|Barry Phelan celebrates|
TENPIN BOWLING: For Dubliner Barry Phelan, last week’s Irish Ten Pin Open at Leisureplex, Sillorgn, went like a dream. The Irish champion knew he was in good form when he posted the first perfect game of 300 of the tournament and his good form continued over the four days of play.
He beat Stephen Gill of Scotland in the semi-finals with a score of 466 and, in the final, swept aside Robin Nordas Grundvik from Norway in an almost perfect match. After a last minute panic when he needed treatment for a strained arm tendon, Foley knocked in strike after strike to score 221 and win the first game . With seven strikes and three spares in the second, Foley proved unstoppable and ended up stunning his Norwegian rival with a total match score of 459. It was a first ever victory for an Irish male player and the perfect end to the 25th anniversary Irish Open. It could have been a double and in her third consecutive women’s final, Irish No 1 Hannah Cullen put up a brave fight against Zara Giles, scoring 423 to a 456 for the English international player.
BADMINTON: Young Dublin badminton player Owen Marron made a spectacular breakthrough at the Leinster Badminton Open in Whitehall Road, Dublin. Marron stormed though the early rounds of the men’s singles, putting out Irish junior international Josh Magee in the second round and comfortably defeating Ulster’s Stuart Lightbody in the final.
With his partner Nigel Boyne Marron also reached the men’s doubles final , putting out top seeds Joshua Magee and Tony Murphy in the semi-finals but losing to Dan Magee and Niall Tierney in the final. On a good weekend for the underdogs, sisters Fiona and Pauline Glennon won the women’s doubles, beating Pam Peard and Valerie Anne Martin, with both pairs unseeded. In the mixed doubles final, Dan Magee and Fiona Glennon beat top seeds Stuart Lightbody and Caroline Black. Not so surprising was the victory for Alannah Stephenson in the women’s singles.The defending champion, still aged only 15, beat fellow Irish junior international Rachel Darragh in the final.
* Scott Evans has made the perfect start to the New Year by winning the men’s singles at the Cyprus International in Nicosia. Evans, the top seed, had a smooth passage to the final, where he beat beat up-and-coming English player Andrew Smith 21=17, 21-11 in the final.
SNOOKER: Nine of the world’s top ten ranked snooker players are among the 32 to have qualified for the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in Galway in March.
World No 1 and Masters champion Mark Selby, along with Mark Williams, John Higgins, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui will join Ireland’s Ken Doherty at the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway from March 12 to 17. One of snooker’s richest pots of €119,000 is up for grabs in the tournament.
SQUASH: David Ryan’s epic and closely fought Under- 18 match against Egypt’s Yousseff Aboul Makarim proved the Irish highlight of the recent British Squash Junior Open held in Sheffield Makarin ended up fourth in the torunament, while Ryan finished a creditable 18th, with Michael Craig 21st. In other age groups, Sam Buckley finished 15th U-13 and Stephanie Ryan 24th of the under 15 girls.
SWIMMING: Channel Swimmers John Daly and Fergal Somerville are hoping that the current cold snap continues today (Sat) for the Eastern Bay Swim Team Invitation International Ice Swimming Association Challenge; swimming from the Bull Wall shelter to the Wooden Bridge at Dollymount and back. The Eastern Bay Swim Team includes three Liffey Swim winners and a current World Ice Swimming champion Jerry Kiersey. According to international rules, an ice swim is a one mile swim in water temperature of 5 degrees or less with participant wearing togs, swimming hat, goggles, earplugs and nothing else. The swim is expected to take about 45 minutes. Since the start of the year sea temperatures in Dublin have been steady at around 6-7 degrees, although it reached 4 degrees at Bull Wall on January 19.