Division 4: Thurles 1 – 20 Ennis

Thurles 1 - 20 Ennis
Gerry Connaughton 0 - 3 Colm Forde
Rory McLoughney 0 - 3 Oisin Casey
Kieran Slattery 1 - 3 Declan Downey
Michael Murphy 0 - 3 Paddy Vaughan
John Kennedy 0 - 3 Martin Sexton

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Compliments of Colm Murphy

Ennis CBS travelled to unbeaten Thurles last Thursday in the Division 4 Munster Squash League. Hoping to build on excellent results in their first three fixtures, the CBS faced a Thurles team who were missing their two top seeds – Adrian Cleere & Conor Gleeson.

Martin Sexton was at number five with Thurles’ John Kennedy in opposition. The players played similar styles with strong running and powerful driving to the back. Sexton overhauled an early deficit to take the first, varying the game well with some boasts in the front court. Kennedy continued to play with intensity and it took some excellent backhand volleys from the CBS man to take a 2-0 lead. Sexton’s kept up the power, coaxing some errors into the ‘tin’ from his opponent to lead 12-6 in the third. Kennedy fought back strongly, some excellent backhand lob serving forcing Sexton on the defensive. The Mullagh man steadied the ship then and took a valuable 3-0 win.

Crusheen’s Paddy Vaughan faced the excellent young Thurles player, Michael Murphy at number four. This match was characterized by long rallies with both men possessing pace and technical strength. Vaughan’s retrieval ability was incredible and he took the first two, though not without great difficulty. Murphy’s natural squash ability kept the game tight and Vaughan was under severe pressure as the third game progressed. It took some excellent boasts from the ‘T’ to finally edge the CBS man home on a 3-0 scoreline.

The top seed match was Ennis CBS’ Colm Forde versus Gerry Connaughton. The veteran Thurles man showed all his technical ability with superb lob serves and top-notch ball placement around the court. Forde’s defensive, probing style was hard to break down and he took the first two comfortably. The third game was much closer, Connaughton’s tactical awareness and excellent soft lobs to the back wall keeping him well in touch. Forde’s fitness edge was a factor and he powered on in the end to finish with a 15-10 win.

Declan Downey was at number three with the powerful Thurles man, Kieran Slattery, as his opponent. This was the most exciting match of the night with the CBS man in a real battle with the experienced and skilful Slattery. Downey edged the first 15-13, before a similarly tight second game unfolded. Slattery showed tremendous composure to win a tiebreak 16-14 and his powerful, well-positioned shots created a strong lead in the third. Downey dug deep with an ultra-consistent response to bring it to another tiebreak which he, eventually, won to lead 2-1. Downey concentrated on soft drops to the corner in the fourth game, taking an unassailable lead for a hard-fought 3-1 win.

Oisin Casey was last on court, playing Thurles number two, Rory McLoughney. Casey continued his excellent season with a dominant performance, being particularly good with forehand volley kills. His alternating shots down both sides kept the pace high and, while McLoughney was technically good, the CBS man comfortably closed out 3-0.

The maximum point haul puts Ennis CBS in a good position at the midway point in the League, but the squad is in absolutely no doubt that there will be strong challenges from full-strength teams in January and beyond.

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