Ireland has never won a medal at a Para TT European Championships. Until now, that is! Last week in Vejle, Denmark, Rena McCarron Rooney won a silver medal for Ireland at the European Championships.
A team of 2 players and 2 coaches represented Ireland at the event. Rena McCarron Rooney and Colin Judge, both class 2 and both current national Irish champions, were accompanied by Ronan Rooney and Susan Keating (Murphy).
Colin had a tough group, his first group match being against current European Champion Rafal Czuper, ranked 4 in the latest world rankings. He played well but lost in straight sets. Following a loss in 4 sets to Perlic from Serbia (WR 11,) Colin had a great win over Crosara from Italy in 5 sets. He let slip 2 match points in the third set but eventually dug in well to win it in 5. Despite not qualifying from the group for the knockout stages, the experience will benefit him for the future.
Rena’s first group match was also against current European Champion (Nadejda Pushpasheva from Russia.) Despite losing this she qualified from the group as the runner-up. Following 3 great wins, firstly against Brill from Israel, then against Clara Podda from Italy (ranked 7 in the world,) and finally against Giada Rossi, also from Italy and ranked 8 in the world, Rena found herself in the final, again playing Pushpasheva. Unfortunately the occasion got the better of her in the end as she went down to a strong opponent in straight sets. Despite losing the final, Rena felt very proud of her silver medal, and felt that her hard work over many years has finally paid off.
National Coach Ronan Rooney was full of praise for both players following their performances. “Rena’s achievement cannot be overstated, this being Ireland’s first ever singles medal of any colour at a European Championships. And Colin will benefit from the experience, this being his first major championship. Both players have improved this year, and Rena is now in a great position to qualify for the Rio Paralympics next year.”