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McDonnell gives inter-provincial selectors something to consider

 

By John Flack

Cian McDonnell has forced his way into contention for a place in the Ulster senior inter-provincial team after continuing his hugely impressive season in Ballycastle on Saturday.

The 16-year-old Hawarden player defeated the second seed and former winner Aaron Stubbs 6-1, 7-5 to lift the Co Antrim senior championship for the first time.

In doing so, McDonnell didn’t drop a set in his entire campaign after earlier claiming the boys’ Under 18 Antrim title in equally dominant fashion.

He also earned his first junior world ranking point by reaching the second round of the ITF tournament in Malahide.

McDonnell reached the final of the Ulster Senior Open for the first time last month and, a fortnight earlier, inflicted a rare defeat on current senior inter-pro player Alex Watt in the Windsor Super Set decider.

All things considered, the teenager will be difficult to leave out when the selectors name their team for next month’s series in Belfast.

A new name will also be inscribed on the ladies’ Co Antrim championship trophy after Caitlin McCullough defeated title holder and top seed Kerri Russell 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

The Windsor player has now claimed two major crowns this season, having earlier won the prestigious North of Ireland championship for the first time.

Along with her twin sister Annie, Caitlin should be a among the first names in the women’s line-up for this year’s senior inter-pros at Windsor.

The siblings, who won the doubles title at Ballycastle, were unable to take part in last year’s series due to scholarship commitments in the US but are available for selection this season.

Belfast Telegraph

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