Whelan claimed victory over Athlone TTC’s Yasmine Barry who belied her seeding of 6 to claim an impressive runner-up position.
Meanwhile in the mixed Under 21’s, Ian Brown claimed the title with a win over Alex Cooney – Clodagh McCullagh was the best placed girl in 3rd position.
Veterans & Doubles Summary
Tibor Pofok recovered from his shock loss in the Men’s Singles to record a fantastic Munster Open Veterans victory, defeating Pawel Kopacz in the Final, having earlier beaten Phillip Shaw and Mike Nash.
The Men’s Doubles had a familiar look to the Final, with three of the four Men’s Singles Semi-Finalists in action. Eastpoint’s Mark O’Flynn teamed up with Gavin Rumgay who again found himself on the losing side against Wales’ Ryan Jenkins who had paired with UCD’s Maguire. The Women’s Doubles was claimed by Leeside’s Huizhang Xie & Sabina Devereux in a fine win over the Ulster pairing of Lynch-Dawson and Annalise Walker. Devereux was to claim another title, this time the Mixed Doubles with husband Brian, defeating the strong pairing of Mark O’Flynn and Sarah Timlin.
Congratulations to all players who took part in this fantastic event and to the Munster Branch for delivering a high quality tournament for the players.