European Championships Final Day.
Ireland entered the final day of the championships buoyed by the results of the last singles session on Wednesday, which saw Israel dropping precious points against Turkey. This meant that Gary Kelly was back in the hunt for medals. In the final session of the men’s singles, both the men’s Fours and Kelly had to record wins to advance to the semi-final stages. Their results were never in doubt, with Kelly winning 21-14 against Spain and the four skipped by Mark Wilson defeating France 22-11.
So we moved on to the semi-final stage with both disciplines facing tough opponents. Kelly faced the unbeaten Mark O’Hagan if Scotland, but he produced his best performance of the event to win 21-17. The men’s Fours were also up against unbeaten opponents in the form of England, and they lost out in the last end in a thriller 17-13. This meant that our four would contest for the bronze medal against Wales while Kelly would play Micheal Rive in the blue riband men’s singles final.
In the final, Kelly was in complete control from the outset, and he emerged as a convincing winner 21-10. The Fours were involved in a titanic struggle with Wales for the bronze, but the four of Aaron Tennant, Stuart Bennett, Stephen Kirkwood and Mark Wilson held their nerve to record a 14-8 win.
This was a fantastic event for the Irish team, winning 5 medals, 3 golds, a silver and a bronze. They also finished 3rd in the team competition behind England and Scotland. All bodes well for the future, and we move on to the Commonwealth Games in Leamington Spa later this month.