U14 Stars & Stripes – Monkstown Pipped in Close Final

It was deja vu all over again as the Monkstown team was edged out in a deciding championship tie break for the second time in a row in the u14 Stars and Stripes final. The opponents this time were Blackrock and the match was played in Glenageary.

The girls’ matches were all very high quality. No 1 singles Sarah McAuley overcame a much taller opponent winning 8 5 – an excellent start. No 2 singles Rosie McFadyen edged into a 4 3 lead in her game but gradually her more powerful opponent came back and eventually won the game 9 4. The no 1 doubles Julie Ringrose and Sarah Healy had a nail-biting match but won the deciding tie break to take it 7 6. The last girls match was the no 2 doubles where Anna Schwer and Emma Walsh were in top form. In an excellent match Monkstown came out on top 10 3 to give the girls team a 29-23 win. Very well done girls!!

In the pool matches, the Monkstown boys had been heavily beaten by Blackrock so it was always going to be difficult. However no 1 singles Alex Boyne had an excellent 7 6 win which was a great boost to the team. The no 2 doubles Conor Duddy and Tano Farro played well but lost 9 4. The no 1 doubles of Ben Mc Carthy and Oliver McGannon also had a tight match but lost 9 4. The last match on court was the no 2 singles and word went around that Monkstown’s Harry Shaw was 7 5 up and it was all down to the last game which was a tiebreak. If Blackrock won the tiebreak they would win the cup if Harry won, the overall match would end in a draw. Despite the pressure and the crowd Harry held his nerve won the tiebreak and levelled the match 52 games all. Well done Harry!

The rules provide for a mixed doubles champions tie break to decide the final in the event of a tie. It had only ever happened once before – in the Autumn u14 final – so this was the second instance.

Monkstown selected Alex Boyne and Anna Schwer to play the tie break for Monkstown facing Blackrock’s no1 boys and girl’s singles players. Monkstown started well with an ace from Alex and a good forehand from Anna putting them 2 nil up. The watching parents started thinking about hosting next year’s competition but unfortunately that was premature!! With a big crowd of supporters from both teams watching, Blackrock gradually came back and won the tie break 10 6. So disappointment for Monkstown but a great evening of tennis and some excellent performances. The players should be really proud of their performances throughout the competition.

Once again thanks to Anne Ringrose and Roisin Schwer for looking after the girls and to Karen Ivory and Fionnuala Duddy for looking after the boys – nothing would happen without the help and support of so many hardworking parents! Thanks also to Adrienne Cusack for coming along to support and see the fruits of her work with the players overs the years and to Stephen and the other coaches for their input into the players also.

So all over for the spring now but we will all be back again in the Autumn and hope for equally good matches then!

Catherine Keane