Report & Pictures: Owen Kelly
The West Cork Individual Primary Schools Championships 2014 took place at the Goleen Community Sports Centre on Tuesday 18th February. Entry numbers were down this year due in part to the weather. Some schools had to be closed during the storms and felt that with half-term approaching they would withdraw from the event. This was a disappointment to the organisers but those that travelled had a brilliant day and the competition for titles was fierce.
The Over-10 Girls were dominated by Gaelscoil Bantry this year with Louise O’Donnell hoping to retain the title she made hers last year but it is Alisha McCarthy’s name that will feature on the perpetual shield as she fought her way to the top beating Louise 3-1 in the event decider. Maya Mukerjee was 3rd with Leanne Keohane 4th. Sasha McCarthy overcame Sara Kelleher by a 3-2 margin in the Plate Final.
St. Finbarr’s BNS of Bantry traditionally feature at the top of all the Boys' events and with seven of the quarter-finalists in the Over-10 Boys' this year, they again dominated the event. The lone Michael O’Shea from Gaelscoil failed to reach the semis which were closely fought affairs. Keelan Lynch went in as the top seed and he delivered in the final against surprise finalist Paddy O’Neill, Charlie Lavin secured 3rd against Kevin Clifford. Matthew Harley beat Luke Scully (Gaelscoil Bantry) in the Plate Final.
The Under-10 Boys' favourite was Erik Olsson from Lissagriffin NS, going for his hat-trick and he looked unlikely to be challenged. An upset in the early stages meant that the second round group had the top three seeds competing for two of the semi final places and with Erik securing his place it was between cousins Dara and Dylan McCarthy for the second slot. Dara finally made it through to face Matthew Walsh in one of the semi-finals while the Olsson brothers went head to head in the other.
Aaron Olsson, the youngest player in the event, played to his full potential with some stunning forehand attacks and shows tremendous talent for the sport. He was unable to overcome Erik, however, but went on to secure third place with a 3-2 against Dara McCarthy. Matthew Walsh was delighted to make the final but it was Erik’s third in a row showing his high level of ability and experience in the final. Paddy Cronin beat Donal O’Riordan (Gaelscoil Bantry) in the Plate Final.
The U-10 Girls' came down to the well-established rivalry between Aoife Sheehan and Jasmine Kelly made more so with Aoife now representing Goleen NS and Jasmine Lissagriffin NS. Aoife showed great determination and came out on top on this occasion, providing Goleen NS with their first ever Individual Title. The 3rd and 4th battle went down to the final set between Moira Harrington (Gaelscoil Bantry) and Suki Kelly (Lissagriffin NS) - playing in her first ever schools tournament - she was delighted with her top-4 finish and has vowed to return for next year’s event.
A special thanks to James and Mair Kelly who helped out with set up and with organising the event along with the teachers and parents who provided transport and supervision, without their help and support an event like this would not be possible.