The Fermanagh Junior Open tournament was held in the Lakeland Forum on Saturday and this year saw a record entry with over 120 young people from the four provinces of Ireland competing for the titles of U10, U12, U14 and U17 Champion in both boys and girls events. All matches were hotly contested through group and knockout stages with feelings of jubilation and disappointment experienced in the hall throughout the day.
The U10 contest gave children who have recently started to play table tennis their first taste of a tournament atmosphere and the audience was not disappointed with their standard of play. The U10 Girls’ final was between Ashley Givan from Clogher TT Club and Laura Dunworth (Belfast) Ashley displayed some excellent table tennis in the final to take her first major title.
Kieran Reilly from Cavan and Andrew Nicholl from Belfast competed for the U10 Boys’ title with Kieran securing it for the Castlerahan TT club. Both finalists in the Girls’ U12 competition were from Connacht, Sarah Timlin and Brid McAndrew, with Sarah winning.
In the U12 Boys’ section there was a lot of local interest with the top three places at present in the U12 Ulster rankings being held by Ashley Robinson (Clogher), Andrew Nevin (Kesh) and Stephen Slater (Lisbellaw). These boys had stiff opposition in this tournament but Ashley and Andrew reached the final. Andrew successfully secured the U12 title after a nail biting match, with Stephen picking up third spot.
The U14 and U17 Girls’ competitions produced some thrilling table tennis with a quarter final match between Ashley McBride and Emma Wilson captivating the entire audience as the girls battled in the fifth set to 21-19 with Emma winning. Claire Nelson from Belfast secured both titles after beating Sarah Timlin (Connacht) in the U14 final and Danielle Douglas (Belfast) in the U17’s.
The U14 and U17 Boys’ competitions are always hotly contested but two Belfast lads, Paul McCreery and David Budden, were just too strong for the opposition and reached the final of both sections. The audience witnessed a high standard of table tennis with Paul securing both titles in two hard fought matches.
Many junior members of the Fermanagh league took part on Saturday and displayed a high standard of table tennis throughout the competition and were well placed in their respective events: –
Trevor Knox (Kilskeery) =5th U10 Boys
Ivan Mayne (Belturbet) =9th U12 Boys
Mark Wilson (Letterbreen) =9th U14 Boys
Judith Atwell (Clogher) 3rd U14 Girls
Roslyn Blackburn (Clogher) =9th U14 Girls
Ruth Trimble (Clogher) =9th U14 Girls
Thomas Mayne (Belturbet) =5th U17 Boys
Michael Bryant (Letterbreen) = 5th U17 Boys
Adam Slater (Lisbellaw) =9th U17 Boys
Catherine Trimble (Clogher) =5th U17 Girls
Judith Atwell (Clogher) =5th U17 Girls
The tournament co-ordinator, Deirdre Slater, would like to thank all the committee and league members who helped in any way before and during the tournament , and especially Isobel Lappin for collating the entries and preparing the draw. Thanks also to Ulster Bank Limited for their generous sponsorship of this event.
Patrica Coyle Retail Manager of Enniskillen Branch, Presenting Dessie Elton (FTTA) with sponsorship for the Fermanagh Junior Open. Also pictured is David Wilson Western Regional Development Officer for the sport.