The third Munster Ranking took place at the Sports Village in Cork hosted by the Leeside Club. The weekend was dominated by the weather with Storm Desmond bringing high winds and rains a plenty. I was lucky enough to get an early start and miss some of the worst of it but Kate who came up later for the U11s had to make a number of detours.
Jasmine started off in the U13 Girls playing really well beating Robyn from Cloughjordan who she had lost to in the previous event and managed to reach the semi final stages losing to Silke. She continued her good form to beat Robyn again in the 3rd/4th play off and was delighted with a third place finish. Erik cruised through the early stages of the U13s and made the semi final stages as well where he came up against the eventual winner Ciaran O’Donoghue in the 3rd/4th play off he played well to secure a third place finish.
Sean Onovo from Bantry played in his first Munster Rankings at U11 and was able to reach the second round but no further, this was a good start for a new player but unfortunately he had to spend so much time waiting around as he had to travel up with us early in the morning and wait to the very end to finish.
Once again Suki had to take part in the boys U11 with only one opponent in the girls’ event. She had a tough enough group but played some of her best table tennis taking Dylan Adler to deuce in a tight match, She eventually went into the plate event where she won a number of good matches to reach the final and finish runner up. She went onto win the U11 Girls event beating Isabelle in another closely contested match.
Erik was back on the table for the U15 Boys event (even before his 3rd/4th play off in the U13s against Jake) and moved through the groups once again. He played one of his best matches against Conor O’Callaghan in the ¼ finals with some excellent tactical play against the very awkward and skilful Irish Paralympian. The semi finals saw him match up against eventual winner Ciaran O’Donoghue and against Isaac Leahy in the 3rd/4th playoff.
Jasmine again played well in the higher U15 Girls age group with some very tough competition she held her own well against the others and finished out well in the 6th place overall.
The drive back on Saturday night was problematic but the drive back on Sunday was even harder with Bandon closed off. However we arrived eventually. The entry for the U18 events seems to shrink every time and with only two groups in the girls there are no easy matches. Mair beat Nora in the opening exchange and lost to Kerry in the second which gave her a match up against Sophia in the semi finals. Mair played very well dominating the exchanges and found herself once again at the other end of the table from Kerry. Suffering slightly from a pain in her neck she found the opening sets difficult and it was due to her persistence and tenacity that she fought her way back to level the scores 2/2. The match swung both ways but it was Kerry who claimed her third straight U18 girls Title and the end of the battle.
James had little trouble moving through the group and found himself up against Conor O’Callaghan in the Final after Conor eliminated James Barry. James lost the first set with Conor displaying great control. However this stirred James into action and he went on to win the next three sets in impressive style and take his third U18 title this season. Conor Leahy was the surprise third place winner as he beat Niall O’Driscoll in the ¼ finals and James Barry in the 3rd/4th play offs. Niall played well in the 5/8 play offs finishing 6th overall.
The Senior event was bolstered with some new additions this season and it was James who fell victim to one of these as Kevin O’Keefe moved into the Semi final Stages. Mair was delighted to take her place in the second round after beating evergreen Dan Foley in the group stages. She eventually lost to another new addition as Matthew Hayes showed his form only losing out in the final to Alan Walsh 12/10 in the 5th and collected his second title of the season.
Niall O’Driscoll played in the Band 2 Senior event and won it in some style after coming back from 9/4 down in the fifth set to beat Gary. This was a good win for the Crookhaven youngster and a fine way to finish off 2015.
All in all a good weekend for the West Cork Crew who will have a break from competition over the Christmas period with the Munster Open the next ranking on the agenda.