||Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02
‘Continued Success for Castlebar Tennis Club Juniors’
Name/ Category National Ranking
U10 Boys –
Liam Martin No. 7
Rossa Glancy No. 12
U12 Girls –
Sinead O’ Donohue No. 16
U12 Boys –
Justin Glancy No. 2
Mark Towey No. 11
Andrew Butler No. 14
U14 Girls –
Niamh Burke No. 3
Laura Cuddy No. 7
U14 Boys –
Conor McHale No. 2
Daniel Glancy No. 4
Michael Cuddy No. 6
Justin Glancy No. 15
U16 Boys -
Warren Atkins No. 5
U18 Girls –
Aisling Sage No. 8
The 1st National Matchplays of the tennis calendar were held in Cork and Dublin on the Weekend of the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of December. In this event the best players from each province compete for a National Ranking in one of 3 different categories, 14 and Under, 16 and Under, & 18 and Under, boys and girls.
U14 is Connacht’s strongest event and therefore 4 Girls and 4 Boys from the province were eligible to play. There are a total of 16 players in each event. Of the 4 girls competing, Castlebar had one representative, Laura Cuddy.
Laura started her quest with a difficult match against Leinster’s Lisa Lawlor. These two girls had many close battles playing in the U12 category a year previous, so this promised to be a close one. Lisa started out the match the better and took the first set 6 – 4. She then raced to a 4 – 2 lead in the second set and had chances to go 5 – 2 ahead. Laura was having no more of this, she took the game to Lisa and started to dominate, hauling back her deficit and eventually winning the second set by 7 – 5. Laura was visibly the stronger of the two girls in the third set and raced to a comfortable 6 – 1 victory. In coming back from a set and 4 games to 2 deficit, Laura showed her amazing fighting quality and will to win. She can be proud of this win and of the way she performed for the rest of the weekend. Laura’s remaining results are as follows:
Rnd 2 – Lost Niamh Coveney (Munster), 6 – 3, 6 - 3
Rnd 3 – Lost Kelly O’ Flynn (Leinster), 6 – 2, 6 - 3
Rnd 4 – Beat Ailish Bogue (Ulster), 6 – 3, 6 – 2
National Ranking – No. 7
Conor McHale, Daniel Glancy, Michael Cuddy, Justin Glancy
In the Boys event, all 4 Connacht representatives were from Castlebar. They were Conor McHale, Daniel Glancy, Michael Cuddy and Justin Glancy. In fact Castlebar tennis club hold the top five positions in the U14 Connacht Boys Rankings, including Damien Conway at No. 5.
Conor McHale who had started the year as the second ranked player in the country was our biggest hope for a Top 8 finish. We also had high hopes for our other three representatives. What was to materialize was far beyond our expectations.
Michael Cuddy started out as Connacht’s No. 3 player, which effectively meant he would draw a tough first round opponent in Munster No. 2 Barry Flynn. Playing his usual intelligent tennis, Michael dispatched Flynn with some ease, 6 – 2, 6 – 3. This was the key match for Michael and means he will gain an all-important Top 8 position in the next National Matchplays. Michael’s remaining results are as follows:
Rnd 2 – Lost Conor O’ Kane (Ulster),
Rnd 3 – Beat David Doyle (Leinster),
Rnd 4 – Lost Simon Wrafter (Leinster),
National Ranking – No. 6
Daniel Glancy, like Michael started the event on the verge of the Top 8 and therefore would also draw a tough first round opponent. Waiting for him was Leinster’s No. 4 player, Alex Hamilton. This was potentially a tricky match for Daniel but he took care of his opponent very convincingly, 6 – 2, 6 – 3. In his next round Daniel would play a very experienced opponent in Graham King, the No. 2 from Leinster. This match ended up being a marathon lasting nearly 3 hours. Both players had their chances in the first set, but Daniel came out on top 6 – 4. King upped his game for the second set and won it by 6 games to 2. Daniel looked to be holding something in reserve for the third set and this proved to be so when he changed gear and won a tight third set by 6 – 4. This was a great victory for Daniel and he showed Great Spirit to regain his composure and clinch the vital third set. Daniel’s remaining results are as follows:
Rnd 3 – Lost Paul Foley (Leinster), 4 – 6, 3 – 6
Rnd 4 – Lost Conor O’ Kane, (Ulster), 2 – 6, 3 – 6
National Ranking – No. 4
Conor McHale cruised through his first two matches as expected. His third match was to be a totally different story. Conor O’ Kane from Ulster was the opposition, who had already accounted for Michael Cuddy. Both players came out all guns blazing with O’ Kane getting the better of the early exchanges. He raced to a 3 – 1 lead with some blistering shots off both wings. McHale wasn’t to be outdone and quickly drew level playing some equally impressive groundstrokes. McHale won the first set 6 games to 4, clinching the 10th game with a wonderful forehand passing shot. A mixture of a lapse in concentration from McHale and O’ Kane’s ability to maintain his outstanding form saw O’ Kane lead the 2nd set 4 – 1. In a display of flawless tennis, McHale reeled off the next 5 games with a renewed aggression and took the match 6 – 4, 6 – 4.
This set up a mouthwatering final with the No. 1 seed Paul Foley from Leinster. The final was by no means one sided, Conor having plenty of chances in the first set, but Foley’s greater focus on the big points gave him the set 6 – 4. The second set took a similar pattern with Foley again coming out on top by 6 – 3. Conor can be proud of his performance over the weekend and underlined his national ranking.
National Ranking – No. 2
Justin Glancy was maybe a little out of his depth playing in the U14 event (Justin being an U12 player), but, after a shaky start against the impressive Simon Wrafter from Leinster, he went on to acquit himself very well. Justin’s results are as follows:
Rnd 1 – Lost Simon Wrafter (Leinster), 0 – 6, 0 – 6
Rnd 2 – Lost Anthony Hayes (Munster), 1 – 6, 1 – 6
Rnd 3 – Lost Sean Clarke (Ulster), 3 – 6, 6 – 7
Rnd 4 – Lost Kelvin McElroy (Ulster), 6 – 4, 3 – 6, 3 – 6
National Ranking – No. 15
The U16 boy’s event was held in Dublin’s Westwood complex. We expected great things in this event considering our National Champion Warren Atkins was competing. Warren had an extremely tough first round in Darragh Rowan from Dublin. Rowan had won the National Title the year previous to Warren. In a tightly fought contest Warren succumbed to a more experienced Rowan 6 – 3, 6 – 4. However, Warren won his 2 remaining matches and finished 5th overall.
National Ranking – No. 5
Connacht had only one player in the U18 events. This was Aisling Sage from Westport. Aisling, who is always a willing participant finished in a very creditable 8th Place.
National Ranking – No. 8
National U12 Matchplays
The U12 National Matchplays are held after Christmas on the first weekend in January in Cork. 4 Castlebar players qualified for the U12 Matchplay. They were Sinead O’ Donohue, Justin Glancy, Mark Towey and Andrew Butler.
Sinead O' Donoghue
In her first experience of such a prestigious competition, Sinead O’ Donohue went to Cork not knowing what to expect. She played the No. 1 seed in the first round and was a little out of her depth loosing comprehensively. Unfortunately Sinead lost her three remaining matches, but improved as she went along and gained priceless experience.
National Ranking – No. 16
Mark Towey entered the event on the verge of the top 8 and new that he would have to produce a big performance to win his first match. Mark played well but lost out in a tight three setter to B. O’ Sullivan from Munster. Mark won a brilliant second match against G. Gilhaulley from Leinster who had beaten him in the Irish Junior Open in August. This result made sure he would have a good chance of gaining a top 8 position in the next matchplays. Mark’s results were as follows:
Rnd 1 – Lost B. O’ Sullivan (Munster), 6 – 7, 6 – 4, 4 – 6
Rnd 2 – Beat G. Gilhaulley (Leinster), 6 – 4, 6 – 2
Rnd 3 – Lost P. O’ Shea (Leinster), 2 – 6, 2 – 6
Rnd 4 – Beat S. Barry (Munster), 6 – 4, 6 – 4
National Ranking – No. 11
Andrew Bulter had the toughest possible christening in his first National Matchplays, having to play the No. 1 seed Niall Fitzgearld in his first match. He lost this match and unfortunately his second match to leave him playing for a 13 – 16 ranking. Starting as the number 16 player, any win was going to be a bonus for Andrew and this came in his third match when he beat D. Ward 7 – 6, 6 – 4. Andrew then narrowly lost his fourth match to finish the competition in a very creditable 14th place.
National Ranking – No. 14
Justin Glancy started the matchplays as the No. 3 ranked player. He had a shaky start by his own high standards beating an impressive Paul O’ Shea from Leinster in 2 tight sets. His second round was also a struggle against Luke Hennessy from Leinster, but again Justin had the resolve to win in three sets. By winning his second match he set up a semi-final meeting with Mark Bowtell from Leinster. Bowtell had beaten Justin two weeks previous in the National Indoors so this was to be a crucial match. Bowtell raced away with the first set, but Justin didn’t lose heart and came back to win a tightly fought second set. From then on Justin took control and stayed ahead throughout the third set eventually taking the match 3 – 6, 6 – 3, 6 – 3. Justin proved how good a player he is over the weekend. Even though he started the weekend poorly, he still came out with the right results and could turn on the class when needed.
In the final Justin played the No. 1 seed Niall Fitzgearld from Leinster. Again Justin didn’t start very well loosing the first set, but played his way into the match, taking the second set to level the match. The third set was close but Fitzgearld had a slight edge taking the title. This was an excellent performance by Justin and he has now regained his No. 2 ranking. Justin’s results were as follows:
Rnd 1 – Beat P. O’ Shea (Leinster), 6 – 2, 7 – 6
Rnd 2 – Beat L. Hennessy (Leinster 6 – 3, 3 – 6, 6 – 3
Rnd 3 – Beat M. Bowtell (Leinster), 3 – 6, 6 – 3, 6 – 3
Rnd 4 – Lost P. Fitzgearld (Leinster), 3 – 6, 6 – 3, 3 – 6
National Ranking – No. 2
Castlebar should be proud of the achievements of their Junior Tennis Players. At the moment we have one of the strongest junior clubs not only in Connacht, but also nationally. A special mention must go to the parents of the players. Without their support none of these achievements would be possible.
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