Reflections on the Senior Schools International

When you sweep into the majestic Sports Arena at the University of Limerick this weekend, you’d be forgiven for imagining that at least some of the competitors were playing the last time that the event was hosted here in 2004. but gradually as you inspect the programme you realise that of the 113 competitors only the Guernsey trio of Oliver Langlois, Alice Loveridge and Paula Le Ber are making a return as players. You also realise that 6 years is a long times in table tennis when you notice that many of the team coaches of today were here then as players. Not only the Irish trio of John Murphy, Mark O’Flynn and Gavin Maguire but also coaches from Scotland and Wales played in the event here in 2004.

This is Ireland’s 4th hosting of this event that first came to these shores in 1994. That year the Chair of our 2010 Organising Committee Anna Kelly coached the Under 16 Girls team to Ireland’s first ever team gold. This year, the lean and mean Irish team will be looking to build on their success at the event in Scotland in 2009, when we claimed the Under 18 and under 16 Boys titles. Paul McCreery will look to extend his fabulous dream season with victory in the under 18 events. He will be partnered by Maciek Szymanski in the absence of the injured Sam Logue. The under 16 boys team of Ashley Robinson and Declan O’Brien will face a strong challenge from the Welsh and English squads.

Our Under 14 teams face a tough challenge with the English team looking particularly strong. Captained by last years under 18 team gold winner Gavin Maguire, the A team of Shi Zhao Li and Ryan Farrell will have to be on the top of their game to challenge for the title.

In the girls event our Six Nations Cadet champions Ashley Givan and Edel O’Reilly will challenge for the under 16 girls title and National under 17s champion Sara Dolan will lead the under 18s girls partnered by Rebecca Kenny. The Under 14 Squad is a young team who will benefit greatly from the experience of the event. An encouraging thought given that young Katie McGlone will at least still be eligible to play the next time that the Schools International rolls into town! 2016 anyone!!