Wednesday Update from Senior Europeans

Following an initial defeat to Lithuania., the Butterfly sponsored Irish team grew in strength and defeated all of the other teams in Group J, including an impressive win over Armenia. Ken Strong is the ITTA Delegate at the Europeans and he described the performance against Armenia as “a particularly focused and awesome display by our young players, capably led by John Murphy and expertly coached by Peter Nilsson”. For Sam Hanley, National Junior Champion and Gavin Maguire, National Senior Champion at 18 years of age, this tournament has been a tremendous experience to date and both have grown stronger and gained more confidence since the first match with Lithuania. With four wins in a row, the Irish progressed to the Promotion Play-Offs.

First up in the play-offs was a strong Netherlands team. The Irish fought hard against their more experienced opponents, but the Dutch took the match on a 3:0 score line. That left the team with one match to secure promotion and perhaps gain revenge over the Lithuanians. With everything at stake, the Lithuanians surged into an early lead with Maguire and Murphy losing to Martinkus and Domeika respectively. The Irish did not lie down however, and  Sam Hanley produced a fantastic performance to defeat Udra and Murphy levelling the tie at 2:2 against Martinkus. That left Maguire in the pressure-cooker situation of having to defeat Domeika to secure promotion. This looked a tall order but Maguire produced some scintillating table tennis to take the match to 5 sets and was unfortunate to eventually lose the final set 12:10 having saved 3 match points.

Ireland then just missed out on promotion but showed encouraging signs and great battling qualities.

In today’s Singles, John Murphy lost in the First Round against Denmark’s Ka Sternberg 4:1. Sam Hanley progressed to the 2nd Round with a 4:2 victory over Tentoni from San Marino. He will face Sweden’s Robert Svensson in tomorrow’s 2nd Round. Gavin Maguire defeated Bosnia’s Alec 4:2 in an epic encounter


and will face Austrian Daniel Habesohn in tomorrow’s 2nd Round. These are two fantastic results from Hanley and Maguire in their first Senior Europeans and we wish them all the best in their 2nd Round games tomorrow.

In the Doubles event, Maguire is partnered with Finn Toni Soine – they produced an excellent win in the 1st Round, defeating a Kosovan duo and will now face OVTCHAROV and STEGER of Germany in the 2nd Round. Hanley and Murphy lost out to a Slovenian duo in the 1st Round.