Photos: Kayrin Ong, Seán Murphy
U.C.C. Open (Munster Ranking Event)
Sunday 9th March, 2014
Click here for full results.
The fabulous Mardyke Arena was the venue for the first (of many, hopefully) U.C.C. Open Table Tennis Tournament.
The event was run by U.C.C. Table Tennis Club, and was the final Munster Ranking Event of the season.
It was a very busy day of table tennis in the magnificent Mardyke Arena, surely the finest facility to host a Munster Ranking event!
The host club, U.C.C. Table Tennis Club did a fantastic job despite limited equipment, they made the best of the fine hall by borrowing tables, surrounds, nets and scoreboards from neighbouring clubs. Thanks to all involved in the transport of tables and set-up of the hall!
There were seventeen tables, and they were in use almost constantly until the very end of the day.
Play started with the Under-18s, in the Girls there were just six entries so they played a Round Robin. The first result of the day saw Kerry O'Mahoney winning the title thanks to a 3-1 win over Chloe O'Halloran (just after her U-21 National Title last weekend) in the second last round of matches.
In the Boy's event, the final saw the familiar pairing of Walsh v. Murphy, with Alan edging out Colm in the final set to consolidate his Number One position in the Rankings. The big result of the day was a great 3-2 win for Bogdan Pop (Killarney) against seasoned campaigner Brian Kelleher in the Quarter Final to reach the semi-final! Well done, Bogdan!
The semi-final of the U-13 boys saw Number four seed, Isaac Leahy, defeat the joint U-11 Number One, Matthew Pop in the semi-final. He went one better to beat Joe Linehan in the final! Isaac's first U-13 Munster title! Conor O'Callaghan lived up to his seeding to fill the fourth semi-final place. In the Plate, Tom Good won South Coast Table Tennis's first silverware!
With Zofia Wawrzyniak (three times winner this season in this event) forgoing the U-13s for U-18 experience, the door was open for a new Champion, and she could only come from Leeside, with all four semi-finalists from the same club! Silke Heinen beat Thuy Linh in the final.
The Under-11s were a noisy affair, but lots fun. Top four places in the Girls' were again all Leeside, with Silke Heinen beating team-mate Rachel Coburn 2-0 in the final to make it a U-13/U-11 Double!
In the Boy's event, Isaac Leahy made it another Leeside Double, knocking Matthew Pop off his perch! This event saw the arrival of a number of fresh faces, Jimmy Hayes brought some of his charges from Cloughjordan, Tipperary to take part in their first Ranking event. Ross Astin was sixth in the Under-11s, and Jake Adler won the Plate! Welcome to Munster Table Tennis, lads!
No huge surprises in the U-15 Boys, James Kelly continuing his dominance with a straight sets win over Usaamah Hussain. Kevin Browne had a good win over Niall Brown (who missed out on the Under-18s event in the morning) to take third place.
The U-15 Girls was equally predictable, with Kerry O'Mahoney unstoppable to take her second title.
It was a delight to have Declan Kidney, former Ireland Rugby Manager and now Director of Sport at U.C.C., as our special guest to present some of the prizes in the under age events, he certainly added a touch of class to the prize-giving!
In the Senior events, there was a small entry in the Under-21s, Declan O'Brien beating his Ballincollig team-mate Ian Brown in the final. All four semi-finalists were from the same club.
The Vets was contested by about a dozen players, and another Kopacz v. Redmond final was no surprise, Pawel coming out on top in a match that went all the way and had plenty of excitement, and a bit of noise! Gunther Viktorin pushed Anthony very hard in the semi, and Philip Shaw was no push-over for Pawel in the other!
One of the big successes of the 2013-14 seson has been the Senior Men's Events, growing steadily with the introduction of divisions to attract a very
healthy entry, including some players who might not enter if the event was intended just for elite players. For the final event of the season, the Premier was contested in four groups of four, with not a single player out of his depth! But the cream will always rise to the top, and Declan O'Brien remained unbeaten again to win 3-1 against Alan Walsh in the final.
Plenty of quality in the lower Divisions too, Sylwester Hajdul beating Wlodek Wawrzyniak in the Division One Final, and newcomer Jens Thoelert overcoming Chairman Shorten in the Division Two final. Again, it was great to see some new faces in the Senior events, with Declan Harkin joining us from Limerick and Andris Pileckis (now playing in Tralee) making a comeback, both made the semi-finals of their division.
Even though there were just eight entries, the last event to finish was the Senior Ladies, with several marathon matches in the Group Stages meaning the finals weren't played until after eight! Kerry O'Mahoney had a second win of the day over Chloe O'Halloran in the Group Stages, Chloe recovered well to beat Edel O'Reilly in her semi-final for a third match against Kerry in the final. And at 9-5 up in the final set it looked like Kerry might be on the verge of a historic treble, but Chloe was able to dig deep and took six points in a row to be crowned Ladies' Senior Champion again, finishing the season as the clear Senior Ladies' Number One for 2013/14.
Thanks to all in U.C.C. Table Tennis Club for hosting a great event, in particular Kayrin Ong (whose administrative duties distracted from her table tennis!) and Janis Agurianovs who was fantastic on the Top Table (brother of Ireland's Number Two player, and no mean table tennis player himself, hopefully we will see him in competition next year!)
What a fantastic venue for the final Munster Ranking of the season, and hopefully we will be back in the future.
Who were the three Parent & Child combinations?
There were three parent & child pairs playing in the UCC Open.
Can you name them? One of the pairs had two prizewinners! (Oh, and Ian Brown isn't old enough to be Niall's father!)
First to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the correct answer will win a unique prize (you know what it is, just one of the clocks - but it will be personalised!)
WE HAVE A WINNER
Dave Buckley (Ballincollig) was first to identify our three family pairs! (Wawrzyniak, Lopez & Hardeny!)