Senior Schools International

The elite players from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man travel to Limerick University, Ireland on 25th June to compete in the Senior Schools International Championship, with an action packed weekend of table tennis anticipated. This prestigious event will be, in terms of participants, the largest international table tennis tournament to be held in Ireland in 2010, with 170 of the top senior schools players (U14 to U18 yrs) and their coaches, as well as a large home and travelling contingent of supporters. The ITTA is proud to host this event in the University of Limerick’s magnificent sporting facilities, and we are very much looking forward to a fantastic exhibition of our sport’s young talent.

The 2009 Senior Schools saw a large Irish squad travel to the event in Largs, Scotland, where Gavin Maguire and Paul McCreery were the star performers, claiming two gold medals in the Under 18 team event and the Under 16 Boys event.

As the host nation, the Irish squad is even larger this year, with 22 players selected (an increase from 14 last year). Many of these players have spent this week at a training camp under the tutelage of Polish Coach and ITTF Coaching expert Lezsek Kucharski, a former World Champion, providing the best possible preparation for a real assault on the medals at next weekend’s International. Paul McCreery is back, this time partnering Sam Logue in the Under 18 Boys event. Shi Zhao Li of Club Donic is paired with Eastpoint’s Ryan Farrell in an exciting Under 14 Boys A Team. Rebecca Kenny retains her place on the Under 18 Girls, teamed with Sara Dolan.  Ashley Givan and Edel O’Reilly also look to be a strong pair in the Under 16 Girls. The Irish team will look to draw on home advantage and the support of the home crowd to bring home as many medals as possible. All 5 of Ireland’s European Youths squad will be in action and much will be expected of this group.

Competition will be strong with the travelling teams supporting such talent as Scott Crawford, Steven Fowler, and Sophie Neal at U18 level, Jared Knowles, Steve Jenkins and Megan Philips at U16 Level , while at U14 Level, Jared Patel, Lewis Williams, Jessica Dawson and Renee Ho will provide stiff opposition given their performance this season.

The Referee for the tournament is the respected Steve Welsh from England.

This prestigious event is a massive undertaking for the Association, expertly led by the Organising Committee, chaired by ITTA Schools Programme Manager, Anna Kelly. The Association is most grateful to our partners and sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible. Event sponsors include Shannon Development, Limerick City and County Councils and Limerick Chamber, all of whom were instrumental in bringing this event to Limerick, with significant benefits to the local economy.  The event has also received support from numerous local businesses including the Carlton, Clarion, Travelodge, Strand and Absolut Hotels, together with the Limerick Leader, Lee Brothers, Dublin and the ITTA’s primary sponsors – Butterfly and Stiga.

Speaking on the event, Mr. Tony Farrell, Marketing Director of the ITTA, commented

‘The Senior Schools is the most prestigious event in this season’s ITTA Calendar, and we are delighted to be hosting the table tennis elite in the excellent UL Sports facility. The ITTA gratefully acknowledges all our sponsors, and we wish all countries a competitive and enjoyable weekend’

The event is being held in the main sports pavilion of the UL Sports Campus and all competitors and coaches are being accommodated nearby, in the superb Drumroe Village. The ITTA and National Associations are being afforded a Civic Reception by Limerick County Council on the Friday evening at the Council Chamber.

The programme of play commences at 5.00pm on Friday evening (25th) with the Team event and continues on Saturday (26th)at 9.00am, and again on Sunday (27th)at 9.00am with the singles event. The presentation ceremony, which will be attended by the Lord Mayor, Mr Kevin Kiely, is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm. All spectators are welcome, and no cover charge will apply over the 3 day event.