Sunday 22nd of December 2012 saw both Alannah & Tony Stephenson bidding for a place in the finals of the Leinster Open. The young Ulster talent, Alannah, appeared in all 3 semi-finals whilst older brother, Tony, was hoping to secure victory in his 2 semi-finals at the Championship.
The day started with the Men’s Singles with an all Ulster clash between Scott Burnside & Joshua Magee. Unfortunately Joshua retired due to illness meaning Scott would progress to the final on his 1st tournament back after his recent injury spell.
In the other semi-final Tony Stephenson of Ulster took on Leinster player Eddie Cousins. Tony stormed to an early lead in the 1st set and continued this dominance throughout the match and after 22 minutes secured the win 21/12, 21/7 to meet his fellow Ulster team-mate in the final later in the day.
Next up saw the Women’s singles with number 1 seed Jenny King, Leinster, taking on 1 of Ulster’s young talents Keady Smith. Jenny has a significant wealth of experience and in her early years was a young talent who secured the National title however this would not phase Keady. The match got off to a good start with both players trading points however Jenny’s experience showed as she edged away and closed out the 1st set 21/15 and went on to take the 2nd set and the match 21/14.
The 2nd Women’s Singles semi-final was the 1st of 3 that would involve Alannah Stephenson. After her brother had secured victory earlier in the day Alannah was hoping to repeat his triumph taking on another young talented Ulster player in the form of Rachael Darragh. After 30 minutes of hard-fought badminton Alannah secured her place in the final winning the match 21/17, 21/15.
The Men’s Doubles saw the 2 Tony’s, Stephenson & Murphy taking on Joshua Magee, Ulster & David Walsh, Connacht. The 2 Tony’s have only recently formed the partnership but have had much success in recent times and once again they where able to grind out victory taking the match 21/15, 21/17 taking Tony Stephenson into his 2nd final of the day.
In the other Semi Final, Ulster’s Scott Burnside & Conor Hickland took on Daniel Magee or Ulster & his partner Niall Tierney of Leinster. Daniel & Niall controlled the match from the start putting the pressure on the Ulster pair and after 37 minutes of hard-fought badminton where able to secure their victory 21/13, 21/16 denying Scott Burnside his 2nd final of the tournament.
In the Women’s Doubles the seasoned Leinster pairing of Fiona & Pauline Glennon took on the young talented Ulster pair of Alannah Stephenson & Keady Smith. This was always going to be a tough ask for the young pair in a match that saw Pauline & Fiona dominate from the start taking the 1st set 21/10. The 2nd set was a much tighter affair as the Ulster pair found their form and caused problems for the more experienced pairing sadly losing the set and the match 23/21.
In the 2nd semi-final Grace Webster & Caroline O’Sullivan took on Sian Williams of Leinster & Ulster partner Pam Peard. Caroline & Grace went on to win the match 21/14. 21/15 to secure their place in the final.
The Mixed Doubles semi-finals where the last to be played. Daniel Magee of Ulster partnered by Fiona Glennon of Leinster took on Ulster pairing Stuart Lightbody & Caroline Black. This was a tightly contested encounter with Magee & Glennon edging out the 1st set 21/18 however Stuart & Caroline would not go down without a fight and managed to take the 2nd set by the same score winning 21/18. This left it all to play for going into a deciding set with both partnerships looking towards the final. The more experienced pairing of Magee & Glennon managed to get an early lead and kept ahead throughout the set closing out the match 21/14.
In the other semi-final tie Eddie Cousins & Pauline Glennon of Leinster took on young Ulster pairing Ryan Stewart and Alannah Stephenson who was playing in her 3rd semi-final. After their recent success at the Ulster Junior Open, Alannah & Ryan where looking to continue their form however it was not meant to be as Eddie & Pauline booked their place in the final winning the match 21/15, 21/10.
The finals commenced at 1.30 starting with the all Ulster clash between Scott Burnside & Tony Stephenson. The match was very evenly poised at the interval and this continued through the set with Tony just edging it 25/23. This seemed to settle Tony’s nerves as he went on to take a commanding lead in the 2nd set eventually going on to victory taking the 2nd set 21/11 to secure the 1st title for the Stephenson household.
In the Women’s Doubles Fiona & Pauline Glennon defeated Grace Webster & Caroline O’Sullivan 21/12, 21/15.
Next up was the Women’s between number 1 Seed Jenny King and the unseeded young Ulster talent Alannah Stephenson. Alannah has been in great form this season and once again continued this fine form scraping the 1st set 21/16. Alannah went on to control the 2nd set from the start and after dominating the set secured her title taking the 2nd set 21/9 meaning both singles titles would be heading home to the Stephenson household.
The main event of the finals was the Men’s Doubles in which Daniel Magee of Ulster partnered by Niall Tierney of Leinster took on the in form Ulster pairing of Tony Stephenson & Tony Murphy. The 2 Tony’s started well and after trading points managed to edge in front eventually closing out the 1st set 21/18. The number 1 seeds did not lie down and after forming a narrow lead went on to take the 2nd set 21/18 continuing this form into the 3rd and final set and claiming a narrow victory 21/17.
The last final of the day was the Mixed Doubles which saw Ulster player Daniel Magee hoping to secure his 2nd title partnered by Fiona Glennon taking on her sister Pauline & Eddie Cousins. The 1st set went point for point with Magee & Glennon edging it 21/19 however at 3/3 in the 2nd set Magee and Glennon retired handing the victory to Eddie Cousins & Pauline Glennon.
Congratulations to Alannah & Tony Stephenson on securing both singles titles and to all others who claimed victory at the 2012 Leinster Senior Open.
Next up is the Irish National Championships in Baldoyle on the 4th & 5th February. Good luck to all!!