The Battle of Clontarf: Leinster Claim 2012 Junior Interpros

A thrilling STIGA Junior Interpros took place in IWA Hall, Clontarf this weekend. With a full entry across all categories from each province, tough competition was anticipated – but nobody could have anticipated the dramatic finale to some of the events. Words cannot really describe what an extraordinary atmosphere we had on Saturday. There was high quality play in abundance and several matches going to deuce in the 5th. Home Team Leinster(pictured) eventually emerged with the Victor Barna Shield for overall winners – a fantastic achievement for the province as Ulster had been dominant in recent years.


Ulster claimed the Junior Girls title, but not without having an extraordinary battle for the title with Munster. Both teams dispatched Connacht and Leinster with little difficulty to set up the decider. With the match tied at 3:3, the much anticipated battle between Ashley Givan and Edel O’Reilly took place, with Givan claiming a straight sets victory to edge Ulster ahead. Emma Ludlow then sealed the match and the title for the Ulster team with a good victory over Emily Burns.

In the Junior Boys, Leinster claimed the title. Recovering from 3:1 down against Munster, wins for Ryan Farrell, Shi Zhao Li and Conor Mullally inspired a 6:3 victory. They also controlled the match against Ulster, with Matt Final coming in to the team and recording some good wins. The team showed its strength in depth with Ciaran Kelly playing in the final match against Connacht, with Leinster comfortably claiming the title.


Both Cadet titles were also split between Ulster and Leinster. In the Girls event, Laura Finn, Hannah Lynch-Dawson, Rebecca Finn and Elizabeth Cathcart were superb on the day and never looked likely to lose the title with comfortable wins over Connacht and Leinster to set up a final match with Munster. At 3:3, Laura Finn stepped up to beat Brielle Brady and Lynch Dawson clinched the title in straight sets over Chloe O’Halloran.

In the Cadet Boys, Leinster went 4:0 down to Ulster in the before coming back to win 5:4 with the final match between Tom Davis and Jonathan Porter going to the final, nail biting game. Tom Davis drew on all his ability to clinch the last game 11:8 –  this game not only decided this event but also, ultimately the destination of the overall Shield. The hall virtually stopped to watch this fiercely dramatic encounter even with other matches still going on.

Under 12

If the Cadets event did not have sufficient drama for the fans, there was further heart stopping drama around 9.30pm when every other match had already finished. This was in the Boys Under 12 between Leinster and Connacht when the last match was decided deuce in the 5th. Martin Williams defied the rankings to produce a smashing display of finesse, nerve and battling skills to claim the match over Alexander Gillen and the title for Connacht with a 15:13 victory. Connacht have had rare success at the Junior Interpros and were understandably thrilled with their victory.

Connacht also looked strong at Under 12 level, but ultimately were no match for a Leinster side containing some of the best young players in the country – Kate Whelan has been on a hot streak at this level this season and was joined by Katie McGlone, Nga Nguyen and Jessie Hayes in a strong team that dominated the competition and claimed the title.

Colum Slevin Award

The Colum Slevin trophy for Player of the Tournament went to Club Donic and Leinster’s Tom Davis – he held his nerve and produced some fantastic table tennis in what was ultimately the most decisive match of the day. Colum Slevin was on hand to present the prestigious award.

As always, thanks to all of the participants for another memorable day of table tennis, played in an exemplary spirit. Thanks to our provincial branches, coaches and our own volunteers and umpires who work tirelessly on behalf of the ITTA to make this event so special for the players. See you all in 2013!

Full results available here