A big entry and a great weekend of table tennis at The Arena this weekend as ten National Junior titles were decided over the course of two days.
On Day 1, the Under 18 & Under 13 titles were up for grabs.
In the Under 18 events, Table Tennis Ireland was delighted to introduce two new trophies which were generously sponsored. The sponsors agreed with the Board of the Association to dedicate the Junior Boys trophy to Alex and Kitty Thackaberry, and the Junior Girls Trophy was dedicated to Teresa Devaney.
New trophies and National title honours up for grabs and there were some fantastic battles to decide their destination.
In the Junior Girls, Hannah Lynch Dawson was in supreme form, defeating Rebecca Finn and Chloe O’Halloran to make the Final. In the other half of the draw, Kate Whelan showed impressive form beating Nga Nguyen and Katie McGlone to progress to her 2nd National Under 18 Final of the year. The Final was a tense match, with Whelan dropping the initial set but levelling at 1-1. Hannah then pushed the pace to claim the 3rd and 4th sets, and she was delighted to claim a fantastic victory on the back of some recent injury problems.
In the Boys, in form Zak Wilson was eager to claim a title, having played extremely well at the National Seniors a fortnight ago in the same venue. UCD’s French based pair Alexander Gillen and Adrien Beretta were intent on stopping him, with Alan Walsh and Ryan McConkey also having title aspirations in a competitive category. In the end, Wilson was imperious, beating Beretta in the semi-final before beating his team-mate Gillen in the Final – this caps a great season for Wilson as he claimed the inaugural Thackaberry trophy.
In the Under 13 Boys, the top seeds all cruised through the first group stage. The breakthrough performance of the weekend was Bunninadden’s Dapkus, playing his second event of the year having performed well in the Connacht Junior Open earlier this season. Dapkus eliminated 3rd seed Dillon Byrne to progress to the Semi-Finals. In the last four, Connacht’s Thomas Joyce and David Taylor progressed to the Final and showed why they are jointly ranked 1st nationally in this age category. In the Final, it was Joyce who emerged triumphant to claim the Under 13 National title in straight sets.
In the Girls, again the seeds looked good with Mia O’Rahilly Egan from Donic and Natasya Barry from Athlone looking in good form. O’Rahilly Egan has been dominant all season, winning every National Ranking event. Both progressed to the Final with wins over Saoirse Jordan and Lucy Craig. The Final was a thrilling encounter, with Natasya eventually emerging as the National Champion, taking the 5th set by 12-10.
On to Day 2, with the Para and Cadet Titles up for grabs and with Hopes players also in action:
The Para Juniors played across a number of categories, with Paddy Vaughan impressively claiming two titles – Mixed and Boys Standing. Sinead Keon claimed the Girls event and Ulster’s Gary Quantrill claimed the Class 1-5 event.
In the Under 15 Girls, it was Katie McGlone and Rebecca Finn who were the outstanding players in action, and they both progressed to the Final without ever looking likely to lose a match. In the Final, they traded sets to set up a 5th set decider which Katie managed to claim by 11-8 to claim her 4th National Cadet title – a fantastic achievement for the Irish international.
In the Boys, Owen Cathcart continued his season long dominance, and was really impressive in claiming the title without dropping a set over 8 matches – super stuff from Owen. Congratulations also to Dylan Grace of Mountrath TTC for 2nd place and pushing Owen in the Final.
In the Hopes we had a really big entry, with lots of matches for the players in a fun, unpressurised environment. These players are the future of our sport and will progress to the more serious business of National titles over the coming years, but for now, their focus is on development and progressing their game.
Junior Boys : 1. Z Wilson, 2. A Gillen, 3. A Beretta ;
Junior Girls : 1. H Lynch Dawson, 2. K Whelan, 3. K McGlone ;
Cadet Boys : 1. O Cathcart, 2. D Grace, 3. J Kelly ;
Cadet Girls : 1. K McGlone, 2. R Finn, 3. M O’Rahilly Egan ;
U-13 Boys : 1. T Joyce, 2. D Taylor, 3. A McLoughlin ;
U-13 Girls : 1. N Barry, 2. M O’Rahilly Egan, 3. S Jordan ;
Para Boys : 1. P Vaughan, 2. C O’Callaghan, 3. G Quantrill ;
Para Girls : 1. S Keon, 2. C Folan ;
Para Mixed : 1. P Vaughan, 2. C O’Callaghan, 3. S Geoghegan ;
Para WChair : 1. G Quantrill, 2. J Colbert, 3. M Henderson ;