The Committee of Ballina Bridge Congress can be proud of the way that they have promoted the start of the 2015/2016 bridge season in the North-West of Ireland. A wonderful Congress that we have come to expect year after year.
Now to get down to the business of the competitions.
The Congress began with the traditional Mixed Pairs Championship on the Friday evening. Fifty-four pairs competed and the winners were the Irish International, Hugh McGann,partnered by World and European Championship player, Fiona Brown. Just one point behind came Maria Whelan and Brian O'Farrell. In third place were are own Gerry Scanlon and Josie Cawley and picking up the Best North West Region were are own Master pairing Tim Summerfield and Frances Walkin.
Congress Pairs and Intermediate Pairs Championships were held on the Saturday. Fifty-two pairs participated in The Congress Pairs where a second success within two days was achieved by Hugh McGann and Fiona Brown. Not too far behind in second place were Tom Gilligan and Billy Ronan. Ciara Burns and Mary Finn took third place followed by visiting partnership from England, Martin Garvey and Adrian Kenworthy.
The Intermediate Pairs Championship produced a very close finish. The narrow-margin winners were Kate Daultrey and Kazimierz Noga from Margaret and Patsy O'Kane. Third place went to Marion Coy and Deidre McCoy closely followed by Ray Nally and Jerome Tarpey. Forty-two pairs competed.
The Congress and Intermediate Teams Championships took centre-stage on Sunday.
Twenty-two teams competed in the Congress Pairs Championship which was won by Bernie and Jeroen Lodenwijks, Richard Elvin and Justin Corfield. Chasing them home were Martin Garvey, Adrian Kenworthy, Cass O'Donnell and Anne Brodie-Allan. The third team to cross the line were Patsy Gibney, Maura Hand, Brendan and Helen Sheridan.
Thirteen teams arrived for the Intermediate Teams Championship. John and Hilary McCrohan, together with Tom and Margaret Ginty took first place honours. Pairs winners, Kate Daultrey and Kazimierz Noga, were joined by Paul Kane and Michelle Moloney to be the runners-up. Congratulations to two of our members Josephine Moran and Helena Moran together with Margaret and Patsy O'Kane who filled third place. Josephine Moran and Helena Moran also featured in the Open Pairs over the weekend.
During the Congress Teams a special presentation was made to one of the participants. Margo McClure from Enniskillen, who will be celebrating her 99th birthday in two weeks time, received the gift to a standing applause and a very rousing version of 'Happy Birthday'. I am sure that we all wish her well and good health for the future. We look forward to seeing her fulfill her invitation from the Congress Committee to attend the 40th Ballina Bridge Congress, same place, same time, next year.