The weekend saw the IBU Open and and Women’s Trials for the 2024 European Championships in Denmark (and the World Bridge Games in Argentina). The Women had six entries, so the weekend was a qualifier session for a second series to be held next weekend. The four qualifying teams, in rank order, are KELLY-ROGERS (Mary Kelly-Rogers, Anne Fitzpatrick, Ann Burns, Kay Murphy), MITCHELL (Louise Mitchell, Lucy Phelan, Ann O’Connell, Valarie Burke-Moran), KENNY (Joan Kenny, Jeannie Fitzgerald, Siobhan Part, Teresa Rigney), and HAUGH (Mairead Haugh, Roisin De Jong, Sonya Hillis, Maria Whelan). Good luck to all four teams in next weekend’s decider.

With only four teams in the Open competition, the format was semi-finals and a final to determine the qualifying team. The final was played between DE RAEYMAEKER and MORAN, with the former establishing an early lead, and indeed leading throughout, although by a a diminishing margin, until a single slam swing on the seventy-sixth of eighty boards played was enough to seal the match, and the qualification spot, for Moran. So well done to Team MORAN (Mark Moran, John Carroll, Tom Hanlon, Conor Boland, Adam Mesbur, Nick FitzGibbon, with NPC Grainne Barton), and commiserations to Team DE RAEYMAEKER (Karel De Raeymaeker, Anna Onishuk, Kelan O’Connor, Gay Keaveney, Peter Goodman, Dan McIntosh). It’s great to see both teams feature a player who recently played on our junior international squads, in Conor Boland and Kelan O’Connor. The winning team is pictured with the Pat Walshe Trophy, awarded to the winners of the IBU Open Trials, and commemorating one of the greatest Irish players.

Thanks to TD Fearghal O’Boyle for directing both events with his usual calm efficiency.

Cork Congress was also on over the weekend, in the Maryborough Hotel, very well organised by the congress committee, and with attendance up on last year. The winners of the various competitions were:

  • Congress Pairs: Alan Auchincloss & Konstantin Rabkin
  • Intermediate Pairs: Paddy & Margaret Dennehy
  • Mixed Pairs: Edel Murphy & Rory Boland
  • Novice Pairs: Edith Allen & Michael Horgan
  • Congress Teams: Cian Holland, Rory Boland, Donal Garvey, Pat Quinn
  • Open Pairs: Philip Cretch & Anne-Maria MacSweeney; Eileen Kelleher & Catherine Slattery; Tess & Mags O’Hara

Thanks to all who attended, and to TD Diarmuid Reddan for his usual smooth and cheerful running of all competitions.