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Sports : Tennis Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Castlebar Tennis Club Update 25th. April 2002
By Garrett Barry
25, Apr 2002 - 16:28

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National Junior Matchplays – Castlebar 13/14th April

Castlebar Tennis Club held its first National Junior Matchplays on the Weekend of the 13th/14th of April. This event brought together the top 12, Under 14 and Under 16 Boys in Ireland. Castlebar boasted no fewer than 4 Competitors in the 2 events. All 3 Connacht representatives in the U14 Boys were Castlebar and last years national U14 champion, Warren Atkins, competed in the U16 event. Expectations were high, with all 4 Castlebar players finishing strongly in previous National Matchplay events.

The U16 Boys event promised to be very interesting, with any one of the top 8 players capable of winning the event. Warren Atkins played Dara McLoughlin from Dublin in his first match. Unfortunately McLoughlin beat Warren in a tight 3 setter 6 – 2, 1 – 6, 6 – 4, after a very entertaining battle. This meant Warren could hope for 5th position at best. Warren’s next match was against James McGee also from Dublin. Warren had beaten McGee in the final of the Irish Junior Open last year so this promised to be a tough encounter. Warren was a bit disappointed with his form on the Saturday and was determined to show his home support what he was really made of. This he did powering to a 6 – 2, 6 – 1 victory. This convincing win set up a 5th/6th playoff with Dara Rowan, again from Dublin. Warren and Dara had played each other in the Templeogue Junior Open the week before with Warren winning in 3 Sets. The outcome of this match was to be a similar one with Warren eventually winning 2 – 6, 6 – 3, 7 – 6. This was another good weekend for Warren.

Warren Atkins No. 5 in Ireland

Both Daniel Glancy and Michael Cuddy had to come through a qualifying round to get into the coveted top 8 in Ireland. Conor McHale (No. 2 Seed) along with the other top seeds received a bye into the ¼ finals (Top 8), which was determined by previous results.

Michael’s first match was against the Munster No. 1, Brian Halpin from Limerick. Michael accounted for his opponent with some ease, winning his match 6 – 2, 6 – 2. Daniel Glancy won his first round with similar authority, beating Alex Hamilton from Dublin, 6 – 2, 6 – 0. These results meant that all 3 Castlebar players would be ranked in the top 8 in Ireland.

Daniel’s next match was against the No. 4 Seed, Graham King from Dublin. On their previous two meetings this year they had won one match each, so this looked likely to be a close match. Daniel battled hard, but on this occasion was not able for King’s superior consistency. He lost the match in 3 sets 3 – 6, 6 – 4, 6 – 3. Daniel then played another Lenister player, Simon Wrafter. In a close match, Daniel eventually succumbed to the tenacious Wrafter 6 – 4, 7 – 6. Daniel’s final match was against Conor O’ Kane from the North. He had a very slow start loosing the first set 6 – 2 and looked to be well out of sorts. In the second set Daniel started to play the tennis we know he is capable of and won the set 6 – 2. Continuing his good form, Daniel never looked back and won the third set convincingly. This win capped off a great performance from Daniel.

Daniel Glancy No. 7 in Ireland

Unfortunately for the local’s, Michael Cuddy and Conor McHale drew each other in the ¼ Finals. Conor was the favourite in this match because of his No. 2 ranking, but Michael had other ideas. The first set was a close affair with Conor edging ahead, only to be pegged back by a stubborn Michael Cuddy. Conor eventually won the set and eventually the match 7 – 5, 6 – 2, but Michael showed great fighting qualities and gave Conor a real scare. In his next match Michael played Conor O’ Kane. Michael had never beaten O’ Kane and was determined to change this statistic. Playing his best tennis of the weekend, Michael won the match in 3 sets 6 – 1, 1 – 6, 6 – 4. This was a great win for Michael and left him in a 5th/6th playoff with Simon Wrafter. Unfortunately Michael seemed to have given his all against O’ Kane and wasn’t able to reproduce the same quality of tennis against Wrafter. He lost this match in 2 close sets. Michael played excellent tennis all weekend and can be proud of his achievement.

Michael Cuddy No. 6 in Ireland

The performance of the weekend came from Conor McHale. Conor’s first match was against Michael Cuddy as you have read above. This proved to be a very tricky encounter. Conor had to play his best tennis to beat his courageous opponent and did just enough to take the match. This set up a semi-final meeting with Robert Stone of Leinster. Stone had beaten Conor for the first time in the Templeogue tournament the week before, so Conor had reason to relish this match. Conor took a tight first set and looked to be playing well. Stone won the first 2 games of the second set but Conor steadied himself again to race to a 4 – 2 lead. Stone, known for his ‘never say die’ attitude, again fought back and took the second set. It started to look ominous for Conor when Stone took a 3 – 1 lead in the final set. Conor then found another gear and played his best tennis of the weekend to take the third set and the match 7 – 6, 4 – 6, 6 – 4.

Paul Foley, the No. 1 Seed was to be his opponent in the final. Foley seems to have the spell over Conor for the last couple of years and this seemed evident in Conor’s first set performance. Foley raced to a 6 – 1 first set victory and led 2 – 0 in the second before Conor decided to play. And play he did, coming back into the match in great fashion and taking the second set 6 – 3. Foley was visibly rattled by Conor’s comeback and this was shown by his reaction to loosing the second set. The third set was very close with both players having their chances. Foley eventually broke Conor’s serve and won his own to take a 5 – 3 lead. Conor managed to hold serve to get it back to 5 – 4. Foley steadied himself and hit four big first serves in the next game. Conor, alas could do nothing about this and lost the game and match 2 – 6, 6 – 3, 4 – 6. Conor showed that he is still a major force in U14 tennis and would be around to challenge for the No. 1 ranking all year.

Conor McHale No. 2 in Ireland

The weekend proved to be a great success and was a credit to all those responsible. Castlebar Tennis Club hopes to hold many more events of this caliber in the future. Results from the various other matchplays with Castlebar competitors are below.

U12 Boys (Leopardstown Tennis Club)

Mark Towey No. 10 in Ireland

Andrew Butler No. 12 in Ireland

Dara Cuddy No. 16 in Ireland

U14 Boys (Castlebar Tennis Club)

Conor McHale No. 2 in Ireland

Michael Cuddy No. 6 in Ireland

Daniel Glancy No. 7 in Ireland

U16 Boys (Castlebar Tennis Club)

Warren Atkins No. 5 in Ireland

U14 Girls (Sundays Well Tennis Club)

Laura Cuddy No. 9 in Ireland

U18 Girls (Leopardstown Tennis Club)

Aisling Sage No. 6 in Ireland

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