Date: 13th – 15th September
The first event of the Senior National squash tour took place in The Curragh Squash Club from the 13th to the 15th of September. There were over 100 players entered including most of the top players and in this superb venue it was a huge success. There was 6 men’s sections and 1 women’s. Naas Squash Club also had to be used on Friday and Saturday to cater for this massive entry.
Neil Brannigan and the committee in the Curragh can rightly be proud of the superb work they have put in over the last few months resulting in one of the best squash venues in the country. Four completely renovated courts with 3 new floors, it was a fitting venue for the first national tour event of the year.
The squash didn’t disappointeither with the emergence of Ireland’s top juniors into the senior ranks. The Men’s A final was significant in that it featured 2 of Ireland’s rising stars, Sean Conroy from Dublin and Michael Craig from Belfast. Michael had beaten his fellow Ulsterman Steve Richardson in the semi final the previous night 3-2. Steve has been one of Ireland’s top players for over 15 years so this ‘changing of the guard’ is significant. Sean had a superb semi final win over another up and coming top junior and last season’s No. 1 U17 player in Europe, David Ryan from Sutton, in a tight 3-2 match.
The final didn’t disappoint either with Michael prevailing 3-1 in a very hard fought win, 11-2, 7-11, 11-2, 11-8. The scoreline might suggest that it was an easy win but it was a superb match with some sintalating rallies.
The women’s final also saw the emergence of another top junior player, 16 yrs Griffin Gillanders from Fitzwilliam LTC in Dublin. She met Ciara Moloney from Carlow and even though she went 2-0 down quickly and it looked like the more experienced Moloney, a member of Ireland’s Silver medal winning team from this year’s European Senior Championships, would win the match easily in 3 sets. However Gillanders, came back superbly to win the next 3 sets, 11-7, 14-12, 15-13. So as the score suggests Griffin stedilly got into her rhythm and was hitting very clean drives to prevail 3-2, to win her first senior title.
So with these finals we see the emergence of Ireland’s next generation of talent which hearlds great hope for Ireland’s senior team in the next few years.
In the C and D finals there was also top juniors in the finals – Nikita Gilevisky from Westwood, Dublin and Philip McSweeney from Highfield, Cork fought out a great match which went to 4 sets. In the D final 13yrs Conor Moran from Sutton beat the ‘older’ R. Fay convincingly in 3. Conor is no.8 ranked U13 boy in Europe and is sure to go even higher. He is definitely a player for the future.
The next National tour event is the Munster Open from Cork on October 4th-6th.
Mens A- M. Craig bt S. Conroy 11-2, 7-11, 11-2, 11-8
Men’s C – N. Gilevisky bt P. McSweeney 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3
Mens D – C. Moran bt R. Fay 11-3, 11-7, 11-3
Mens E – K. Maloney bt J. Davies – 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9
Mens F – M. O’Hanlon bt JP Luther – 12-10, 6-11, 11-7, 11-0
Womens ‘A’ – G. Gillanders bt C. Moloney 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 14-12, 15-13