Ballincollig had five junior players playing at the Butterfly Irish Junior Nationals this past weekend. This was the final junior ranking event of the year. Nora, Auryn, Joe ,Ciaran and Colm all took part. This year’s event took place in Dublin City University over Saturday and Sunday.
It was a very early start on both days for the players and coach Dave Buckley. On Saturday, Colm, Joe and Dave made the long trip to Dublin for an 8.30am start.
Colm playing in his last U18 ranking event before he move to senior last year was first to play. Heading into the event he was ranked 7th but on the bay was moved up to 5th. He easily won his opening group and was safely into round 2. He also won his round 2 matches and was drawn against Luke Dempsey in the last 16. This was the 3rd time the pair had been drawn together this year. The match went to the wire with Colm winning 12-10 in the 5th. The luck of the draw went against Colm now. He was drawn against the top seed and good friend Ryan Farrell. Colm and Ryan had not been drawn against each other in over two years. It proved to be a very tactical match. Farrell took the open two sets to 9 and 8 points. Colm fought back taking a marathon third set 16-14. However Farrell who has represented Ireland on 35 occasions rallied in the fourth winning 11-8. It was a great match and Colm played probably played some of his best ever table tennis. He ended up finishing in 8th position on the day. Farrell went on to win claim the Irish Junior national title in comfortable fashion.
Joe was playing in his first National finals event. Early nerves got to him a little bit but he still held his nerve in this opening group against Leeside’ s Adam Buckley to win in the 5th. He lost a tight match to Alex McGovern and beat Richard Thomson. He was through to round 2 where he came up against David Tylor and Isaac Leahy. Joe played very well against both David and Isaac and with a little more experience at this level could easily have won both matches. This will stand well to Joe as he heads to the Junior Interprovincial later this month.
On Sunday, Nora, Auryn, Ciaran and Dave all headed to DCU. Ciaran competed in the U11’s and made it through to round 2. Nora and Auryn made it to the qtr. finals of U15 plate events. These matches will hold them in good stead for next season.
Thanks to Dave for making the long trip to Dublin up and down on both days.