15th – 21st Decmeber
IRELAND bt JAMACIA 3-0
It’s 17th for Ireland with a 3-0 win over Jamaica
Sean Conroy beats Lewis Walters
3-2: 12-10, 5-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 (54m)
Oisin Logan beats Tahjia Lumley
3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)
Arthur Gaskin bt Bruce Burrowes 11-3, 11-6 (22m)
WTC 2019 day 6&7
Another evening tie, we faced South Africa, a team of experienced, tough squash players. Sean played JP Brits, known for his physical toughness and coming from altitude has a big pair of lungs on him.. Sean, as he had done all week, started brilliantly. His work up and down the backhand wall was immaculate and he was looking confident. Three games in and it looked like the South African was starting to take charge, forcing a 5th and Sean feeling the pain. He managed to find control and poise in the early stage of the 5th, super impressive resilience and his years on the tour starting to come to fruition. Sean got to 5-1 and kept the lead to the end, a massive win for the team.
Arthur was up next to try and convert the win for the team. A bit of a rocky start, even at his 8th world championships, nerves still crept in.. He steadied the ship, squeezed the first 14-12 and then went on to totally dominate. Winning the 3rd game 11-0.
Oisin played out the dead rubber, winning the match 11-6, 11-4. He would have loved a tougher run out, he’d have his chance on the final day when the playing order has him first on.
The team were joined for a late dinner by Aisling Blake who was in Washington working with SquashTV, always nice to catch up with Irish squash players from around the world.
Our final day. 11am kick off. Playing Jamaica. Oisin, Sean, Arthur..
Oisin has been in great form all week, the whole team have really. This was one of his main tests, winning this tie would mean that our finishing position will be higher than our seed. So a bit of pressure..
He got off to a flyer, the ball was hopping very high and rocketing around the court. He was definitely controlling the situation better than his opponent, from start to finish. He got the job done in 3, a very professional performance and a great showing at his first world championships, many more to come I’ve no doubt.
Sean had another battle, his 3rd five setter in three days. Similar to yesterday, he entered the fifth in a pretty fatigued state. Lewis Walters, his opponent, was looking slightly brighter and Sean really had to dig deep to close this one out. An amazing performance in which he emptied his tank and showed real mental toughness, a great way to finish the event for Sean!!
Arthur dominated the dead rubber, a quick 2-0, far too strong. A great event for Arthur!
The team finished 17th, our highest finish in over a decade. Performances were top drawer, team spirt was the best I’ve witnessed, a throughly enjoyable week that ended in the club owners bar in Georgetown, Washington.
The lads will head home for Christmas with their heads held high, bodies fairly battered, but certainly proud.
IRELAND bt SOUTH AFRICA 2-0
Sean Conroy (IRL) bt Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA) 3-2: 11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 3-11, 11-4 (54m) Arthur Gaskin (IRL) bt Christo Potgieter (RSA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-0 (30m)
Ireland 0-3 Kuwait
Arthur Gaskin 0-3 Abdullah Al Mezayen 2-11, 7-11, 10-12 (30m)
Sean Conroy 2-3 Ammar Altamimi 11-7, 7-11, 3-11, 11-5, 4-11 (47m)
Oisin Logan 0-2 Ali Alramesi 4-11, 5-11 (20m)
WTC 2019 day 4&5
Day four for us was a rest day, a busy day but no match to play due to the format being used here in Washington. It allowed the team a bit more of a lie in and a relaxed 9.30 breakfast. Took the opportunity to get some much needed laundry done before our practice, much to the delight of the hotel cleaning staff no doubt- they must hate squash players hotel rooms..
An hour long practice which went very well, sharping up the necessary areas and loosening out the body. A physio session for all the players followed by some lunch and relaxed afternoon.
As a team we went to watch the Washington Wizards taking on the Chicago Bulls, in the nose bleed seats. Struck gold on a very exciting finish to the game, 0.5 seconds to go and the bulls managed to complete a massive come back and force extra time. Unfortunately defeating the home team in the end but a great experience for us..
Day 5 was our most serious day, had our sights set on taking out Kuwait but had to wait for our first evening session of the event.
We had our practice, stretched out and relaxed before lunch. Kick off for us was 1830, this was a match that would test us mentally more than physically- a talented group of players that are often underestimated.
Arthur played first, no.2 string match. It’s very hard to justify how the Kuwait player, Abdulla Al Muzayne, was playing down the pecking order.. he is out of this world skill wise. Arthur played near perfect squash, length was immaculate, volleyed well, varied the pace, attacked with venom – nothing phased the Kuwait player. He was ridiculously good. Some have compared his skill and perception to the likes of Shabana, I’ve rarely seen the likes. A monster effort from Arthur in the 3rd saw him almost sneak it, game ball opportunity, which if converted would have tested Al Muzayne physically, but it wasn’t to be be. We went 1-0 down in the tie.
Sean played a tough opponent also, but was looking totally dominant in the opening game and a half. He was on fire. As the match progressed Sean still played very well but couldn’t keep the steady relentless pressure going consistently, and with that a few points in a row would escape him. The match ebbed and flowed to the 5th, a big decider that Sean had the momentum in. Similar to other games, Kuwait went on a run of points and nipped it, denying Ireland the victory.
Bitterly disappointing, it was close! Oisin would have loved a good test with a potential decider but it wasn’t to be. He did play the dead rubber match, to get a run, but it was of no importance.
We now face South Africa, another tough test. Every tie is tough at a world champs, that’s a given, and we cannot wait to get stuck in again.
A 1830 kickoff. Team spirit is still high, we’ve all played to our potential this week, cannot deny any performance or effort, we’re looking for a good win tonight!!!
Streaming in the usual places, let’s get behind our team.
Pool E  Scotland 3-0  Ireland C8
Greg Lobban 3-0 Sean Conroy 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (31m)
Rory Stewart 3-1 Steve Richardson 11-8, 11-4, 8-11, 11-2 (41m)
Alan Clyne 3-0 Oison Logan 11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (36m)
World Team Championships 2019 Day 2&3:
Monday we took on Singapore in a must win match in our group. Winners would progress to a playoff 12-18. So pressure was on and there was a slight bit of tension. As a team with a good amount of experience we backed ourselves and went into each match very confident. Oisin played very consistent squash, held a high T position and forced errors from his opponent with a high pace and high work rate. The Singapore player was dangerous if he had time, so Oisin was keen to keep the pedal firmly to the floor. Each game getting easier as the match progressed, a clinical 3-0 win.
Arthur was similar, vastly experienced so if when the going did get tough in the second game, at 10-7 down, he knew to shut up shop, gave away very little opportunity of attack and pegged back the lead, taking the game 15-13. Presses hard in the third and closed out his opponent, handing us the tie.
With little pressure to win, Sean was free to express himself, and he did so with style. Some beautiful squash, hitting his straight lines with real aggression and poise. A classy performance and another win.
3-0 Ireland and happy players all around.
After our match, Andre Maur had arranged a visit to the Irish Embassy. Certainly a great experience, they laid out a beautiful spread for us and made us feel very welcome. We discussed our sport at length with many of the staff there, got a nice tour of the building and some well wishes from all there. A nice memory for us as a team, nice for them to us too of course.
Tuesdays task was a slightly more difficult affair. We played the Scots, Europe’s 3rd best team in 2019 and they were fresh from a big victory over the kiwis. With the later stages in mind, our team was Sean Conroy, Oisin Logan and uncle Steve. Arthur taking a rest today. This meant all players played twice in our group stages except Oisin played all three matches. For an athlete of his caliber it’s not an issue, it’s also allowed him play some top 30 players and feed that enthusiasms trains with.
We kicked off with Sean, on a high, taking on Greg Lobban. Above 80% of the points were played a such a high level, you wouldn’t know who was winning. Sean played seriously nice squash, deft touch and very creative. Greg was just better at the basics and could finish points without having to be spectacular, possibly the reason he is so highly ranked on the PSA world tour. He ran away with a 3-0 lead, Sean put in a good shift and will look to build on it as the event progresses.
Uncle Steve was amazing today, as usual really. He was crunching his length, applying massive pressure to a very capable professional player over half his age. Most spectators talking about how inspirational he is. He pressed throughout the match, amazingly taking the third game much to Rory’s dismay.. The Scot did prevail 3-1 but knew he had a good battle.
Oisin played Alan Clyne, a physically impressive player, extremely hard to break down! Each game was a battle, each point was a battle. Oisin loves a fight and gave as good as he got throughout, just didn’t have the experience that comes with years of competing on the pro tour. Gave a great account of himself, the 23 year old Irishman will have a lot to give in the coming years if he continues the way he’s going.
Tonight we await our draw, to see who we’ll play going forward. Some big name teams lie ahead, we’ll be looking to get stuck in and cause an upset in the coming days.
Pool D  Ireland 3-0  Singapore C6
Oisin Logan 3-0 Chua Man Tong 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (25m)
Arthur Gaskin 3-0 Chua Man Chin 11-2, 15-13, 11-4 (34m)
Sean Conroy 3-0 Samuel Kang 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4 (39m)
World Men’s Championships 2019 Day 1
First day of play here in Washington, high energy in the club, plenty of spectators and all teams keen to get off to a good start.
We started our day with a good warm up on our assigned court before breakfast. The court is a non-transparent glass court, basically a tradition court lined with glass, giving it the feel of a full glass court. A nice idea for extra brightness and it looks great. Warm up was essential to get used to the white ball and general different feel..
A solid breakfast back at the hotel, we were ready for the courts again with New Zealand waiting for us.
We rested Sean today, lined out with Arthur at 1, then Oisin and Steve. The Kiwis had Paul Coll, world no.5 and world championship finalist. Campbell Grayson, world no.25 and Evan Williams, a solid professional- not a bad line up.
Oisin was up first, having spent 4 years in university here in D.C., he’s almost a local. He got off to a flyer against Campbell. Looking very sharp, got himself in the lead at 6-5. Managed to go toe to toe up to the end of the game, losing a close 11-9.
Not a great start to the second, falling behind early on but showed his fighting spirit to get back into it and ran Campbell close again!
A good battle in the third, the kiwi kept his nose in front to close out the match but certainly a performance to be proud of for Oisin!!
Arthur had the mammoth task of taking on Paul Coll, arguably one of the fittest and fastest players to ever play our game. A long opening three points, opened up the Irishman’s lungs and allowed him to settle into the frantic pace. He loosened up and was able to play great squash. Long hard rallies were traded throughout the first, Gaskin losing 11-7.
Feeling confident in the 2nd, Paul got off to a flyer, 6-0. To Arthur’s credit he fought the whole way, getting it as close as 11-7 again. Impressive squash to say the least.
The third was 11-6, but much like Oisin, an opening performance that we can be very proud of!
Steve was up against An inform Evan Williams. The finer points of the game were all that made the difference here, Evan had more pace to punish anything loose, but as ever, Steve was tough as nails and made life difficult for the professional. Grinded the whole way, as expected from the warrior he is, a close three games again.
3-0 New Zealand in the tie, but a nice warm up for us!
Plenty more matches for us to enjoy at the club for the remainder of the day, great atmosphere to savour and prepare for our important clash with Singapore tomorrow at the same time.
All streamed, so get behind us if you can..
Pool D  New Zealand 3-0  Ireland
Campbell Grayson 3-0 Oisin Logan 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (32m)
Paul Coll 3-0 Arthur Gaskin 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (33m)
Evan Williams 3-0 Steve Richardson 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (33m)
All of the Irish team have arrived safely to Washington DC for the 2019 world championships. Sean Conroy, Arthur Gaskin, Oisin Logan and Steve Richardson.
The atmosphere is one of great excitement, having the worlds best compete for their country in a beautiful, compact venue is a dream. For practice today we had the world no.1 and no.3 on the court next to us! With some big, passionate matches being played out in close proximity to each other over the coming days, it’s sure to be a treat for all involved.
The venue is ‘Squash on Fire’ and is located in downtown DC, above a fire station. It’s a really impressive, pure squash venue. The team hotel is very close too, making life extremely easy for us all to be comfortable and give us the chance to preform at our optimum.
All matches will be streamed through Facebook live, for the next three days our Irish team will be on at 12pm local time. That’s 5pm Irish time. On Sunday we play New Zealand, a team featuring world no.5, Paul Coll. Potential for a pre match Haka here too I’m imagining, this tie will be on the glass court no.8, unfortunately not the main glass court. Well worth tuning in for!!
The main glass court matches can be viewed on Eurosport player and SquashTV. Do tune in and support.
This evening we go to the French embassy for the opening ceremony and dinner, settle some nerves and then we commence battle tomorrow at noon.
Our group stages see us face NZ on Sunday, Singapore on Monday and Scotland on Tuesday. As a team we cannot wait to get started, the lads are brimming with passion and enthusiasm, it’s a magical atmosphere here in D.C. for this huge event, this exciting time of the year – wish us luck!