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West of Ireland Open 2014
15-20 Apr, Galway, $10k
Final: Clyne wins marathon final in Galway
Arthur Curran reports

Here on Finals Day in Galway, the main PSA Tournament Final was preceded by the final of the Grade A Tournament which had been running alongside the main tournament. This final brought together local boy John Rooney, ex professional now residing and coaching in Buffalo N.Y in America, and Ireland’s No 2 player, non professional Bryan Byrne, who plays at a club not too far from here.

Although John does not play professionally any longer his experience pulled him through to win this match 3 games to 0, although he had to work extremely hard in the third as Bryan had him running around the court, but he managed to hold on to win.

[2] Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-1 [1] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
                        4/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/4  (77m)

With the #1 seed Ryan, aged 26, facing the #2 seed Alan, aged 27, this final was expected to be very close, and so it worked out. The first game contained several long rallies, most of which ended with the score at 11/4 in favour of Ryan, but this score does not do justice to the hard work and the skills that Alan showed.

Alan started to get on top in the second match as Ryan was showing much dissent at some of the referee’s decisions, and in fact received a conduct stroke for his behaviour, and he then lost his discipline so Alan took advantage to take the game 11/8. Again in the third Alan kept the score level up to 8/8 and then finished off with two straight points to take the game 11/8 again.

Alan was well on top in the fourth and took the game comfortably 11/4 to win the tournament. A great victory for Alan, and a great week of squash came to an end as Alan was presented with the trophy by the son of Paddy “Whack” Walsh.

Arthur now heads East to Dublin for the Irish Open ...


West of Ireland Open 2014
15-20 Apr, Galway, $10k
Round One
17 Apr
18 Apr
19 Apr
20 Apr
[1] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/6, 11/4, 11/2. 22m
[Q] Miroslav Celler (Svk)
[1] Ryan Cuskelly
11/9, 8/11, 11/5, 11/8. 60m
[5] Jens Schoor
[1] Ryan Cuskelly

 12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/8 76m

[4] Greg Lobban

[1] Ryan Cuskelly


4/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/4 (77m)


 [2] Alan Clyne

[5] Jens Schoor (Ger)
11/5, 11/3, 11/3. (30m)
[Q] Bart Ravelli (Ned)
[6] Arthur Gaskin (Irl)
11/8, 11/7, 11/2. 43m
Carlos Cornes (Esp)
Carlos Cornes
11/3, 11/1, 11/8. 57 m
[4] Greg Lobban
[4] Greg Lobban (Sco)
 11/4, 11/6, 11/4. 33m
Reuben Phillips (Eng)
Alex Ingham (Eng)
11/1 rtd (2m)
[3] Harinderpal Sandhu (Ind)
Alex Ingham
11/8, 11/2, 11/4. 40m
[7] Sebastiaan Weenink
[7] Sebastiaan Weenink

11/4, 11/6, 11/5 37m

 [2] Alan Clyne

[Q] David Wardle (Eng)
11/4, 11/6, 11/4. 40m
[7] Sebastiaan Weenink (Ned)
Adam Auckland (Eng)
 11/5, 11/6, 11/6 (23m)
[8] Adil Maqbool (Pak)
Adam Auckland
11/5, 11/5, 11/7. 38m
 [2] Alan Clyne
[Q] Jan vd Herrewegen (Bel)
11/4, 11/3, 3/11, 11/6. 53 m
[2] Alan Clyne (Sco)
16-Apr, Qualifying Finals:

Miroslav Celler (Svk) bt Jakob Dimberger (Aut)  5/11, 7/11, 11/6, 11/7, 13/11. 64m
David Wardle (Eng) bt Anthony Brindle (Gib)                8/11, 11/3, 11/8, 11/4. 47m
Jan Van Den Herreweggen (Bel) bt John Rooney (Irl)          12/10, 11/6, 11/3. 32m
Bart Ravelli (Ned) bt Tom de Mulder (Bel)            11/7, 11/7, 7/11, 2/11,11/8. 65m

15-Apr, Qualifying Round One:

Jakob Dirnberger (Aut) 3-1 Connor Sheen (Eng)           11/5, 11/1, 5/11, 11/4 (34m)
Miroslav Cellar (Svk) 3-2 Bryan Byrne (Irl)         11/6, 5/11, 4/11, 11/8, 11/7 (54m)
David Wardle (Eng) 3-0 Keith Moran (Irl)                             11/6, 11/9, 11/7 (28m)
Anthony Brindle (Gib) 3-1 Sean Conroy (Irl)              10/12, 11/9, 11/3, 11/1 (41m)
Jan vd Herreweggen (Bel)                                   bye
John Rooney (Irl) 3-2 Martin Svec (Cze)          11/8, 11/6, 9/11, 10/12, 11/7 (60m)
Bart Ravelli (Ned) 3-2 Phil Nightingale (Eng)   14/12, 11/6, 9/11, 6/11, 15/13 (92m)
Tom de Mulder (Bel)                                            bye
Semis: The top seeds safe...
Arthur Curran reports

Here in Galway we have arrived at the semi final stage of the Garavan’s Bar Paddy “Whack” Walsh West of Ireland Open, where we look forward to two exciting matches when we could possibly see an all Scottish Final tomorrow.

[1] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 3-1 [4] Greg Lobban (Sco)
                       12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/8 (76m)

First semi final saw the #1 seed and tournament favourite Ryan from Australia taking on 21 year old Scotsman Greg Lobban, ranked 41 places below him in the world rankings. The first game started with some very long rallies, a few ending in lets, but Ryan slowly got on top to lead 5/0, but then tinned one to give Greg the serve, of which he took great advantage to get to 9/6, with the help of two no lets, a stroke and a tin from Ryan, decisions which seemed to annoy Ryan somewhat. However Ryan’s experience came to the fore as he got to game ball at 10/9, Greg levelled at 10/10 but Ryan finished the game off at 12/10.  A great game lasting 24 minutes for which both players can take great credit.

The second started with Ryan taking an early 3/0 lead and kept a lead right through the game as Greg fought hard to keep scoring individual points, but Ryan ended the game well to win 11/7. Greg started to put his own stamp on the match in the third game as he took a 5/2 lead, then 8/4 and 9/7 before he finished off at 11/8.

Helped by several unusual mistakes from Ryan, Greg moved into a good lead at 8/4 in the fourth, but then Ryan took the initiative and finished the game off in one hand at 11/8. A very brave and skilful performance from Greg, of whom I am sure we will hear a lot of in the future, but on the day Ryan was just too experienced.

[2] Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0 [7] Sebastiaan Weenink (Ned)
                               11/4, 11/6, 11/5 (37m)

Second semi final saw the #2 seed Alan, ranked at 38, facing #7 seed
Sebastiaan, ranked 98, both 27 years old so both very experienced.

However, this match was as different as it could be from the first semi. Alan imposed himself on the taller figure of Seb from the start, allowing him very little in the way of chances and points and took the match fairly comfortably in three games in just 37 minutes.

So, unfortunately no all Scottish final, but I am sure we shall see a great final tomorrow, starting here at the Galway Tennis and Squash Club 2.00 pm.

Arthur Curran reports

Today we come to the quarter finals of the tournament, with the eight players involved representing 6 different countries.

[1] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [5] Jens Schoor (GER)

With almost 50 places in the rankings separating these two players, this match turned out to be much closer than the rankings suggested, with the score staying very level right through the first game before Ryan squeezed the win at 11/9. The second game went in very much the same way, but this time it was Jens that kept in the lead before taking the game on his first game ball at 11/8. In the third Ryan swept into an easy 9/1 lead and despite Jens saving 4 match balls he took the game at 11/5. Again in the fourth Ryan swept into an early 8/2 lead and although Jens pulled back to 8/9 Ryan took the game 11/8 and the match 3 games to 1.

[4] Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Carlos Cornes (ESP)

Second match on saw Scotsman Greg take the first two games fairly comfortably against Carlos from Spain, but Carlos fought much harder in the third after a lengthy blood injury break for treatment to Greg’s knee, but he just could not quite get in front and despite saving two game balls Greg came out the winner at 11/8.

[7] Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) bt Alex Ingham (ENG)

In the first match on court tall Dutchman Sebastiaan eased into a slight lead and stayed in front right through, despite Alex fighting hard and saving two game balls Seb took the game 11/8. From there onwards it was Seb leading all the way, although Alex played strongly without making much progress on the scoreboard, and Seb took the next two games comfortably 11/2 and 11/4.

[2] Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Adam Auckland (ENG)

The final match brought together young Englishman Adam and the much more experienced #2 seed Alan, and although Adam played some absolutely fantastic squash strokes and used great movement, Alan showed his class and experience as he took the match in 3 games to gain his place in tomorrow’s semi finals. No disgrace to young Adam who played with great enthusiasm and skill, but was beaten by a much more experienced player on the day.
Round One
Arthur Curran reports

We start today’s first round of the West of Ireland Open with a really international flavour with the sixteen players representing 11 different countries, so hopefully we will be seeing some great squash today.

Adam Auckland (ENG) beat [8] Adil Maqbool (PAK)

First match up tonight saw a great performance from young Adam, as he moved swiftly all over the court and played some delightful squash to beat No 8 seed Adil, who is ranked some 20 places above Adam in the world rankings. A very good win by young Adam.

Alex Ingham (ENG) beat [3] Harinder Pal Sindhu (IND)

Second match up saw another young Englishman Alex taking a win over Harinder, this time in much more fortunate circumstances as Harinder, who took the court obviously carrying an injury, retired after a very quick first game which Alex took 11/1.

[5] Jens Schoor (GER) beat [Q] Bart Ravelli (NED)

First match up on the adjacent No 6 court saw the seeded player Jens, #5 seed, go through to the second round with a fairly comfortable 3 – 0 win over Dutchman qualifier Bart, who fought valiantly all the way through without much success.

[2] Alan Clyne (SCO) beat [Q] Jan V.D. Herreweggen (BEL)

No 2 seed Alan took to the court next playing qualifier Jan, and the large difference in the rankings (140 places) showed from the start as Alan played some fabulous squash shots as well as covering the court so swiftly, as he usually does, and despite Jan fighting fiercely for points, Alan took the first two games quite comfortably scorewise 11/4 and 11/3.

However Alan started the third taking a slight lead 2/0 lead, but then with some unusual unforced errors allowed Jan to take the lead and with some great shots himself Jan got to 8/2 in one hand and eventually finished the game off 11/3. In the fourth Jan was visibly the more tired of the two and despite him fighting hard Alan took advantage to take the game 11/6 and the match 3 – 1.

[4] Greg Lobban (SCO) beat Reuben Phillips (ENG)

On the adjacent court next was #4 seed Greg, against a young Englishman who just got into the main draw because of a late withdrawal, and with Greg ranked some 56 places higher than Reuben he made the difference tell as despite Reuben taking his part in some very good long rallies, Greg took the match fairly comfortably scorewise to enter the second round.

[7] Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) beat [Q] David Wardle (ENG)

Another young Englishman, qualifier David, was up against #7 seed Sebastian and similarly he fought very well against the odds but could not stop Sebastian, ranked 145 places higher than David, from taking the match in three straight games.

Carlos Cornes (ESP) beat [6] Arthur Gaskin (IRE)

Quite a shock for the home crowd was to follow next on the main court as Irish favourite #6 seed Arthur was eventually worn down by some great play from his opponent Carlos, ranked 50 places lower than Arthur, as he held on to take the first two very tight games 11/8 and 11/7, and then with Arthur showing great frustration Carlos took the third game quite easily at 11/2 for a victory that took out the last Irish representative from the tournament.

[1] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) beat [Q] Miroslav Celler (SVK)

With #1 seed Ryan now taking to the main court against qualifier Miroslav, who had played two very tiring qualifying matches, as expected it turned out to be the shortest match of the day as Ryan forced his experience and class on the weary Slovakian to ease through to the second round quite comfortably.

The end of another great evening’s squash, and we move on to tomorrow with the second round matches starting at 5.00 pm.

West of Ireland Open - qualifying finals
Arthur Curran reports

Miroslav Celler (SVK) beat Jakob Dimberger (AUT)

The first match this evening gave the small crowd a great exhibition of squash, despite being only qualifiers, and the fact that both players had tough matches yesterday evening. Jakob started off like an express train and despite several rallies of 40/50 shots he managed to take the first game comfortably (score wise at least) 11/5. Jakob started well again in the second to take a 7/2 lead, then despite Miroslav pulling back to 6/7, he finished the game at 11/7, looking to be well in control of this match.

However Miroslav was definitely not giving up the ghost as he took a 6/2 lead and despite Jakob pulling back to 5/6, he went through to take the game at 11/6. Miroslav started well again with a 5/2 lead, Jakob pulled back to level at 6/6, but then Miroslav with some lovely elegant drop shots took the game 11/7 to go into a decider. The fifth game was really up and down, Jakob taking a 3/0 lead, Miroslav taking the lead 4/3, lead back to Jakob at 5/4, and back again to Miroslav 7/5, then back to Jakob at 9/7. This was really turning into a fantastic bout, as Jakob then got match ball at 10/8, Miroslav levelled and got match ball himself at 11/10, Jakob levelled but Miroslav eventually got on top to end the game at 13/11, and the game at 3 – 2. A really exceptional match for a qualifier.

David Wardle (ENG) beat Anthony Brindle (GIB)

This match was a little gentler than the first but still with some lovely squash between two good friends and former training partners, Anthony nbeing based at Surrey Sports Park where David originates from but has now moved to Nottingham where he trains at the Park with the PSL team. David moved slowly into a 5/0 lead but gradually Anthony pulled back to 4/5, David again eased into the lead at 8/7, but some excellent squash from Anthony saw him take the game 11/8. David was definitely not going to lie down as he took the second game in quick time 11/3.

 Much tighter in the third as David moved into 7/3 lead but Anthony pulled back to level at 8/8, then David took control again to finish off 11/8. Anthony was visibly tiring by this stage and David raced into a 7/1 lead, Anthony made a small fightback to take the next three points but David finished in style to win the game 11/4 and the match 3 games to 1.

Jan Van Den Herreweggen (BEL) beat John Rooney (IRE)

The small crowd grew increasingly larger for this match as local man John Rooney took centre stage to try and get through to the main draw. John started quite well to take an early lead at 5/2, but Jan showed his strength to get to match ball at 10/8, John saved two but could not stop Jan taking the game 12/10. Again in the second John took an early 5/2 lead, but the pressure of playing two big matches in two days visibly showed as Jan took control and took the game 11/6.

Quite obviously to the vociferous crowd cheering John on it was clear that John had really run out of steam and Jan took advantage of this fact to take the third game comfortably 11/3. It was a good gesture for the tournament that John came over from America to play but it was unfortunately a little too much to ask, but well done to Jan for a great victory.

Bart Ravelli (NED) beat Tom de Mulder (BEL)

The final match was another exciting one between two great antagonists from the same part of Europe. The first game started with Bart taking an early 4/0 lead, Tom levelled at 4/4, score stayed level up to 7/7 whenBart took the initiative to take the game 11/7. The second was almost a copy of the first scorewise and finished the same score at 11/7 to Bart.

However Tom decided to get right into the match at this stage and with Bart tiring a little he took the next game 11/7 despite a late fightback by Bart, and then comfortably took the fourth 11/2 to take the match into a deciding game. The final game saw both players really fighting hard and the score reflected this as it moved along very level up to 7/7, but then Bart found a last gasp of oxygen to win the game 11/8, and the match 3 games to 2.

A really good match to end the qualifying which had some fantastic matches, considering they were only qualifiers, and a large number of5 setters (in fact 5 from 10 matches). A great end to a very enjoyable evening.

Draw & Results

West of Ireland Open - qualifying begins
Arthur Curran reports

Here we are once again in Galway for the West of Ireland Open Tournament, opening with the first round of qualifying, where
Old Boy John Rooney comes home to save the pride of the Irish Local Card entrants.

[4] Jacob Dimberger (AUT) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 3/1

Jacob seemed much too strong for young Connor from the start and won the first two games quite comfortably, but Connor then fought back brilliantly to take the third game 11/5, however this took too much out of him as Jacob then took the fourth comfortably 11/4.

[8] Miroslav Celler (SVK) bt  Bryan Byrne (IRL) 3/2

This match turned out to be quite a thriller considering the status of the two players. Both played their hearts out right through the match, with several rallies in the first set of 60/70 shots. Miroslav eventually took the first game 11/6 after 10 minutes, but Brian fought back strongly to take the next two games 11/5 and 11/4. Miroslav then came back to take the next game 11/8 despite strong opposition from Bryan, and he also took an early lead of 7/2 in the final game then although Bryan played extremely well to avoid defeat, Miroslav took the game 11/7 and the match 3 – 2.

[7] David Wardle (ENG) bt Keith Moran (IRL) 3/0

In this game Keith, another local entrant, fought well all the way through but just did not have the fire power necessary to stop David winning in three games.

[3] Anthony Brindle (GIB) bt Sean Conroy (IRL) 3/1

Yet another young local player, Sean started off really well pushing Anthony all over the court, and took the first game at 12/10. However Anthony slowly fought back to get on top and take the next three games as Sean tired fairly quickly.

John Rooney (IRL) bt [5] Martin Svec (CZE) 3/2

The final match of the night saw Galway born John Rooney return from the United States to save the pride of the Irish entrants to be the only one to go through to the qualifying finals after another fantastic match, this time against the Czech Republic player Martin Svec.

Although the scores were fairly level all the way through John took the initiative to take the first two games closely at 11/8 and 11/6, cheered on by a small but vociferous crowd welcoming him back home, for his first tournament match in several years. Unfortunately John then showed signs of fatigue in his play after taking a 7/2 lead in the third and slowly Martin began to take control as he pulled back to take that game 11/9.

After a titanic struggle in the fourth when Martin took a healthy 9/3 lead, John pulled back to 7/9, Martin got game ball at 10/7 then after John pulled back to level at 10/10 Martin took the extra points for the game at 12/10. With the crowd cheering John on at every point he led 3/0, went behind 4/3, led 6/4 then 8/5, Martin pulled back to 7/8 before John finished off, with both players struggling to get to the ball, with three beautiful shots to take the game 11/7 and the match 3 games to 2.

What a great result for the small but enthusiastic crowd.

“I really enjoyed that match, although I think I had a little luck at the end, but then I’ll take anything I can get these days. It’s great to be back in Galway and playing again in front of a home crowd. So pleased to get a win, and hope I can do the same again tomorrow.”

John Rooney

[6] Bart Ravelli (NED) bt Phil Nightingale (ENG) 3/2

This was another fantastic match that belied the level it was being played at i.e. First round qualifying. Dutchman Bart and Englishman Phil really battled through the first game, staying very level up to 10/10. Bart managed to ease ahead in extra points to take the game 14/12.

Bart got more on top in the second and eased through to a win at 11/6, but Phil then seemed to find an inner strength to take the next two games to equalise at 2 – 2. The final game was an absolute epic, with both players playing to their absolute limit. Scores were very level up to 10/9 in favour of Bart, Phil saved a total of five match balls despite some very dubious decisions by the referee, but unfortunately could not save the last one and went down 15/13 to Bart.

An epic match spoiled slightly by some dubious decisions.

World’s top squash players contest
West of Ireland Open

Preview from Arthur Curran

The best of national and international squash players return to Galway this week for the ‘Paddy Whack Walsh’ West of Ireland Open Squash Championships.

Starting on Tuesday 15 and culminating in Sunday’s finals, the annual championships hosted by the Galway Lawn Tennis Club, offer one of the most substantial prize funds for a sporting event in the west of Ireland.

Sponsored by Garavan’s Bar, the championships attract some of the world’s highest ranking players for the overall prize fund of €10,000.

Confirmed professional players will be travelling from Britain, America and Australia, local hopes will rest with Galway’s former winner John Rooney, who is returning from the USA. Irish hopes will also rest on Arthur Gaskin from Carlow, who is currently ranked No 1 in the country, but it is Australian Ryan Cuskelly, with a world ranking of 36, who is hotly tipped to win the 2014 PSA competition.

The tournament begins with the initial qualification rounds on the opening two days where four positions are reserved draw to allow younger players with lower rankings the opportunity to compete, in addition to four ‘local spots’.

The graded sections start on the Friday and run alongside the PSA event until Sunday, open to all standards from internationally ranked to club level players.

Andre Davies, president of the Galway Lawn Tennis Club, says it is an honour for the club to host this competition.

“When you see the talent of players participating and the prize fund, it really highlights the calibre of the event.”

All events at the championship are free of charge to attend. For further details visit www.gltc.ie

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