BUTTERFLY Irish National Senior Championships top priority
04/03/2010 – With only days to go to the 2010 BUTTERFLY National Senior Championships to be held on Saturday 6th March in DCU Sports Centre, Dublin, this year’s event will see some intriguing battles between Ireland’s top players. This i
04/03/2010 – With only days to go to the 2010 BUTTERFLY National Senior Championships to be held on Saturday 6th March in DCU Sports Centre, Dublin, this year’s event will see some intriguing battles between Ireland’s top players. This is the most prestigious event in the Irish domestic calendar and this year in particular it is impossible to distinguish a clear favourite given the wealth of talented players competing for the titles. ITTA Technical Director John O’DONOGHUE believes that “the Butterfly National Senior Championships are the most important tournament of the season. Ranking lists are temporary but a National title is something no one can take away from you.”
Men’s Event: Following a thrilling finale to the 2009 National Men’s Final, where Gavin MAGUIRE produced an astonishing comeback to defeat John MURPHY in a thrilling 5 setter to break MURPHY’S domination of the title over the previous 2 years, the 2010 battle for supremacy and title of National Champion looks set to be another very open one. 2010 has been the year of the Junior, with some impressive performances by some of Ireland’s elite Juniors reflected in the seeding for this event, with 3 Juniors represented in the top 8 seeds. Leading the charge is Ulster’s Paul MCCREERY who has been on fire of late. Fresh from a triumphant victory at the Cardiff Open and some impressive tournament wins at the Munster Open and the Fermanagh Open, he is deserving of his status as top seed. Many fans will look to John MURPHY as the leading contender – he is sure to be highly motivated to recapture his crown and has also been in form this year with wins at both the Ulster Open and the Leinster Grand Prix. This year’s title could genuinely go anywhere, with Daryl STRONG and Conor NOLAN also in strong contention. Both are capable of beating the country’s best on their day.
Youngsters Sam LOGUE and Ashley ROBINSON will look at Gavin MAGUIRE’S performance last year and may fancy their chances of producing a repeat performance, while MAGUIRE himself will seek to recapture the sparkling play he showed in 2009 when it matters most – there is no reason why the Eastpoint player can not rise to the occasion and retain this most coveted title. There are some dark horses lurking outside the top seeds, Peter GRAHAM will look to return from France to triumph and Keith KNOX returning from injury – both are easily capable of making progress through the rounds.
ITTA Technical Director John O’DONOGHUE has been thrilled by the form of Ireland’s Juniors this year, with victory at Junior British League evidence of the progress of this cadre of players. He sounds a note of caution to those who see this year’s title going to one of this exciting Junior squad:
“There is no doubt the Juniors have been in top form and I am eagerly awaiting the Butterfly 2010 National Seniors to see how these youngsters cope with the pressures of this unique competition. Being at the top end of the rankings is no guarantee of victory, maturity under serious pressure will be a key factor in deciding who will emerge as this year’s Champion”
While the safe money may be on the top seeds the value bet is surely on the emerging young talent which could well spring a surprise on Saturday.
Women’s Event: With 2010 National Champion NA Liu not entered into this year’s event, the rest of the draw will breathe a sigh of relief. Liu was utterly dominant in 2009 and would have been hot favourite to retain her title. In her absence, the title could well return to Ulster in what could be a very interesting tournament. Ulster dominate the top seedings, with Amanda MOGEY topping the ranking list, fresh from her Fermanagh Open victory and exciting performance at the Cardiff Open, where she defeated Welsh international Naomi OWEN in what many will see as landmark victory for this always developing prospect. She will be challenged by Ulster team-mate Ashley GIVAN – unfortunately Claire NELSON has been ruled out through injury. Leinster’s Sara DOLAN and Rebecca KENNY are also expected to be in contention. Sarah TIMLIN has also progressed under the tutelage of National coach Arthur Brett and will look to cause a shock or two.
The BUTTERFLY National Senior Closed Championships will take place in DCU Sports Centre in Glasnevin, Dublin on the 6th of March, beginning at 9am. Singles Finals are scheduled for 4pm.
(by Kenneth STRONG, coirtesy of ITTA)
Photo: Gavin MAGUIRE (courtesy of ITTA)