The two teams representing Ireland at the junior home international championships in Newport, Wales, over the weekend of 14-16 February both did well without taking home any prizes.
In the Peggy Bayer Trophy (Under-21) event, we fielded a very young and inexperienced team, four of whom were making their debut international appearance, and several of whom have a further five years’ eligibility at this level. They started slowly, losing to the strong, and ultimately victorious, English team, but recovered well to win six of their ten matches over the weekend, including inflicting their only defeat of the weekend on England in the return match, and finished in a very creditable third place overall. The team was (left-to-right in the photo below) Conor Totterdell, Luca Crone, Matthew O’Farrell, Dermot O’Brien (NPC), Denise Walsh, Leah Finnegan, and Adam Murphy.
In the Junior Camrose Trophy (Under-26) event, the team suffered a blow with the late withdrawal of John Connolly due to illness, being replaced by Arran Bolger. The team was made up mostly of experienced players, but also featured 15-year-old newcomer Isabel Burke. They also won six of their ten matches, including a demolition of the reigning champions, England, but eventually faltered against some of the stronger teams to finish in fourth place. Scotland were popular winners of the event after a couple of near misses, especially as a couple of their team were in their final year of eligibility. Our team was (left-to-right in the photo below) Stephen Barr, Michael Donnelly, Thomas MacCormac (NPC), Isabel Burke, Conor Boland, Arran Bolger, and Sheila Walsh (missing from picture).
Full results of the event can be found here here. All of our representatives, including John Connolly, remain eligible as juniors, some of them for several more years, so this was an encouraging performance, and gives us plenty on which to build.