BADMINTON: There were tears of joy from Dubliner Scott Evans when he finally won his first European badminton tour title at the Carlton Irish Open in Baldoyle last weekend.
Evans, a double Olympian, made the Irish Open final in 2008 and has reached six other European circuit finals since then without ever taking a win.
Although he was in the tougher side of the draw, Evans had a dream tournament, not dropping a set and beating Corvee 21-19, 21-18 in the final.
In the women’s final, Chloe Magee, who had won the mixed doubles with Karen Bing in 2007, was making her first appearance in a singles final.
After a long and exhausting season, including the London Olympics, this proved one match too far for the Donegal woman, who lost to 18-year-old Line Kjaersfeldt from Denmark.
Both players can still celebrate after a great year for the sport in Ireland, with a National Training Centre now firmly established in Marino, a number of good international tournaments on the calendar and a squad of strong young players coming through.
SNOOKER: David Hogan was the winner of snooker’s third senior ranking tournament Ivy Rooms Carlow – his second win of the season. A “double eliminator” system threw up some interesting results, with Martin McCrudden losing to Michael Judge early on and then beating him for one of four places in the quarter-finals.
Also making it at the second attempt was Robert Redmond who progressed all the way to the final, taking the scalps of David Morris, Josh Boileau and John Sutton. In his semi-final, Hogan had a convincing win over Robert Murphy.
An entertaining final ensued, with both players producing quality snooker, and in the end, Hogan taking a 5-3 win and maintaining his position at the top of the rankings. High break of the weekend was a 125 for David Morris. The Kilkenny man had been on target for a maximum 147 when an awkward brown stopped his progress.
POOL: Fred Dinsmore finished off a good year by taking a bronze medal in the World Wheelchair 9-Ball Championships in Willingen, Germany. Dinsmore, who has two world titles to his credit, played well throughout the tournament and was unlucky to lose 5-7 in his semi-final against eventual champion Henrik Larsson of Sweden. It was his first medal in this tournament since 2008. Earlier in the season, Dinsmore had taken a silver for 10-ball and bronze in both 8-ball and 9-ball at the European Championships.
SQUASH: Irish No 1 Madeline Perry, the No 10 seed, will play 19-year-old Nour el Tayeb of Egypt in her opening round match at the Women’s World Squash Open starting tomorrow (Sun) in the Cayman Islands. Perry has already beaten el-Tayeb twice in the last year and, if she plays to form, is likely to face another Egyptian player Nour el–Sherbini in the second round. The Egyptian won the world junior title in 2009 at the age of only 13 and lost to Perry at the Canon Kirk Irish Open earlier this year.
In the bottom half of the draw, Aisling Blake has drawn the No 2 seed, Raneen el–Waleily, also of Egypt. It means that both players will miss the Irish Nationals starting in Fitzwilliam next Friday.
VOLLEYBALL: A victory by Santry Volleyball Club over DVC has thrown the women’s premier division wide open. In a gruelling match that went to four sets , Santry won 25-19, 29-27, 22-25, 25-19. It means DVC remain top of the table – but only just, since Santry plays a catch-up match against Tallaght Rockets tomorrow (Sun).
In a similar scenario, Aer Lingus picked up valuable points last weekend when they ended UCD’s unbeaten record in the men’s premier division, coming back to win 3-1 after losing the opener 27-29. The teams are now tied on 18 points, with UCD ahead of Aer Lingus only on set difference.