Ireland was on court twice on Friday in Poland against Romania and Norway at the European Junior Championships and managed to win both ties 3-2.
Ireland faced Romania early in the afternoon, first on court for the Irish was the mixed doubles combination of Paul Reynolds/Sara Boyle and they took on Filimon Collins-Velentine/Catalina Simionescu in a tough three setter. Paul/Rachael won the first 21-19 before narrowly losing the second 22-24, this set up a final set but it did not go the Irish way and they went down 16-21. Rachael Darragh was on court next and disposed of her opponent 21-14, 21-17 to put the tie level at one all. Sam Mckay took to the court but was beaten 11-21, 10-21 so it was up to Sara Boyle/Rachael Darragh to save the day for the Irish and keep them in the competition and they did just that in a tough three setter. Sara/Rachael beat the Romanians 21-14, 20-22 and 21-15. Sam and Paul took to the court for the second time against Panfil Eugeniu-Cosmin/David Nitu and had the final say and outclassed the Romanians 21-14, 21-10.
Later on in the day the Irish were back on court to face the Norwegian in another tie that went right down to the last match. Paul/Sara lifted their game against the Norwegians and won convincingly 21-19, 21-13. Next up was Norman Lau who just could not find his rhythm and went down 21-12, 21-12. Rachael Darragh took the court and gave the Irish one more point by beating Vilde Espeseth 21-12, 21-14. Sam and Paul played a great game and showed real improvement but still could not win their match against the more powerful combination on Sturla Jorgensen/Carl Mork and went down in three tough games 16-21, 21-16 and 12-21. It was up the woman doubles combination on Sara/Rachael to get that third point and they did just that in great style 21-14, 21-13.
Ireland then went on to face Spain (5/8 seeds who went on to beat Germany), Spain were too strong and defeated the Irish 5-0. First on court was the mixed doubles of Paul Reynolds/Sara Boyle who had made good improvements during the last two games and now faced Miren Ascue/Alejo Ibeas. Paul/Sara lost the first 21-11 but made a good effort in the second but narrowly lost out 21-17. Next on court was Norman Lau who struggled to find any rhythm and lost 21-11, 21-8 to Luis Penalver. Rachael Darragh took to the court next against Clara Azurmendi, the tall Spanish girl made it very difficult for Rachael to get into the game by playing steep angles and putting Darragh under pressure from the get go. Rachael lost 21-13, 21-12. Sam McKay/Paul Reynolds were next on court against Alejo Ibeas/Luis Penalver, the Irish boys played a brilliant first set an fought hard to keep the attack but narrowly lost out 21-17. The next set was much easier for the Spanish as they won 21-7. Boyle/Darragh were both on court again to try and get a point for the Irish but it was not to be and they went down 21-15, 21-18 to Clara Azurmendi/Isabel Fernandez.
This result put Ireland second in their group behind Spain who were the 5/8 seeds coming into this Championship, Spain went on to beat the 3/4 seeds Germany on the quarter finals.
The individual Championships starts on Monday 30th and the Irish will be looking to get some good results as they compete in all 5 disciplines.