Irish Junior Bridge
Release 2.19n
Recent Updates
8th May 2024 15:48 BST
0 0 0 0 0 0
Pages viewed in 2024
Appeal for players

Looking for Junior Bridge Players & School Bridge Teachers

Recent Junior Success & European Championships

Recently some of our juniors had some success in top level Irish events. At the Holmes Wilson, the most prestigious Irish Teams Competition, Luca Crone & Matthew O'Farrell came 3rd just missing out spitefully on 2nd to the team of our junior coach Karel De Raeymaeker, after leading for a considerable amount of the event

Also Isabel Burke playing with a non regular partner Wojciech Gorczyca came 4th. Well done to all the juniors and hopefully we will have more successes in the future


We also wish our teams good luck who will be heading to Wroclaw Poland for the 29th European Youth Team Championships from the 7th to the 12th of July. The teams are selected as follows

U26: Luca Crone & Matthew O'Farrell, Isabel Burke & Tom Gorey

NPC: John Phelan

U21: David Hoyne & Bence Orosz, Eve Connell & Klara Flanagan, Phedra Kingston

NPC: Margaret Murphy

Junior Home International Championships 2024
  • Junior Camrose Team
  • Peggy Bayer Team

This weekend twelve junior teams from Britain and Ireland compete in the junior home internationals in the La Mon Hotel in Belfast. The Under-26s are competing for the Junior Camrose Trophy, and the Under-21s for the Peggy Bayer Trophy.

Ireland will be represented by:

Under-21s Klara Flanagan, Eve Connell, Isabel Burke, Tom Gorey, David Hoyne, Bence Orocz, NPC Margaret Murphy

Under-26s Luca Crone, Matthew O’Farrell, Denise Walsh, Leah Finnegan, Sheila Walsh, NPC John Phelan

You can find full details of the teams and the schedule here, watch the play with expert commentary (from the Junior Camrose only) on Realbridge, and follow the results here. Best of luck to the Irish teams – they are in good form with Luca Crone, Matthew O’Farrell, and Isabel Burke all finishing at the top of the rankings in last weekend’s Holmes Wilson Trophy.

In the end, they did us proud, without quite managing to win the main prize. Our Under-26 team won seven of the their ten matches, including inflicting one of only two defeats on the victorious English team, and finished comfortably in second place in the Junior Camrose. A special word for Matthew O’Farrell and Luca Crone who came second in a Butler rankings otherwise dominated by English players. Our Peggy Bayer team went one better, winning eight of their ten matches (no less than five of them by a 20-0 margin), but couldn’t keep pace with a dominant England team that won all their matches. Once again Ireland finished comfortably in second place, and the best individual performer was debutant Bence Orocz, who ranked fifth in the Butlers. The majority of the juniors will remain eligible for the next few seasons, so they will have further chances to bring home the trophy, but they can be very proud of their performances over the weekend.

Thinking of Teaching Your Child or Grandchild Bridge?
Thinking of Teaching Your Child or Grandchild Bridge?

There is clear evidence that a having a bridge-playing parent is very helpful in encouraging juniors to take up, and stick at, the game. Many of our current top players are the offspring of bridge players.

If you have been thinking of teaching your child or grandchild how to play bridge, then the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) has a programme to help you. The ACBL is offering FREE tuition to children, including those from Ireland, via an online program called BridgeWhiz. Registration is currently open, and there are five different sessions, Monday-Thursday, and Saturday, with times suitable for Irish players. The classes start on Tuesday 3 October, and adults can attend the same programme for a charge of $140 per module. It is not necessary for either parent or child to be a member of the ACBL to take part.

The classes are delivered by fully qualified teachers, and use the Shark Bridge platform. The format is that the students watch a 20 minute video at any time in the week before the lesson, followed by a 90 minute session live once a week, in which most of the time is spent playing cards. The first module is eight weeks in duration. In Shark Bridge, all the students get to declare, so there is no sitting around getting bored as dummy. At least one Irish child has participated in the BridgeWhiz programme previously, and the feedback has been excellent. She enjoyed the tutiion, and continues to play bridge regularly, and quite successfully, on the FunBridge app.

Today’s children are much more likely to be enticed into bridge using online methods, and this US initiative is a fantastic opportunity which would be beyond the finances of the CBAI to develop. Further guidance at home from a parent or grandparent will give them the best of both worlds. So if you can, please give it a go and introduce your child or grandchild to this great game of ours. We REALLY need younger people playing bridge!

Summer Update
  • Europeans 2023
  • Worlds 2023

Recently some of our juniors went to Veldhoven, Netherlands to participate in the 15th European Youth Pairs Championships. The event started with a 2 day mixed and IMP pairs followed by the main event, 3 day pairs for each age category.

Luca Crone & Isabel Burke and David Hoyne & Phedra Kingston played in the mixed pair, while Matthew O'Farrell & Tom Gorey played in the IMP pairs. Luca & Isabel started well sitting 14th after the 1st session on almost 54% but unfortunately fell towards the end.

After a nice warm up Luca & Matthew and Isabel & Tom played in the U26 pairs, while David & Phedra played in the U21 pairs. The first 2 days were qualifying for an 18 pair final. Unfortunately none of our pairs made the final although Tom & Isabel did extremely well given they are both still eligible for U21. Nonetheless, they had another shot for medals in the President's Cup, a 2 session event for all the pairs who didn't qualify. Luca & Matthew came 6th overall and just missed out on a medal being the 2nd U26 pair and medals being given to the top pair of each age category.


Directly after was the World Youth Teams Championship in the same venue. Our U21 team got a late invite and the following were the recruited team of 5:

Aileen Armstrong, David Hoyne, Phedra Kingston, Eve Connell & Klara Flanagan

The team was quite inexperienced so it would be an uphill contest. It turned out to be quite a tough battle, but what can be expected it was a World Championship. Nonetheless they came very close to beating France – one of the favourites – but got pipped on the very last board.

Junior Home International Championships 2023
  • Dinner1
  • Dinner2
  • Denise & Leah
  • Luca & Matthew
  • Isabel
  • Luca
  • Matthew
  • Lucy & Xander
  • Aileen
  • Andrew
  • Alex & Ewan
  • Amy & Adam
  • Sheila

Recently our juniors travelled to Altrincham, just outside Manchester to play in the Peggy Bayer and Junior Camrose Trophies. The English teams were always the ones to beat and unfortunately it couldn't be done this time. That being said, it wasn't without the JC team inflicting blows to them along the way. The Peggy Bayer team finished 3rd and the Junior Camrose team 4th. Well done to all those who played, the teams were:

Junior Camrose: Luca Crone & Matthew O’Farrell, Isabel Burke & Sheila Walsh, Denise Walsh & Leah Finnegan

NPC: Karel De Raeymaeker

Peggy Bayer: Adam Murphy & Isabel Burke, David Hoyne & Phedra Kingston, Eve Connell & Klara Flanagan

NPC: Margaret Murphy

For Northern Ireland the teams were:

Junior Camrose: Andrew Newbold & Aileen Armstrong, Xander Todd & Lucy O’Kane

NPC: Wayne Sommerville

Peggy Bayer: Amy Taylor & Adam Hendry, Alex Millar & Evan McKeown, Alex Haggan & Ewan Todd

NPC: Sandie Millership

Luca wrote an article on their experiences for the most recent Irish Bridge Journal, make sure to keep an eye out!

Junior Event
Junior Event

The Junior Committee are holding an event for bridge players under 25 that want to learn bridge or in the process of learning. It will be on Tuesday the 13th of June in Templeogue Bridge Centre(address below) from 2:30-4:30pm. They will get to play some mini bridge and it will be a chance to meet people of similar age who enjoy the game.

The more the merrier!


Templeogue House, Templeogue Rd,
Templeogue, Dublin 6W, Co. Dublin, D6W F822

World Transnational Pairs
World Transnational Pairs

This summer two of our juniors, Luca Crone & Matthew O'Farrell travelled to Italy to play in the 7th World Youth Transnational Championships in Salsomaggiore Terme. They played in the U21 pairs and performed very well, most notably lying 5th after the 1st session. After qualifying for the final and 3 days of gruelling bridge they ended up 15th in an impressive field of almost 60 pairs.

They also played on the "Double I" team in the BAM(Board-a-match) teams pairing two Indian players. They qualfied in medal position but dropped on the last day. The final day was an individuals tournament which gave them the opportunity to play with the rising bridge stars of today.

Luca wrote an article on their experience here

European Youth Teams Championships Update
  • Everyone
  • U21 Team
  • U26 Team
  • Reviewing
  • Aileen & Andrew
  • Sheila & Isabel
  • Luca & Matthew
  • Tom & David
  • Aileen
  • Andrew
  • Sheila

All of our juniors enjoyed their time battling fellow juniors at the 28th European Youth Teams Championships in the Netherlands. Some great experience was gained. There were mixed feelings on the lovebridge tablets use for bidding but the juniors were glad to have the cards for the play of the hand.

Well done to them all! Luca wrote an article for the CBAI newsletter which can be read here

45th International Budapest Bridge Festival
Budapest Juniors
Budapest Luca Matthew
Budapest Luca on lovebridge
Budapest Sheila Andrew
Move "mouse" over thumbnail to change

Move Mouse over thumbnail to change picture

Recently some of our juniors, Luca Crone, Matthew O’Farrell, Andrew Newbold, and Sheila Walsh were in Budapest playing in the 45th International Budapest Bridge Festival. There they got to experience the new platform of lovebridge, where each participant is given an ipad and enters their bids and plays in the same way as playing on BBO. Their feedback was mixed but it will be good practice for them a the lovebridge tablets will be also be used, in a slightly different variant, at the European Youth Team Championships in July.

The juniors had a fantastic start to the Swiss Teams standing at table 2 after three rounds, where they took on no less than the Czech Republic Open Team. Unfortunately, they couldn’t continue the streak but held their own over the proceeding days finishing mid-table among many open and more experienced junior teams.

Worn out after the previous few days the juniors then played in the Pairs event. It was a rocky start resulting in both pairs entering the C Final on the last day. Nonetheless the competition was fierce, but Luca & Matthew were able to come out with a score above 50%. Andrew & Sheila were a brand-new pairing playing for the first time together in Budapest so well done to them!

Results can be found here under 45th International Budapest Bridge Festival.

European Youth Teams Championships

The 28th European Youth Teams Championships will be held in Veldhoven, Netherlands, from 19 to 26 July. We are pleased to announce that we will have two teams representing Ireland.

The teams selected are as follows:

U26 Category: Sheila Walsh & Isabel Burke, Andrew Newbold & Aileen Armstrong

U21 Category: Luca Crone & Matthew O’Farrell, Tom Gorey & David Hoyne

Former junior international Niamh Gormally will travel with the teams as non-playing captain.

The EBL will be trialling a new initiative at the event, using lovebridge tablets for the bidding and scoring and then cards as usual for the play.

You can follow the teams as they compete here and I am sure everyone will join us in wishing them the best of luck!

IBU Junior Team Places Fourth in PCU Trophy
  • Arrival
  • Team
  • Aileen Armstrong
  • Andrew Newbold
  • Isabel Burke
  • Luca Crone
  • Matthew O\'Farrell
  • Sheila Walsh

An IBU Junior team came a very creditable fourth in the third PCU International University Bridge Trophy, held live recently in Antwerp. This is a free bridge event for universities worldwide. The main objective is to offer students a platform where bridge is considered as a valuable instrument to develop international interaction and experience, with emphasis on fair play and friendship. Our team was Luca Crone, Matthew O’Farrell, Aileen Armstrong, Andrew Newbold, Sheila Walsh, and Isabel Burke. Well done to them all, full details and results can be found here

Junior Trials 2021

Congratulations to Adam Murphy & Tom Gorey, who had a convincing win in the junior trials held online on RealBridge on 28 August, scoring more than twice as many IMPs as their nearest challengers, Isabel Burke & Sheila Walsh. Aileen Armstrong & Andrew Newbold were third, with Luca Crone & Matthew O'Farrell fourth.

Full results with hand records are in the Results section of the site. Thanks to all those who took part, and to Karel De Raeymaker for very efficient directing.

The trials do not confer any automatic selection rights on the winners. Rather the results account for up to 40% on a scorecard of factors which will be used to determine selection for the 2021/22 junior home internationals and the 2022 European junior championships.

Watch "Aces & Knaves" Fundraiser for Irish Junior Bridge

Many thanks to “Aces & Knaves” director Jackie Paré for chairing an excellent Zoom session on Sunday night after the Grand Master Bridge Congress, and to local participants Tom Hanlon, Thomas MacCormac, Fearghal O’Boyle, and John Connolly, and of course all the attendees, for their inputs. If you missed it, you’ll find a recording here:

GMB Zoom Seminar

It runs for just under an hour. It was great to hear that everyone is enjoying “Aces & Knaves” (more below on that). It was also very interesting to hear that, while everyone is looking forward to the return of in-person bridge, a lot of good things have come out of online bridge, and many people would like to see at least some online play, and teaching, continue. Food for thought for clubs, for regions, for teachers, and for the CBAI.

In relation to “Aces & Knaves”, we are delighted to inform you that our screening period has been extended for a couple more weeks, so if you haven’t signed up to watch it yet, you can still do so, using this link:

Watch the Film

The film has already been shown in North America, and has been very well received. The IMDB reviews website describes it as “a documentary about mental gymnastics, competition, and cheating in bridge – the most complex game ever invented by the human mind.” Lots of very well-known bridge players feature, and Irish viewers can keep an eye out for an appearance from our junior team on one of their trips to the US. The cost of the stream is $12.50 (approximately €10), of which half (after a small platform charge) will go directly to Irish junior bridge, so in addition to spending an enjoyable hour or so, you’ll be supporting the future of Irish bridge at a time when other fundraising opportunities are limited.

Please do anything you can to raise awareness of this fundraising effort. Tell your friends, including your non-bridge playing friends (it might give them an insight into what it is about the game that consumes us all so!) and post the link on your social media. As John Connolly mentioned in the Zoom discussion on Sunday, for junior players in particular a big part of the attraction of bridge is the chance to travel and meet other players from your own age group. Obviously, it costs money to finance that, so any contribution that you can make to our junior effort, via “Aces & Knaves” or in any other way, will be greatly appreciated.




Junior Home International Championships 2021

The junior home internationals were held online on the RealBridge platform over the weekend of 19-21 February. England won both the Junior Camrose (Under-26) and Peggy Bayer (Under-21) trophies.

A heavy defeat to the victorious English team, at different stages of the competition, took its toll on both of the Irish teams. In the Junior Camrose, it happened in the very first match, and the team never really recovered, and finished third, having won six of their matches. The Peggy Bayer team, on the other hand, started very well, winning their first five matches to lead the field at the halfway stage; their heavy defeat to England came in the first match of the second round-robin, and, while they won seven of their ten matches in total, a narrow defeat to Wales in the final match saw the team also finish third, an agonising 1.5 VPs behind Scotland in second. Even though the results did not go as we had hoped, there were some notable achievements. In the very first session of the Peggy Bayer, Matthew and Luca bid a grand slam that eluded all the other Peggy Bayer competitors, and indeed was only bid by three of six Junior Camrose pairs, which contributed 13 IMPs to a win over the pre-tournament favourites, England. And in the Junior Camrose, Sheila and Isabel, although they did not play many sessions, extended their unbeaten run in the competition, having played for the first time last year.

Our teams were:

  • Junior Camrose: Conor Boland & Michael Donnelly, Isabel Burke & Sheila Walsh, John Connolly & Stephen Barr, NPC: Thomas MacCormac.
  • Peggy Bayer: Leah Finnegan & Denise Walsh, Tom Gorey & Adam Murphy, Matthew O’Farrell & Luca Crone, NPC: Margaret Murphy, Coach: Karel De Raeymaeker.

Northern Ireland had relatively inexperienced teams in both events, and finished in fifth place in the Junior Camrose and sixth in the Peggy Bayer. Their teams were:

  • Junior Camrose: Aileen Armstrong & Andrew Newbold, Conor Gallagher & Luke McGarvey, Lucy O'Kane & Xander Todd, NPC: Sandie Millership.
  • Peggy Bayer: Alex Scott & Ewan Todd, Evan McKeown & Alex Millar, EJ Atienza & JP Miller, NPC: Norman Lacey.

Our thanks to Anne Perkins and her team from the Scottish Bridge Union, who hosted the event online. It was a shame that the players were not able to travel to Edinburgh as originally planned, and to meet their counterparts from the other nations as they normally do. Hopefully things will be back to normal for 2022!

Junior Camrose & Peggy Bayer Trophy Selections

We are pleased to advise that the following teams have been selected to represent the CBAI in the junior home internationals to be held virtually on RealBridge over the weekend of 19-21 February.

Junior Camrose (U-26): Conor Boland & Michael Donnelly, Isabel Burke & Sheila Walsh, John Connolly & Stephen Barr, NPC: Thomas MacCormac.

Peggy Bayer (U-21): Leah Finnegan & Denise Walsh, Tom Gorey & Adam Murphy, Matthew O'Farrell & Luca Crone, NPC: Margaret Murphy, Coach: Karel De Raeymaeker.

We're sure everyone will join us in wishing them good luck for the championships.

Junior Trials Results 2020

Congratulations to Michael Donnelly & Conor Boland, who led from start to finish in the junior trials held online over the weekend of 29/30 August, winning three of the four sessions, and ending up with a comfortable victory margin, scoring almost twice as many IMPs as their nearest challengers, John Connolly & Stephen Barr. Luca Crone and Matthew O'Farrell were second going into the final session, but faded a bit down the stretch to finish third, and were the leading Under-21 pair. Denise Walsh & Leah Finnegan had a great final session to jump into fourth place, with Isabel Burke & Sheila Walsh fifth, and Tom Gorey & Adam Murphy, the only other pair apart from the winners and the runners-up not to have a negative session, in sixth. Results with full names here, while hand records and results in BBO name format are in the Results section of the site.

Thanks to all those who took part, and to Eamon Galligan for very efficient directing, especially during a challenging third session, when BBO had some technical problems which caused issues for some of the players. Margaret Murphy, Karel De Raeymaeker, and Dermot O'Brien organised the event and acted as assistant TDs.

The trials do not confer any automatic selection rights on the winners. Rather the results account for up to 40% on a scorecard of factors which will be used to determine selection for the 2020/21 junior home internationals and the 2021 European junior championships.

Junior Trials 2020

The Junior Committee has decided to hold the Junior Trials over the last weekend in August as usual, online via BBO, as an in-person event is impossible due to coronavirus restrictions. The formal notice of the trials has been sent to all potential particpants by email and may be read here.

The precise format and timings will depend on the number of entries received, but participants should plan for an event that may run from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday 29 August, and from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday 30 August. We will confirm the exact timings as soon as we know the size of the entry. The number of boards will also be decided then, but the event will definitely be an IMP Pairs competition.

These trials are part of the process to select teams to represent the CBAI in the Junior Camrose (Under-21) and Peggy Bayer (Under-26) home internationals for 2021, and also to represent the IBU at international competitions in the 2020/21 season (the dates for age eligibility are included in the formal notice). We would encourage EVERYONE to play in these trials if they can. A reminder (again it's in the notice) that there is no automatic entitlement to selection on the basis of the result of the trials, but that it is an important part of our overall selection process, accounting for 40% of the total marks available. The NIBU will also take performance in the trials into account in selection of their teams for the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer trophies.

If you wish to enter please send details for your pair, including an appropriate convention card, to before midday on Friday 28 August. Entries received after that time MAY be accepted at the Committee's discretion.

The Committee reserves the right to change any of the details in relation to the trials should circumstances warrant it.

Junior Bridge Update

Like all bridge activities, junior bridge has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. All the various international championship events scheduled for the summer have been postponed until next year.  This is a bigger deal for junior players, who run the risk of becoming too old to play in these events, than it is for bridge players generally. In the event, the good news is that the authorities have decided to treat this season as a "lost year" in relation to age-eligibility for any events that did not actually take place, so that anyone who would have been eligible to play in an event had it taken place this year will remain eligible for next year. The home international championships did take place, so we do not expect any change in eligibility for the Junior Camrose or the Peggy Bayer for season 2020/21, but both the European and World junior championships, scheduled for Italy in the summer, were postponed, so the revised rules will apply to those events when they eventually take place.

In the absence of in-person bridge, we are doing our best to keep all our juniors practicing hard and playing online wherever possible, and have had some notable results. The Junior Team of Conor Boland, Michael Donnelly, Stephen Barr, and John Connolly won a narrow victory over their Senior counterparts in an online challenge for charity to mark Thomas MacCormac’s ascension to the rank of grandmaster. The Scottish Bridge Union recently ran an online Open Junior Pairs Championships, and the Irish representation did very well, with Stephen Barr & John Connolly (Under-26s) victorious, and Matthew O’Farrell & Luca Crone (Under-21s) in fourth place, in a good-quality field of 42 pairs. A similar event, run by the Swedish Bridge Federation, is scheduled for 31 July, and we are hoping for further good performances.


Schools' Pairs & Teams Weekend, Galway
  • Pairs Second Place
  • Pairs Third Place
  • Pairs Winners
  • Teams Plate Winners
  • Teams Third Place

Well done to all who attended the Schools Pairs and Teams weekend in Galway on 28 February-1 March, and thanks to Tournament Director Hugh Gormally, and organisers Karel De Raeymaeker and Margaret Murphy.

The Pairs event on Friday night was won by the Galway-Kilkenny partnership of Isabel Burke & Tom Gorey, with a fantastic score of 77%, with Xander Todd & Josh Boyd (Belfast Royal Academy) second, and Adam Hendry & Amy Taylor (Carrickfergus Grammar School) third.

The teams event on the Saturday and Sunday consists of three sessions, with a knockout determining the final four who play off against each other to decide the victors. Isabel and Tom managed to scoop the pool for the weekend, also winning the Teams event, in partnership with Luca Crone and Conor Totterdell. Belfast Royal Academy had two teams in the final four; second place went to JP Millar, AJ Atienza, Xander Todd, and Joshua Boyd of BRA, who had the honour of winning the qualification round; third place went to the Institute of Education (Michelle Yang, Victoria Xu, Poyi Wan, and Lewis Kelly), with the other BRA team fourth (Alex Scott, Ewan Todd, Robbie Morrow, and Nathan Fung). The consolation plate event was won for the second year in succession by the Carrickfergus Grammar School team of Amy Taylor, Alex Millar, Adam Hendry, and Evan McKeown

Congratulations to all the prizewinners, and we hope you all enjoyed one of the most social events of the junior calendar.

Junior Home International Championships 2020
  • Adam Murphy
  • Denise Walsh Leah Finnegan
  • Isabel Burke
  • Junior Camrose Team 2020
  • Junior Camrose Team Reviewing
  • Luca Crone Conor Totterdell
  • Matthew O Farrell
  • Peggy Bayer Team 2020
  • Peggy Bayer Team at Venue 2020
  • Stephen Barr Michael Donnelly

The two teams representing Ireland at the junior home international championships in Newport, Wales, over the weekend of 14-16 February both did well without taking home any prizes.

In the Peggy Bayer Trophy (Under-21) event, we fielded a very young and inexperienced team, four of whom were making their debut international appearance, and several of whom have a further five years' eligibility at this level. They started slowly, losing to the strong, and ultimately victorious, English team, but recovered well to win six of their ten matches over the weekend, including inflicting their only defeat of the weekend on England in the return match, and finished in a very creditable third place overall. The team was (left-to-right in the evening function photo above) Conor Totterdell, Luca Crone, Matthew O'Farrell, Dermot O'Brien (NPC), Denise Walsh, Leah Finnegan, and Adam Murphy.

In the Junior Camrose Trophy (Under-26) event, the team suffered a blow with the late withdrawal of John Connolly due to illness, being replaced by Arran Bolger. The team was made up mostly of experienced players, but also featured 15-year-old newcomer Isabel Burke. They also won six of their ten matches, including a demolition of the reigning champions, England, but eventually faltered against some of the stronger teams to finish in fourth place. Scotland were popular winners of the event after a couple of near misses, especially as a couple of their team were in their final year of eligibility. Our team was (left-to-right in the evening function photo above) Stephen Barr, Michael Donnelly, Thomas MacCormac (NPC), Isabel Burke, Conor Boland, Arran Bolger, and Sheila Walsh (missing from picture).

Full results of the event can be found here here. All of our representatives, including John Connolly, remain eligible as juniors, some of them for several more years, so this was an encouraging performance, and gives us plenty on which to build.

And the weekend aftert the junior home internationals, one of our Junior Camrose representatives, Michael Donnelly, had a fantastic performance in the prestigious Holmes Wilson Trophy, the national open teams championship, finishing in second place of more than 120 teams, and only narrowly missing out on top spot. Well done, Michael!


Good Junior Performances in National Championships

Several junior players registered very good performances in the men's and women's national championships over the weekend of 18/19 January in Clane. As the name would suggest, these events always feature a large and very strong field.

Pride of place should probably go the relatively new pairing of Sheila Walsh & Isabel Burke, who came 37th in a field of more than a hundred pairs in the Women's Pairs, taking home the best Intermediate A prize for their efforts, and finishing ahead of some of the country's top pairs. This was an excellent achievement, particularly as this was 15-year old Isabel's debut appearance in a major competition. Another junior pair, Leah Finnegan & Denise Walsh, were not far behind them and would have won the best Intermediate A prize if not for Sheila and Isabel's results.

Conor Boland has featured at the top of so many national events now that it is probably no longer noteworthy, but he had another very strong weekend, finishing 4th in the Men's Pairs and 10th in the teams. And Michael Donnelly & Stephen Barr (the latter freshly returned from a four-month sabbatical travelling in South America) were on the 12th placed finishers in the Teams.

Well done to all, and hopefully the good standard will be maintained for the upcoming home internationals, in which all of the above will be representing Ireland in Wales over the weekend of 14-16 February.


Junior Trials 2019
  • Trials 2019
  • Trials 2019 10
  • Trials 2019 11
  • Trials 2019 5
  • Trials 2019 6
  • Trials 2019 7
  • Trials 2019 8
  • Trials 2019 9

We had a entry of ten pairs for the junior trials held in the Templeogue Bridge Centre over the weekend of 31 August/1 September. It was an excellent competition, very well run by Tournament Director Brian Lawlor, with all the juniors playing 90 boards over three sessions. Aside from several from in and around Dublin, we also had players who had travelled from Belfast, Limerick, Galway, and Dundalk.

The final placings were: 1st (and leading Under-26 pair) Conor Boland & Michael Donnelly; 2nd (and leading Under-21 pair) Adam Murphy & Matthew O'Farrell; 3rd Joe Carthy & Jarlath McDonnell; 4th Isabel Burke & Sheila Walsh. As the most experienced players in the field, Conor and Michael would have been strong favourites and justified that tag with a very solid performance, though Adam and Matthew pushed them hard with an excellent run in the Sunday session. The overall standard was very satisfactory, so well done to all who played.

The Junior Committee had communicated in advance that no automatic spots for international competitions would be awarded on the basis of the results in the trials, but rather than they would make up 40% of the marks available on a scorecard approach. A further 40% is available for regular, consistent practice and/or play, so all juniors are strongly encouraged to send details (screenshots etc) of their activities to coach Karel De Raeymaeker.

King's Hospital Junior Bridge Camp, 2-4 July
IMG 0381
IMG 0386
IMG 0391
IMG 0397
IMG 0382
IMG 0388
IMG 0393
IMG 0398
IMG 0383
IMG 0390
IMG 0396
IMG 0399
Move "mouse" over thumbnail to change

Move Mouse over thumbnail to change picture

Huge thanks to Karel De Raeymaeker for organising and running a special summer bridge camp for junior players in King's Hospital on 2-4 July.

We had seventeen attendees, including several newcomers to the Irish junior bridge scene, who enjoyed three full days of bridge tuition and fun, including accommodation and meals, at a very reasonable cost of €50. The venue proved very suitable, and all the participants enjoyed themselves and will have benefitted from the experience. We hope to make a camp of this type an annual event in our calendar from now on.

Alongside coach Karel, we were also delighted to have the input of top Irish player Paul Delaney, who delivered modules on a number of topics to the juniors, with a special emphasis on declarer play and defence. Our thanks also to Margaret Murphy and Dermot O'Brien, who helped with the tuition and made sure that all the juniors had a lot of fun.

If you didn't make it along this year, please keep your eye out around the same time next year for our second summer camp for juniors.


European Under-26 Championships Results

The team of John Connolly, Stephen Barr, Michael Donnelly, Nathan Doyle, Jarlath McDonnell, and Conor Farrell, with NPC Thomas MacCormac, represented Ireland in the 27th European Under-26 Open Team Championships in Norway, from 5 to 11 July. The team started very strongly, winning four of their first six matches to lie in seventh position after the first two days' play. Unfortunately, perfromance dropped thereafter, and the team only won five of the remaining sixteen matches, finshing in twenty-first place. Full results can be found here.

Youngest Ever National Champion?
4Fun Teams Winners 2019
Luca in Action
Move "mouse" over thumbnail to change

Move Mouse over thumbnail to change picture

Congratulations to Luca Crone, who was the Novice player on the winning Mid-Leinster region team at the 4Fun Teams final in Westmanstown on 25 May. Our sources tell us that, at just 16 years of age, Luca is likely to be the youngest ever national championship winner. Well done to him and to the rest (non-juniors) of his team - Máire O'Keeffe, Nuala Prendergast, and Deirdre Harrington.

Well done also to Stephen Barr and Michael Donnelly who came third in a strong field in the Arklow Cup on 26 May.

More Strong Junior Performances - Moylan Trophy

The weekend of 6/7 April saw some more excellent performances from junior players, this time in the Moylan Trophy (the IBU All-Ireland Pairs Championship), which is an invitation-only event and attracts the strongest pairs in the island of Ireland.

Stephen Barr came 6th, playing with frequent junior NPC Thomas MacCormac, while Nathan Doyle & Michael Donnelly led after the first session and finished 8th, and Conor Boland came 13th in partnership with Ciaran Coyne.

Excellent performances all round, which clearly demonstrate that this group of juniors is capable of, and deserving of, playing in the very best company.  Very well done!


Schools Pairs & Teams Weekend, Galway
Schools Pairs RunnersUp Leah Finnegan Denise Walsh
Schools Teams Winners St Vincents Dundalk
Schools Weekend Galway
Schools Weekend Galway 3
Schools Weekend Galway Coach Karel and troops
Schools Pairs Winners Josh Boyd Josh Mills
Schools Weekend Galway
Schools Weekend Galway
Schools Weekend Galway 5
Schools Weekend Galway Medals Trophies
Move "mouse" over thumbnail to change

Move Mouse over thumbnail to change picture

Well done to all who attended the Schools Pairs and Teams weekend in Galway on 1-3 March, and thanks to Tournament Director Niamh Gormally.

The Pairs event on Friday night was won by Josh Boyd & Josh Mills from Belfast Royal Academy, with Denise Walsh & Leah Finnegan (St. Vincent's Dundalk) second, and Luca Crone & David Hoyne (CBS Kilkenny/Holy Family CS Rathcoole) third.

The Teams event, over three sessions on Saturday and Sunday, was won by St. Vincent's Dundalk (Denise Walsh, Leah Finnegan, Ciara Manning, and Catherine Raftis). A combined CBS Kilkenny and Holy Family CS Rathcoole team came second (Luca Crone, David Hoyne, Tom Gorey, and Cillian Davin), while third spot was occupied by Belfast Royal Academy (Conor Gallagher, Xander Todd, Lucy O'Kane, and Min-Seog Kim). The consolation plate event was won by Carrickfergus Grammar School (Amy Taylor, Alex Millar, Adam Hendry, and Evan McKeown). The sessional scores from the Teams event are here: Schools Teams Session 1; Schools Teams Session 2; Schools Teams Sessions 1 & 2; Schools Teams Final; Schools Teams Consolation Plate.

Junior Camrose & Peggy Bayer Trophy Results
Banquet Menu
Gents Dressed Up
Junior Camrose 2019 Arran Bolger
Junior Camrose 2019 Emma Noonan
Junior Camrose 2019 Laurence Childs
Junior Camrose 2019 Stephen Barr
Peggy Bayer 2019 Aisling Kate McAuliffe Hickey
Peggy Bayer 2019 Monica Thorne
CBAI Junior Camrose Team 2019
Ireland Junior Camrose Team 2019
Junior Camrose 2019 Ceara Walsh
Junior Camrose 2019 Jarlath McDonnell
Junior Camrose 2019 Nathan Doyle
Northern Ireland Junior Camrose 2019
Peggy Bayer 2019 Ariane Kane
Dressed for Dinner
Ireland Peggy Bayer Team 2019
Junior Camrose 2019 Conor Farrell
Junior Camrose 2019 John Connolly
Junior Camrose 2019 Philip Martin Michael Donnelly
Peggy Bayer 2019 Aileen Armstrong Denise Kane
Peggy Bayer 2019 Leah Finnegan
Move "mouse" over thumbnail to change

Move Mouse over thumbnail to change picture

The annual home international competitions, for the Peggy Bayer (Under-20s) and Junior Camrose (Under-25s) Trophies respectively, were held in Belfast over the weekend of 15-17 February. The teams representing Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the CBAI (we had an extra team in the Junior Camrose) were as follows:

ROI Peggy Bayer Trophy: Monica Thorne & Aisling Kate McAuliffe Hickey, Denise Walsh & Leah Finnegan, Sheila Walsh & Ariane Kane; NPC Margaret Murphy.

ROI Junior Camrose Trophy: John Connolly & Nathan Doyle, Stephen Barr & Michael Donnelly; NPC Thomas MacCormac.

Northern Ireland Peggy Bayer Trophy: Min-Seog Kim & Aileen Armstrong, Connor Gallagher & Luke McGarvey, Lucy O'Kane & Xander Todd; NPC Sandie Millership.

Northern Ireland Junior Camrose Trophy: John William Carey & Ridwan Farouki, Gavin Irvine & Phil Martin, Craig Smylie & Ryan Lightowler; NPC Diane Greenwood.

CBAI Junior Camrose Trophy: Jarlath McDonnell & Conor Farrell, Arran Bolger & Lawrence Childs, Ceara Walsh & Emma Noonan; NPC Dermot O'Brien.

Unfortunately, all our teams came home empty handed from the weekend, but everyone enjoyed themselves and gained a lot of experience.  Full results for the Peggy Bayer are available here, and for the Junior Camrose here.

Ireland came a solid second in the Peggy Bayer, but a distance behind an exceptional English team, which dominated from the start. Northern Ireland were fourth of four. In the Junior Camrose, Ireland were competitive throughout but faded a bit to finish third, behind another extremely well-drilled English group (with two players who make a living from bridge, and coached by leading international player David Bakhshi) and a strong Scottish team. Northern Ireland finished fourth, but did have the honour of inflicting their worst defeat on the victorious English team, while the relatively inexperienced CBAI team was sixth of six.  

Well done to all those who played, and better luck next year for those who will still qualify for junior bridge.


National Mens' Championship Weekend

More very good performances were achieved by junior players in the national men's championships in Clane over the weekend of 12/13 January.

In a very strong field in the Revington Cup (pairs), Stephen Barr & John Connolly came 9th, ahead of some very well-known and excellent pairs, winning first prize in the Regional Master category for their efforts, while Michael Donnelly & Nathan Doyle finished 36th, in the top half of the large field.  

In the Geraldine Trophy (teams), Stephen Barr & John Connolly again featured, this time placing 4th in combination with recent juniors Hugh Gormally & David Synnott, and again won the best Regional Master prize, while the team of Jarlath McDonnell, Conor Farrell, Laurence Childs & Arran Bolger started very strongly but then suffered one bad round that saw them finish 23rd (a few places ahead of the current Irish open team!) to win the best Intermediate A prize.  In addition, Conor Boland was 5th,  playing on a team alongside coach Karel De Raeymaeker and recent juniors Kelan O'Connor and Wayne Somerville, and Michael Donnelly & Nathan Doyle were on the team that came eighth.

Well done to all, and we're sure that they enjoyed the event, and learned a lot from the experience. If you didn't play on this occasion, why not give the next national or regional competition or local congress a go - it's by far the best way for aspiring players to improve!

National Mixed Pairs & Teams Weekend

Well done to all the current and recent juniors who performed so well in the Spiro Cup (national mixed pairs championship) and the Coen Trophy (national mixed teams championship) held over the weekend of 20/21 October in the Templeogue Bridge Centre.

Both competitions, as you would expect, attracted a very large and very strong entry.  In that context, the junior players did extremely well. 

In the pairs, Kelan O'Connor came fourth, and Conor Boland fifth, each playing with a more experienced partner. Monica Thorne & John Connolly came 40th, in a field of 112 pairs, and finished ahead of several pairs who participated in the recent open mixed trials for next year's European championships. Aisling-Kate McAuliffe-Hickey & Jarlath McDonnell came 90th, and missed out by one place on the prize for the best Intermediate A2 pair.

In the teams, Conor and Kelan were on the team that finished 5th, of 63 teams, while Stephen Barr & Ceara Walsh, playing with Niamh & Hugh Gormally, took 16th spot. Michael Donnelly, Aisling-Kate McAuliffe-Hickey, Monica Thorne & John Connolly came 27th, and Leah Finnegan, Conor Farrell, Denise Walsh, & Jarlath McDonnell 59th.

Well done to all, and we hope that you enjoyed the event, and learned a lot from the experience. Coach Karel has been preaching for some years the benefit of playing against top-level competition in events like this. If you didn't play this time around, maybe you'll give the next national or regional competition or local congress a go! 

Junior International Trials
2018 Trials
2018 Trials
2018 Trials 3
2018 Trials 6
2018 Trials 8
2018 Trials Group
2018 Trials
2018 Trials 10
2018 Trials 5
2018 Trials 7
2018 Trials 9
Move "mouse" over thumbnail to change

Move Mouse over thumbnail to change picture

The IYBC held Junior International Trials for some of the major competitions of the 2018/19 season in the Templeogue Bridge Centre in Dublin over the weekend of 1/2 September.

Fifteen pairs of various age categories took part, ably marshalled by Tournament Director Huey Daly.  The results are set out in the Results tab to the right, along with a full analysis of the scores on all boards played by all the pairs over the four sessions.

It was a very closely-fought competition, with less than seven points on the Butler scoring scale separating the top five pairs.  Congratulations to the following pairs, who clinched the automatic qualifying spots awarded to the highest-ranked competitors in each of the relevant categories:

Jarlath McDonnell & Conor Farrell, who won the overall event, and took the automatic qualification spots for the European Under-25 Championships and the Junior Camrose for 2019

Monica Thorne & Aisling Kate McAuliffe Hickey, who came second in the overall event, and took the automatic qualification spots for the European Under-20 Championships and the Peggy Bayer Trophy for 2019

Any further pairs required for the international events will be selected by the IYBC at its discretion, using a variety of criteria, including but not limited to, performance in the trials.

The CBAI President, Peter O'Meara from Birr, looked in on the trials and said a few words, reminding the juniors that they represented the future of Irish bridge, and encouraging them to act as ambassadors for a wonderful game.

The thumbnails show some pictures of the event, including a shot of all the players with Peter O'Meara.

Our thanks to the players who attended, the parents and guardians who brought them, and the IYBC members who helped out during the event - Karel De Raeymaker, Hugh Gormally, Diane Greenwood, Margaret Murphy, and Dermot O'Brien, and Sandie Millership, representing the NIBU.

22nd June 2024
Junior Teaching Day
Templeogue Bridge Centre 10:30am
 Click for more information
7th July 2024
European Youth Team Championships
Wroclaw Poland
8th July 2024
European Youth Team Championships
Wroclaw Poland
Irish Junior Trials
Irish Junior Trials
#7184 Pairs Irish Junior Trials Sess3