Table Tennis Ireland: Awards 2014

The Annual Table Tennis Ireland Awards were presented by President Joe Hickey to their recipients at its AGM held in Sport HQ, Dublin on Saturday 7th June 2014.

President of the ITTA, Joe Hickey paid tribute to all award recipients –

“The pursuit and achievement of excellence by players, officials and volunteers requires ability, hard work and determination. We are delighted to recognise and honour the success of the recipients who have all worked for many years to arrive at the high standards required to be chosen for an award. I have no doubt that their success will be widely applauded and will encourage others to continue with their personal goals

Listed below is some of the key award winners as well as a list of all award winners. Congratulations to all.

Joe Veselsky Award: Jennifer Thompson

The Joe Veselsky Award is presented in recognition of endeavour and achievement in administration; it is only open to members of Table tennis Ireland over the age of 35 who have served a minimum of 5 years in administrative positions within table tennis. It is seen to many as a sort of Lifetime Achievement Award, recognition of the recipient’s work for Table Tennis over a long number of years.

This year the Awards Panel decided to award the “Joe Veselsky” to Jennifer Thompson. 

Jennifer Thompson has been involved with Irish and Ulster Table Tennis for many years. She enjoyed an illustrious playing career at Irish International level, winning many caps, and attaining numerous titles, including becoming Irish No 1. Jennifer followed her success as a player by then becoming involved in the administration side of the sport and served as Hon Sec with Ulster Branch for a few years, and more recentlyas a member of the Table Tennis Ireland High Performance Committee. Jennifer has been the Ulster Branch Technical Officer for a number of years, with responsibility for all Coaching and High Performance training, including the management of budgets, forward planning and the setting of Branch targets to achieve the goals agreed with Sport NI. Jennifer has also qualified as a L2 coach and coaches regularly at her club.

The knowledge and skills attained by Jennifer as a player is now proving to be invaluable as an administrator. Table Tennis Ireland and the Ulster Branch have benefited to a great extent from the work carried out by Jennifer in the many roles she has held. The sport is indeed fortunate to have volunteers of the ability and dedication of Jennifer Thompson.

Stiga Volunteer of the Year Shield:  Michael Barry

The STIGA Ireland Volunteer of the Year Shield is given to someone who gives up their time and skills to table tennis over the year. This year the recipient of the award was Michael Barry. Michael has been a committed volunteer for the sport in Connacht for several years. He has been Branch Secretary for a number of years, has been instrumental in developing Table Tennis to its current healthy state with players on Ireland teams. As Secretary, he tackled many jobs outside his remit, including keeping the accounts in check and has been the key player in the revival of Connacht Table Tennis.

Billy Marshall Award: Ryan Farrell

The Billy Marshall Award is awarded to the Best underage player of the season taking into account not only the player’s results in tournaments but also his or her playing programme. This year the award went to Ryan Farrell from Dublin. This was a very competitive awards category this year, byt Ryan triumphed following a season of very successful tournament results at both Junior & Senior levels.  Ranked No. 1 Junior & No. 1 Under 21 player, the highlight of his season was surely representing Ireland Seniors at the recent World Team Championships in Tokyo.

Para Table Tennis Award: Rena McCarron Rooney

This year was the 2nd presentation of the Para TT Award. The Panel made the award to Rena McCarron Rooney. Rena has had a big year, claiming the national title in April, before recording very significant wins over top ranked opponents at the Slovenia Open, where she claimed bronze. Rena’s season is focussed on the World Championships in Beijing later this year.

Eleanor McKee Trophy: Teresa Devaney

Female Player of the Year was Teresa Devanney, for the 2nd year in a row. Another very successful season for Teresa and she is becoming the benchmark for our talented youngsters to work towards in terms of international success. A consistent winner of Veterans events in England and here in Ireland, she won Over 60s Singles at 6 Nations Veterans in front of home crowd in Dublin earlier in the season but finished her season in fantastic fashion with a gold medal in the World Veterans Championships in New Zealand.


This year we had a player who was a Gold medallist at the World Dwarf Games, Sinead Keon. Sinead beat all before her internationally, with golds in the UK Dwarf Games and the World Dwarf Games in Michigan.


Fair Play Award:Hannah Lynch-Dawson

Hannah, while a very committed player, has gone through the season with an exemplary conduct record. Her nomination for this award is in respect of two incidents in the Ulster Open in a match with her good friend and keen rival, Katie McGlone. Both incidents involved Hannah allowing edges to her opponent not seen by the Umpire at key stages of 5 set matches – fantastic example of sportsmanship and fair play and a deserved winner of this inaugural award.

The complete list of the recipients of the Table Tennis Awards 2014 is:

Joe Veselsky Award: Jennifer Thompson

Anna Kelly Female Coach of the Year Award: Sarah Timlin

Ken Strong Male Coach of the Year Award: Tommy Fitzgerald

Press Officer of the Year: Tony Higgins

STIGA Ireland Volunteer of the Year Shield: Michael Barry

Billy Marshall Award (Best Junior/Cadet Player of the Season): Ryan Farrell

Eleanor McKee Trophy (Female Player of the Year): Teresa Devaney

Rhanbouy Trophy (Male Player of the Year): Paul McCreery

Special Award: Sinead Keon

Para TT Award: Rena Rooney

Certificates of Merit were also awarded at the Awards to Stuart McConley, Emma Ludlow, Paddy Vaughan, Katie McGlone and Hannah Lynch Dawson