Some promising Irish displays

 

FOR cash strapped Irish squash administrators the Dunlop sponsored Irish Junior Open is a case of bringing the mountain to Mohammad for, if the money is not available to send the best youngsters overseas then top ranking visitors should be brought here to provide the sort of opportunity for serious competition that the domestic scene often fails to provide.

The Irish event is the richest of its kind in Europe and it once again attracted a highly impressive international field from all over the continent to Fitzwilliam over the weekend. The size of the task facing Irish coaches in the coming years was made apparent but there were also a number of fine performances by some Irish players.

For the second year in succession, Janie Thacker and Lee Beachill from England took the silverware in the Under 19 event, but Irish number one Patrick Foster took games off a couple of the best players on the junior circuit just now on the way to fourth place overall, while Madeline Perry went one better by finishing third with a 9-2, 3-9, 10-8, 9-2 defeat of England's Vicky Botwright in her final match.

Foster, meanwhile, continues to impress while the form of his 17 year old younger brother Liam, until his defeat by Patrick, will have caught the eye of the Irish management who would doubtless appreciate another conversion from the Manchester based Irish clan.

At under 16 level there was even better news for the hosts with the victory of Aisling Blake in the final against Scotland's Lizzie Leitch while Siobhan Parker completed a double for the Sligo club in the under 14 event by beating England's Kerry Shields. Zoe Barr made it a hat trick for the locals by coming out on top of the under 12 event.