Senior Classification: Preview

This weekend (28th/29th August) sees the end of the off-season and the start of another action packed domestic season of table tennis. The traditional curtain-raiser to the season – the Irish Senior Classification is also a crucial event in terms of establishing ranking position – results can have a massive effect on how each player’s season plays out. Following from last year’s trend, entries have again soared this year, with 123 players registered for the event.

The ITTA Events Committee has made the draw for the event. Play begins in UCD Sports Centre, Dublin on Saturday 28th August 2010 at 9.30am sharp. Entrance to UCD Sports Hall from 8.30am-10am is in the back entrance by the hockey pitch. The Event Finals on Sunday will be played in DCU Sports Arena, Glasnevin, again commencing at 9.30am sharp.

As always, the Qualifying Event can be notoriously unpredictable – this year’s Men’s event has 88 players battling for just 4 qualifying spots. Corey O’Rourke of St.John’s and Galway’s Robbie Gavin appear to be the early favourites, although there are lots of dark horses sprinkled throughout the draw, from the experienced Brian Devereux, Dave Pemberton and Anthony Redmond, to top Junior  players such as Kevin O’Keefe, Stephen Slater and Shi Zhao Li. Maciek Syzmanski, who featured recently at the Senior Schools International, will also be one to watch.

In the Women’s event, again it’s wide open. Sabina Devereux is the favourite to progress, but with only two spots available the pressure is really on. Jean Wyse and Teresa Devanney are well versed in these competitions and there will be some exciting match-ups against emerging talents such as Katie and Elayna McGlone.

Final Event – Men

Drawn in Group A, much focus will be on the form of National Number 1 Paul McCreery. He is drawn against Junior internationals Sam Logue and Ashley Robinson, 2009 National Champion Gavin Maguire, international team-mate Keith Knox and Eastpoint’s Mark O’Flynn. There can be no doubt that McCreery is the favourite to win this completion and improve on his 2nd place finish last season. However, this is a tough group, which will be rounded out by the 1st and 4th Qualifiers from Saturday’s event.

In Group B, John Murphy, 3 times National Senior Champion will also be looking to get his domestic campaign off to a flying start. He faces last year’s beaten semi-finalist Conor Nolan, Daniel Keenan, Peter Graham and Munster youngster Declan O’Brien. Ryan Flood will look to put up a challenge as will 2 qualifiers from Saturday’s event.

Both groups should see some spectacular matches and will represent a real test of how well the players have trained during the Summer break.

 Final Event – Women

The Final event of the Women’s Classification will see the 6 automatic qualifiers joined by the 2 best Saturday players. Everybody in the Irish table tennis community will be delighted to see the return of Amanda Mogey and Claire Nelson to tournament play after both suffered lengthy injury lay-offs last season. In their absence, Ashley Givan dominated, taking the Women’s Senior National title and finishing as top ranked Cadet, Junior and Senior player in the country. They willbe joined by Rita Kacsandi, last year’s Classification winner and Connacht’s ever-improving Junior international Sarah Timlin.

Click here for Qualifying Draw.

With thanks to Tournament Referee Tony Martin and the ITTA Events Committee for providing this information.