After a friendly between Hamptworth and Carrickmines several of us planned to stay on and take part in the Irish Championships. I had also been asked to manage the event - an interesting opportunity as I hadn't even been to the event before and had received various warnings about how difficult it was to manage the Irish. In the event I missed the friendly match as my wife was unwell and we couldn't travel until the day before the championships started.
The biggest challenge in managing the event is the different culture. The event is run over eight days and the list of leave requests is as long as your arm - some people expect to work during the week and only be available evenings and weekends. As much of the event is run as two life knockouts you can imagine that scheduling is a challenge. Time keeping is the other notable difference - matches scheduled for a 09:30 am start are unlikely to begin much before 10:00 and sometimes later. One of the main championship games was delayed because the player concerned had requested leave for the first two days and, having been out of contact all weekend, hadn't thought to enquire if he might be needed first thing on the Monday morning. Saturday's play was also curtailed as there was a reception to welcome Mark McInerney back from winning the GC World Chapionships. To complete the challenges for the manager my wife spent two nights in hospital in Dublin which meant fitting in hospital visits with playing and managing.
The entry list had an international flavour as this coming week sees the bi-annual match between the US and Ireland for the Carter Cup so there were three Americans taking part as well as Hamish McIntosh from New Zealand, four of us from Hamptworth, and Jane from Hurlingham (who is also a Carrickmines member).
So to the results (in reverse order)
Handicap Plate - winner Jane O'Neill, runner up Brian Fisk.
Advanced Plate - winner Danny Jonston runner up Ed Cunningham
Newell Candlesticks (handicap 15-20) winner John Francis Martin runner up Cathal Cooney
USCA Salver (handicap 9-14) winner Tim Furlong runner up Nigel Werner
Green Cup (handicap 3.5-8) winner Richard Stevens runner up Stephen Strong
Stonebrook Cups (handicap doubles) winners Danny Johnson & Oscar Long runners up Brian Fisk & Pat Kennett
Founder's Cup (handicap singles) winner Richard Stevens runner up Tim Furlong
Doubles Championship of Ireland winners Simon Williams & Mark McInerney runners up Ed Cunningham and David Bent
Singles Championship of Ireland winner Mark McInerney runner up Ben Rothman
The Singles Championship was run as a best of 3 (best of 5 in semis and finals) knock out.
Mark McInerney beat Andrew Johnston +25TP, +26TP, +17TP
Ben Rothman (US) beat Hamish McIntosh (NZ) +23TP, +26TP, +26TP
Mark McInerney beat Ben Rothman (US) -17TP, +17TP, +3TP, +17
I should like to express my thanks for the very warm welcome and generous hospitality shown by all members of the Carrickmines club and in particular to Joe McGowan (Croquet Captain) and his wife Anne Marie for very kindly looking after Pat and I throughout the tournament and also to Leo Dungan (past Croquet Captain) who was always there to provide help and support and transport when needed. It's not often I get to stay with an Irish three day event rider and an owner of a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner :-)
If you are looking for a new tournament to enter next year this is definitely one to consider.