UCD’s John Murphy and Clogher TTC’s Ashley Givan were crowned National Champions in their respective singles at the Butterfly National Senior Championships which took place in ALSAA Sports Complex, Dublin, over the weekend.
In the men’s singles, Murphy, the top seed and Irish number 1, overcame the ever improving Ashley Robinson (Fivemiletown TTC) by 4 sets to 1 in a highly entertaining final. Robinson, still eligible at Junior level, showed his quality throughout the tournament. However, when it came to the final, the more experienced Murphy, who now has 4 National singles titles, took control, preventing his younger opponent from gaining a foothold. The key moment in the match came in the 2nd set, where Murphy withstood wave after wave of pressure to clinch the set 15-13. Despite Robinson taking the third, Murphy took the fourth and powered his way to secure yet another National title. Murphy, such a dominant force in Irish Table Tennis, was ecstatic with his victory, acknowledging the appreciative crowd after the final point, he ran to his corner to hug his delighted father.
Afterwards, Murphy commented that ‘Growing up, I always dreamt of winning an Irish title, and now with 4, its an amazing feeling. It was a hard match, and I had to draw on all my experience to get through’. Speaking of his opponent, Murphy added that ‘Ashley is an amazing talent, and I have no doubt he will be back to take the title within the next few years’
Murphy’s path to the final was fraught with potential dangers. In the quarters, he had to endure an onslaught from Ballincollig TTC’s Declan O’Brien, before taking it 4-2, while in the semis, the UCD man repeated the scoreline in defeating his Irish International team mate, Paul McCreery (Glenburn) who has returned to the Irish scene following a 6 week injury.
In the Women’s singles, Ashley Givan defied the odds to clinch a thoroughly deserved victory over seasoned International and Irish Number 1 Amanda Mogey on a 4-1 scoreline. Both players were acutely aware of each others game, but Givan took the risks and played the big points in fearless fashion to retain the crown she won last year as the youngest ever champion. In the semi-finals, she swept aside the spirited efforts of Jean Hughes in straight sets, while Mogey ended the hopes of Sabina Devereaux (Wexford) on a 4-2 scoreline.
In the under 21 Men’s singles, Paul McCreery overcame his International team-mate Gavin Maguire (UCD) by 3 sets to 1 in a cagey encounter. The Ulsterman was in imperious form, not dropping a set on his way to the final. Maguire, on the other hand was forced to dig deep against fellow Dubliner, Ryan Flood (UCD), in a pulsating semi-final clash, fighting back from a seemingly unassailable 5-0 deficit in the deciding 5th game to clinch it 11-9.
In the under 21 Womens singles, Mayo’s Sarah Timlin clinched the title defeating Dubliner Clodagh McCullagh (York Road TTC) in the final.