What an astonishing win for the Ulster team! I had reported already yesterday on the ongoings at the Interprovincials in Galway, and had mentioned that Ulster were in a tight tussle with tournament favourites Connaught. Connaught had taken the lead with Niall Rooney and Ross Lillis making up for Ronan Tully’s close loss at position five. When I returned to the club Darren Warring (Ulster) had beaten Connor O’Shea in a contentious 3:1, and David Ayerst overcame Keith Moran by the same score, giving the tie to Ulster 3:2. Niall Rooney (Connaught) commented that before the match everyone knew these were going to be tight matches, but it was somewhat unexpected that all three of them would swing in Ulster’s favour. But they did and it would set the foundation for Ulster’s tournament victory.
Yet there were more matches to be played: Connaught faced Munster in a bid to keep pressure up on Ulster. Connaught beat the Munstermen handily, and Ulster would require a win over Leinster. Things didn’t begin well for Ulster with Adrian Leeson, who had scored a great victory over Tully earlier, had to pull out injured. Alan Megaw moved up from the B-Team and scored a solid 3:1 win over Pat Morrissey. It was Neil vs. Neal in match two, with Ulster’s Pollock overcoming Leinster’s Brannigan 3:0 – Brannigan being somewhat outraged by having a foot-fault called against him by his teammate Paul Byrne! At position one it was Connor O’Hare playing Dan Zilic (that’s me), and I lost to Connor 2:3 (how nice of me), succumbing 2:3 in an entertaining match! The last two matches were therewith meaningless, but saw an interesting encounter between Paul Byrne and Darren Warring (Warring won 3:1 after losing the first 2:11), and youngster Oisin Logan scoring a famous victory over David Ayerst. Ayerst might have been feeling the effects of two previous hard matches, but Logan put in the best performance of the weekend against the notoriously tricky Ayerst, frustrating the Ulsterman with incredible pick-ups and immaculate width and length; 3:2 to Logan.
In the B-section Munster took home the spoils, with a somewhat impressive team performance. Strength in depth, and a Knox brother playing at number one saw them win all their matches, leaving Leinster in second position. The two teams had faced each other earlier in a tight encounter – Phil Coleman had brought the score back to 1:2 for Leinster with an impressive win over David Knox, but Dave Borton, Irish international under 50, lost an epic five setter against Munster’s number three. The last rally of the match was particularly impressive with both players diving for the ball, unfortunately Borton doing so in vain.
The day finished with the presentations and words of thanks for the organiser Peter Murphy, the province captains, and of course the players. Thanks also goes to the Leinster, Ulster, Munster and Connaught Squash, without whose funding the event surely wouldn’t take place, and the players who did their provinces proud with some spirited performances. Dan Zilic