Alpha’s Tony Murphy still has a lot to achieve
Alpha’s Tony Murphy was a member of Northern Ireland’s most successful Commonwealth Games squad since 1986.
With reaching the last sixteen in both the mens singles – beaten by Scotland’s Kieran Merriless 21/15 21/8 – and the mens doubles partnering Tony Stephenson - losing to English pair Chris Adcock and Andrew Ellis - he may have considered this as the pinnacle of his badminton career.
But no longer part of the High Performance Squad, Tony is even more determined to show he still has a lot to offer and achieve in Ulster and Irish Badminton.
At the recent Autumn Open Tony missed out on a place in the quarter-finals of the singles losing to Juan Manuel Fernandes Quiles but was nevertheless runner-up with Stuart Lightbody in the mens doubles – losing only 21/19 in the third – and also partnered Jennie King in the mixed doubles final.
Last weekend in the Connacht Open he was seeded outside the top four in the singles but went on to knock out Eddie Cousins 21/19 21/16 to book a semi-final place against Jonathan Dolan who little more than a year ago was the hottest property in Irish Badminton and who was being touted for a very successful future in the game.
Alpha’s Murphy had his chances of causing an upset in the opening set but failed to press home any opportunities and lost a close opening set 21/17.
Nevertheless he was intent on not making the same mistakes in the second and romped home to level, taking the second 21/16 and was always in contention to book a place in the final right up to the final few points with Dolan relieved to come through 21/19 in a game lasting forty minutes on court.
Dolan was to lose to Juan Manuel Fernandez Quiles in three sets in the final, with the champion having knocked out Alpha’s Norman Lau 21/14 21/13 in Round 2.
With Ciaran and Sinead Chambers having won the Autumn Open mixed title with a straight sets victory over Tony Murphy and Jennie King, the latter were all the more intent on gaining revenge.
The first set had virtually nothing between the pairs. The Chambers pair edged the first set 21/19 and the second followed a similar tight nip and tuck clash but Murphy and King were just unable to clinch the second 22/20.
Murphy had teamed up with Daniel Magee and they were seeded No1 in the mens doubles but with Ciaran Chambers and Adam Jermyn at No2, the top two seeds were to fall at the semi-final hurdle and both in straight sets but it was No3 seeds Mark Cobbe and Eddie Cousins who were to lift the title beating Nhat Nguyen and alpha’s Norman Lau 21/8 16/21 21/17.
The doubles title was to go to Sinead Chambers and Jennie King, who were 21/11 21/12 victors over Laura Hennessey and Gemma Tobin.