Ulster Retain Junior Interpro Title

Ulster claimed the Victor Barna Shield at the Junior Interpros held in Killarney last weekend. The Aura Leisure Centre proved to be an excellent facility for table tennis and an appropriate setting for some of Ireland’s top Junior players to display their skills and represent their provinces.

Many observers felt Leinster were favourites to take the Barna Shield but this was not to be the case as a number of tight matches and surprising results led to the trophy travelling back to Ulster yet again, while Munster claimed 2nd place overall.

Event Reviews


Munster claimed the Junior Girls title, producing an excellent performance to defeat Ulster 7-2 in the deciding match. Laura Finn produced two battling performances recording wins for Ulster over Aisling Healy and Emily Burns, but Edel O’Reilly won all 3 of her games and Healy and Burns took 2 a piece to claim the victory for the hosts.

In the Junior Boys, Ulster claimed a facile victory over Connacht to kick-off their tournament, with Stephen Slater, Neil Irwin and Kieran Reilly all going undefeated. Next up was Munster and Ashley Robinson came into the team. Robinson was impressive in defeating international colleague Declan O’Brien in straight sets and also winning his other two games. Stephen Slater also produced an excellent display to defeat O’Brien and round off a really good 7-2 victory for Ulster. With Leinster beating Munster 5-4 and Connacht 9-0, a deciding encounter between Leinster and Ulster would decide the title. Sam Logue claimed two points for Leinster with victories over Irwin and Slater, but Robinson was imperious – claiming all 3 of his matches. Slater then clinched the match and the title for Ulster 5-3 with a win over Club Donic’s talented Shi Zhao Li.


The Cadet Boys was all about Team Leinster, with international team-mates Conor Mullally, Ryan Farrell and Kevin Hutchinson all representing the favourites and ALSAA’s Ciaran Kelly also playing an important role. They blitzed their opponents to claim the title, Ryan Farrell maintaining a 100% record throughout. This is the 3rd win a row for Leinster in the Cadet Boys event.

Ulster claimed the Cadet Girls title, with Hannah-Lynch Dawson leading the way with some impressive displays. They beat Munster into 2nd place following a 6-3 victory over the hosts. Some excellent matches were a feature of this category – Emma Ludlow’s 5 set(11-9 in the 5th) victory over Leinster’s Meadhbh Slattery in particular stands out.

Under 12s

The Under 12s was a difficult category to call in advance and this proved to be the case. Some enthralling encounters ensued – Munster took a 5-4 victory over Leinster in the first match, Karl Walsh holding his nerve to record two wins in 5 setters. Zak Wilson was on top form as Ulster defeated Connacht 6-3. Club Donic’s Evin McGovern then provided a sign of fireworks to come with a 100% performance in a 6-3 victory for Leinster over Connacht, while Ulster cruised to a 6-3 victory over Munster. Munster closed out their tournament with a 5-2 victory over Connacht while Leinster defeated Ulster 5-4 with Evin McGovern producing two fantastic performances to record wins over joint National Number Ones Zak Wilson and Ryan McConkey. This of course led to a three-way tie and the dreaded count back – Ulster eventually emerging as Under 12 Champions.

Leinster were probably just favourites in the Under 12 Girls, but there were some surprise results with the hosts claiming the title. Valentina Puotkalyte was in unstoppable form, posting victories over Elayna and Katie McGlone as well as Primary School International Nga Nguyen in a thrilling 5-4 victory over Leinster. Brielle Brady and Chloe O’Halloran were also in fine form as Ulster was defeated 8-1 and Munster clinched the title with a 9-0 result over Connacht.

In the end, it was another fantastic Junior Interpros, with lots of great matches and talking points. Munster Under 12 Valentina Puotkalyte was selected for the inaugural Colum Slevin Player of the Tournament Award following her clinical displays in leading the Munster team to the Under 12 title. Congratulations again to the Ulster team and thanks to our sponsors STIGA, tournament referee Con O’Ceadaigh and the Munster Branch for all their fine work in hosting this event.