At a superb Butterfly National Senior Championships this weekend, John Murphy and Amanda Mogey beat off all-comers to take Senior National titles home with them.
In the Women’s event, Mogey faced UCD’s Sarah Timlin in the Semi Final. Mogey raced into an early lead, taking the first three sets and looked to be cruising. Timlin fought back though and with support from her UCD team-mates, took the next two sets, indeed dominating the 5th set on an 11-4 score line. Mogey was clinical and ensured that she progressed to the Final, maintaining her composure to close out the match 4-2. Ashley Givan was superb in her semi-final, defeating Sabina Devereux without ever giving her opponent a chance to get into the match. So the Ulster and Ireland team-mates faced off in the Final – both have dominated the Senior scene this year. Mogey was in devastating form and the match never really lived up to its billing as Mogey took command from the outset – Givan could not get going and Mogey took the title with a 4-0 win. It was a fantastic performance from Mogey and she looks to be in top form heading towards the World Championships later this month.
In the Men’s event, fans were finding it very difficult to predict a winner in what is a very strong section at present. Many felt Gavin Maguire could repeat his 2009 title success and the UCD man looked to be in fine form, claiming the Under 21 title on Day 1 of the event. He faced a very tough Quarter Final against Peter Graham – this was a classic, with Maguire fighting hard to claim a 4-3 victory. He faced Paul McCreery in the Semi-Final – McCreery also many people’s favourite for the event. McCreery stepped up his level and Maguire could not repeat his QF heroics – McCreery progressing to the Final. In the other half of the draw, reigning champion John Murphy saw off Mark O’Flynn in a keenly contested QF, while Ashley Robinson defeated ALSAA’s Sam Logue. Robinson had recently defeated Murphy at the Fermanagh Open, but Murphy, an experienced Nationals Campaigner at this stage was very much in the zone, producing some outstanding shots to progress to the Final. One senses that both Maguire and Robinson will be back again and again over the coming years – both have youth and serious ability in their favour.
And so to what turned out to be the match of the day, if not the season. McCreery claimed a nervy 1st set 11-7, before Murphy levelled the next set by the same score line. McCreery then hit top gear, taking the 3rd 11-4 and then added the 4th to get to just one set away from his first National Senior title. The match now went up a level, Murphy is renowned for his battling abilities and he certainly was not going to give up. Both players scrapped for every point, with Murphy producing several moments of pure class to claw his way back into the game taking the 5th and 6th set to set up a final set decider. Murphy had momentum on his side now and his steely determination to retain his title was visible in every moment of the final set. He took an early lead and never let go, to close out a dramatic match and claim his 5th National Senior title – a phenomenal achievement. McCreery can be rightly proud of his performance and it looks inevitable that the Ulster player will one day be National champion – he has all the attributes in his locker. The day belonged to John Murphy however – a performance full of heart, skill and quality under pressure – a true National Champion.
Full results available here
In the Under 21 Men, Gavin Maguire claimed his first National Under 21 title, with a fine victory over Ashley Robinson. Ballincollig’s Edel O’Reilly also produced a fine display to claim gold, beating Hannah-Lynch Dawson to claim the title – both these young talents have many further years ahead at this level. The Restricted Singles(pictured above) saw Ian Brown claim another National title for Ballincollig, with a win over York Road’s Kevin Hutchinson. Brown was in fantastic form over the weekend, also managing to make the Men’s Quarter Final – a fantastic achievement for a player ranked 28 in Ireland pre Nationals. Michael Cunningham and Rena McCarron Rooney claimed National titles in the wheelchair singles events, and Cunningham went on to claim a further title in the wheelchair doubles, partnering with John Finn to see off the challenge of Quinlan & Rooney. In the Veterans event, an in-form Tommy Fitzgerald progressed past Pawel Kopacz in the semi-final, where he faced Tibor Pofok(the CYM Terenure man had eliminated Killarney TTC’s Anthony Redmond in the other semi). Pofok wasa also in good form over the weekend and recorded a good win over Fitzgerald to claim the Veteran’s title. In the Women’s Doubles, Amanda Mogey and Ashley Givan looked to be a dominant force and proved unbeatable, with a Final victory over Jean Wyse and Teresa Devanney. In the Men’s Doubles, the Ulster pair of Daryl Strong and Peter Graham caused somewhat of a surprise in claiming a fantastic victory over Men’s Singles finalists Murphy and McCreery.
(Photo with thanks to Alan Betson Irish Times)