Connaught players travelled to Clontarf Dublin on Saturday the 28th April 2012 to compete at the Irish Junior Inter Provincial Championships. This event has all the top Irish Juniors attending from all 4 Provinces of Ireland
The under 12 Boys were the team that carried the flag for Connaught with the top three Players coming from the sucessful Kilkelly Table Tennis Club Mayo. With Jamie Veigas[ Castlebar Mayo ] and Keith Hodgins [ Collooney Sligo ] making up the remainder of the team.
First up for the boys were Ulster, With Martin,Brian, and Keith playing for Connaught, in what was a close match both Martin and Brian won their three Matches. Keith Played some good table tennis but narrowly lost his games and Connaught managed to secure a 6-3 Overall victory.
Next up for Connaught were Munster, and the team this time was Brian,Martin, and Jamie. Martin suffered a shock early defeat to Munsters James Kelly and Connaught were facing a defeat, But Brian pulled one back to level the Match. as the Match went on Brian won his next two matches with Martin winning his next two it put Connuaght ahead, Young Jamie was playing well but found it tough going against Irish International players and narrowly lost, but Connaught managed to secure a 5-4 victory to set up a final showdown against Leinster.
Leinster had the top 3 players in the country on thier team but Connaught had the number 4,5,and 8. And all 6 players were Irish International Players, So the Stage was set for an exciting Match, and boy what a match it was. The team was Martin,Brian,and Eddie.
First up was Martin Williams against Evin McGovern it was close but Martin managed to hold on to win and put Connaught 1-0 up. Next Brian Dunleavy played Alexander Gillen. Brian was in a determined mood and quickly raced to a victory to put Connaught 2-0 up. Eddie Ditchburn then played Connor Gallagher, Eddie played some outstanding table tennis and went 2-0 up but Connor then Stepped up a gear and fought hard to get back into the match, Connor levelled it to 2-2 all, in a tight 5th game Connor went onto win to make the match score 2-1 to Connaught. Next up Martin played Connor and went on to secure a victory to put Connaught 3-1 up, Brian then played Evin McGovern and after a hotly contested affair Evin Managed to gain a victory to bring Leinster one game closer and connaught were now 3-2 ahead. Eddie was then up against Evin and it was tight but Evin eas now in top gear and won the match to level the overall score 3-3. Things were getting tight now and Alex was up against Eddie, Eddie fought hard to keep in the match but Alexander proved to much for Eddie and Alex took the Match to put Leinster 4-3 up, Connaught were now behind with the remaining two matches to play First up was Brian Dunleavy against Connor Gallagher.
Brian fought for every point and with great determination took victory to level the Match 4-4 and into the 9th and deciding match it went. Martin Williams against Alexander Gillen.
Alexander took the first game to put Leinster 1-0 up. In the 2nd game it went to 10-10 all.Martin was determined and hung in it then went 15-14 to Martin and a time out was called by the Connaught Team, Spectator's were puzzled by the call but there was a reason behind the decision and it proved to be the right one, Martin took the second game 16-14, and then raced to victory in the third to give Connaught a 2-1 lead.
Alexander then dug deep and fought hard in the 4th and snatched victory to level the match 2-2. By now the crowd were enthralled by the table tennis being played. and into the fifth and deciding game for the Championship.
In an enthralling encounter with twist and turns which had the crowd applauding every point the match reached a sizzeling finale, 10-10 Martin went 11-10 up but Alex levelled it to 11-11 Martin went 12-11 up and Alex again levelled it up, no Player was giving an inch with so much at stake. Alex then went 13-12 up and this time Martin Levelled it up 13-13. By now the crowd were on thier feet cheering the two lads, Alex took the next point to lead 14-13 again Martin levelled 14-14 Who was going to crack. Alex dug deep and took the next point to lead 15-14, yet again Martin kept his head to take the next point and level 15-15.
The crowd were glued to the match and the atmosphere was electric. Martin took the next point to lead 16-15,and after sustained pressure Martin took the next point to win 17-15 and secure the Under 12 Boys Junior Inter Provincial for Connaught.
The Mayo Association of Table Tennis Congratulate all the team and the NPC on the day
Well done to all who contributed to this success and a special thank you to Eddie Ditchburn the coach of Martin Williams,Brian Dunleavy and Eddie Ditchburn jnr. Who without him this wouldn't have been possible.