In both the Munster U11 and U15 Opens staged last weekend at the University of Limerick Alpha players were certainly not overawed by their opponents and can be more than satisfied with their performances with Joshua Tang bringing home a silver medal in the U15 Boy’s Singles despite being unseeded while in the U11 competition Conor Blakeman also won silver.
Conor’s performance was particularly noteworthy having progressed through to the final with victories over Lochlann O’Rourke and Eoin Evans, while his Alpha team-mate Kaden Tang only lost 21-15 in the deciding set of his quarter-final to Luke Marks, who went on to capture the title 26-24 21-15.
The U11 Boy’s Doubles saw Kaden partner O’Rourke and winning two matches in the group only to taste defeat in the crucial clash against Eoin Evans and Luke Marks 21-18 which was to decide the outcome of the gold and silver medals.
In the U11 Mixed Doubles Kaden Tang teamed up with Whitewell Road Junior Club’s Hannah Shochan and they were to see off Luke Marks/Essie Hickey 21-19 21-14 in the
quarter-final and ended the hopes of Ben Rooney/Ananya Gopinath 22-20 21-14 for a place in the final, losing 21-15 21-18 to O’Rourke and Pender.
Alpha’s Blakeman can be well satisfied with his performance partnering Oisin O’Sullivan as they came out on top in one match 21-18 and narrowly losing 21-19 in another.
There was disappointment for Ballyclare’s Rory Comer, seeded No1, in the U15 Boy’s Singles after knocking out Alpha’s Ross Glover 21-17 18-21 21-9 and he was taken to three sets by Chris Chee, after the Alpha youngster snatched the opening set 23-21, before losing 21-14 21-17.
Carrig Muldoon turned in a good performance against Karl Mcloughlin who went on to capture the U15 Boy’s Singles title while Joshua Tang had to pull out all the stops to ease his way through the field, beating the No5/8 seed Jack Hickey 21-12 21-19, Gerard Ryan 21-19 21-19 and the No3/4 seed Eoghan Cooney 21-18 21-11 to reach the semi-final.
Senan O’Rourke, the No2 seed, was his opponent blocking his way to the final but whilst the pair have only met on one previous occasion, when O’Rourke came out on top in last year’s
Ulster U15 Open winning 21-17 21-7 Tang was also keen to improve the respective rankings between the two player, Tang at 14 while his semi-final opponent is No3.
It was Tang who was to come out on top despite dropping the opening set 21-19 to book his place in the final, winning the next two 21-16 21-16 only to come up short in the final to Mcloughlin 21-10 21-8.
Meanwhiole in the Girls Singles Paige Woods was seeded No3/4 and had to be at her best to see off Rachel O’Flynn 21-15 21-17 for a place in the quarter-final and after comfortably taking the opening set 21-14 off Orlaith Evans, saw the Naas Junior snatch the second 21-17 but secured her place in the last four 21-10.
Roisin McKenna was to give the No2 seed Michelle Shochan quite a fright in the bottom half of the draw and having earlier battled through against Chloe Mcgrane 21-17 22-20, will surely be rueing the opportunity to claim the scalp of the Whitewell Road Junior player, losing 21-18 21-19.
Roisin though was to have another opportunity to gain revenge for her exit to Miss Shochan when they faced each other in the semi-final of the U15 Girl’s Doubles with Roisin partnering Sibhe Collins - they were No2 seeds - while Michelle was to partner Chloe Mcgrane.
Roisin and Sibhe were to secure a 21-12 21-19 victory but could not wrestle the title away from the No1 seeds Paige Woods and Siofra Flynn with the score 21-10 21-10.
Roisin McKenna and Rory Comer were the top seeds in the Mixed Doubles and due to face Paige Woods and Patrick O’Sullivan in the semi-final though the latter pair were taken to 17-21 23-21 21-14 in their quarter-final but Comer and McKenna were to suffer a 21-13 21-13 defeat to the No2 seeds Eoghan Cooney and Siofra Flynn.