The West of Ulster Junior Championships at Enniskillen Tennis Club proved to be a highly competitive event with participants coming from 13 different clubs extending from Belfast and Dundalk across to Donegal, Sligo and Manorhamilton. Again the level of ability continues to rise reflecting the increase in the number of clubs with resident coaches. Local Fermanagh clubs held up well and many of the top prizes went to the Irvinestown and Enniskillen clubs.

In U18 Boys Singles, Enniskillen’s Ronan McKeever knocked out the number 2 seed Paul Bannigan (Butt Hall) in the semi-final. In the other half of the draw, the number 1 seed Matthew Duffy, narrowly overcame Daire Dillon 3-6 6-3 10-8 to earn a place in the final. The final was a high class affair with Ronan coming out on top 6-3 7-6 in spite of a brave fight-back by Matthew. The U18 Mixed Doubles was a closely fought event with some quality tennis throughout. It was especially pleasing to see the talented Conor O’Shea lift this title with Laura Griffin. Conor played with great consistency and tucked away some punishing volleys at crucial stages of the match.

Kyran Maguire had a real tussle against fellow Irvinestown player Ryan Irvine in the semi-finals of the U16 Boys Singles and he only just managed to come through 6-1 3-6 10-5. Ryan himself had knocked out the second seed Cormac Coney from Omagh earlier in the competition. The final was won decisively by Ronan who underlined the significant improvements he has made under the watchful eye of club coach Matthew McGann.

Eimear Smyth played some excellent tennis to overcome Klara Hjalmers from Dundalk 7-6 6-0 and Sligo’s Sue Smith 7-6 6-0 in the U16s Girls Singles. However, it was Laura Griffin who pipped Eimear to the top spot but she had to play some of her best tennis to do so. Eimear suffered a reversal in the U14 Girls Singles with a 6-4 6-4 loss to Klara who then went on to win the final against Donegal’s Kathy Bannigan.

The U16 Boys Doubles went to the formidable partnership of Irvinestown’s Ryan Irvine and Conan Whiteley who won both their matches decisively.

The U14 Boys Singles was always going to come down to the intense rivalry between Kyran Maguire and Conan Whitley both of Irvinestown. This pair always contest close matches wherever they meet. Conan won the first set in a tiebreak 7-6. However Kyran redoubled his efforts and eventually clawed his way back to take the match in somewhat decisive fashion in the end. The U14 Boys Doubles was won by Donegal’s Conor Clarke and Sean Cullinane. The pivotal match proved to be their narrow win in one of the longest matches of the week over Enniskillen’s Luke Dillon and Jenson Hanna 7-6 6-7 10-7.

The U12 Girls Singles was won decisively by Chrissie Bahrani who overcame Manorhamilton’s Katie McManus and Enniskillen’s Hannah Davis and Ciara Griffin. The U12 Boys Singles went to Ethan Hance (Belfast Boat Club) who defeated Matthew Saunders 7-6 6-1 in the final. Irvinetown’s Ciaran Daly and local boy Jack Balfour also enjoyed notable wins in this event.

The Novice Boys Singles was won by Cavan’s Conall Ruddy by the narrowest of margins over Irvinestown’s Jay Maguire 6-7 6-0 10-7. Enniskillen’s Matthew McManus enjoyed a fine win over Charles Rodriguez from Donegal and this will give him some valuable match experience for the future.

The Novice Boys Doubles went to Tom Kettyles and Matthew McManus who clinched victory by defeating the Omagh pairing of Shane Maguire and Archie McAlpine 6-3 4-6 10-2.

A warm tribute was paid to the sponsor, Innes Redmond of Lakeland Veterinary Services who continues to support our junior competitions at the Enniskillen Club. It is very gratifying to see the emerging friendships that develop amongst the juniors at a competition such as this. Factor in the sunny weekend, the barbecues and the fun atmosphere and it was indeed a week to remember.