Alan Hurley introduced another new venue to Munster Table Tennis by hosting South Coast Challenger in Clonakilty Community Hall, a fine spacious hall with a new sprung floor.
WIth over forty players, mostly local, there was the usual mix of serious table tennis and good old-fashioned fun during a long day which finished just after four o'clock. We had a few tourists, Filip and Jack flying the Ballincollig flag and the two Sam's representing Tralee Table Tennis Club.
Filip Gnyszka (Ballincollig) edged out South Coast's Conor O'Sullivan in the Top Division to win his second Challenger event of the season. Another visitor, this time all the way from Tralee, Sam Blits blitzed (he hates when I say that!) his way to victory in the next tier, losing none of his matches. Promotion is in the offing for Sam, methinks!
David Nolan was just ahead of Micheál Maguire in the third division, great to see local player Killian Hickey making a come-back here! A countback was also needed to put Mark Coleman ahead of Cathal Finn in the fourth.
Claire McCarthy, one of only three girls playing today, was too good for everyone in Division Five, with Tom Ryan close behind. Another girl, Áine Teape topped the last of the six divisions and Brian Coleman earned the last of the unique trophies with the runner-up spot in this group.
The interval between the group stages and the serious divisions was punctuated by a One-Point Challenge on a giant table (18 feet x 10 feet!), and it was Ballincollig's Jack O'Keeffe who held his nerve to win this fun event.
Thanks to Bernard O'Sullivan who was floor-manager for the day, keeping the matches going, checking results, and helping out in many other ways! It was great also to see the more experienced players helping those who are new to tournament play, and the whole day was played in a very sporting manner - some players were spotted shaking hands after every set, not just after every match!