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[Shields takes ladies title & milestone success for Thurles duo]


Tim Donovan of Irish Camper Vans
on left presentsprize to John Rooney

Tim Donovan of Irish Camper Vans
on left presents prize to Kerri Shields

Ladies A Finalists - Eleanor Lapthorne
on left and Kerri Shields on right

Following a repeat of last years final pairing, Galway’s John Rooney emerged as a 3 games to love winner over Derek Ryan of Dublin in the mens final of the Irish Camper Vans and Dunphy Dispatches sponsored Munster Senior Open squash championships, held earlier this afternoon at the Silversprings club.


Rooney, the Irish no. 2 continued his recent run of good form with an impressive start, racing to an early 4 point lead in the first game. Ryan however responded and began to find his rhythm, displaying at times the trademark easy stroke style that has stood the 8-time Irish champion in good stead so many times over the years. 3 points later, it was 3-4 and initial spectator fears of a runaway victory for Rooney had been suspended.


The 27 year old Galway man however has been showing very good form of late, having only recently well exceeded his current world ranking of 99 to qualify for the Dunlop British Open, and is playing with much composure and confidence. He soon steadied the ship and matched each shot that the hard-working Ryan produced, eventually edging to an 11-3 first game victory in 10 minutes playing time.

This was the first year that the newly adapted “American scoring” (every rally scores) to 11 system was used at this tournament. The professional and international players are used of this system, however some other players obviously took time to come to grips with the different mindset required for this.

The second game opened with some very even scoring before a similar pattern emerged with Rooney advancing to a 10-4 lead. At this stage in last years game, it was obvious that the tiring Ryan was beaten, but this year he seemed fitter. A brave recovery effort saw 3 un-answered points to Ryan, including an uncharacteristic unforced error from Rooney. However, the gap was too large to close with Rooney picking off the next rally to take the 2nd game by 11 points to 7.


Again, the 3rd game began with even exchanges. An overly contested refereeing call at 3-4 resulted in referee, Keith Moran awarding a conduct point against Ryan and most spectators expected Rooney to pull away easily from there. A fired-up Ryan responded however with a winning return from Rooney’s next serve. The remainder of the game was especially keenly contested with Rooney having to pull out the stops to keep Ryan at bay. 2 of the games final 3 points followed incredibly long, stamina-sapping rallies, one of which concluded, to the crowds appreciation, in a side-wall nicked winner from Rooney. Eventually, Ryan had to succumb and the 3rd game finished in an 11-6 scoreline in favour of Rooney, meaning that after 36 minutes of playing time, he had retained his title.


In one of the most anticipated matches of the weekend, Arthur Gaskin of Carlow, the world no. 146, won the 3rd place play-off match against Steve Richardson of Ballymena on a scoreline of 3 games to 1. In doing so, he strengthened his hold on the 4th and final place on Ireland’s mens team for the upcoming world team championships in India and also guarantees his wildcard entry to next months Bymac Leinster Open PSA event.


In the Ladies A event, Newry’s Kerri Shields had a comfortable 3-0 victory over Eleanor Lapthorne from the Highfield club in Cork. Shields, presently based in London and playing full-time on the professional WISPA circuit has a world ranking of 106 and the extra fitness and game time garnered from this showed against former national champion, Lapthorne.


These matches concluded 3 days of competition at both Silversprings squash club in Tivoli and Sundays Well Boating and Tennis club on the Mardyke.


Among the lower sections, a unique double for Thurles squash club came to pass with the winners of both “B” sections representing that club. Tony Maher upset the seedings in both his semi-final and also in the final against Highfield’s Kevin O’Rourke to take the Mens title. In the Ladies, Margaret Mary McGrath served notice that she may be challenging in the top grade in the not too distant future when the 18 year old won all her matches without conceding a game, including todays match against Marion Plunkett of the Orchard.



Finals Results in full as follows,


Men’s A Final

John Rooney (Galway L.T.C.)  bt  Derek Ryan (Fitzwilliam L.T.C.)               3/0

(11/3, 11/7, 11/6)


Men’s 3rd Place

Arthur Gaskin (Carlow L.T.C.)   bt  Steve Richardson (Wimbledon Lakeside)            3/1


Men’s 5th Place

Nick Staunton (Christophers)  bt  Niall Rooney (Galway L.T.C.)                    3/1


Men’s B Final

Tony Maher (Thurles)  bt  Kevin O’Rourke (Highfield)                                  3/0


Men’s B Plate Final

Charlie Sturm (Silversprings)  bt  David Ronayne (Highfield)                                     3/2


Men’s C Final

James McSweeney (Silversprings)  bt  Mark Smyth (Highfield)                       3/0


Men’s C Plate Final

Ivan O’Mahony (Highfield)  bt  Ken McCarthy (Sundays Well)                                  3/0


Men’s D Final

Ian McLean (Orchard)  bt  Michael Ryan (Highfield)                                                  3/1


Men’s D Plate Final

Mark Higgins (Silversprings)  bt  John Dolan (Silversprings)                           3/2




Ladies A Final

Kerri Shields (R.A.C., London)  bt  Eleanor Lapthorne (Highfield)                 3/0

                                                                                                                 (9/1, 9/3, 9/7)


Ladies B Final

Margaret Mary McGrath (Thurles)  bt  Marion Plunkett (Orchard)                   3/0