Fencing on the rise in Dublin

FOILED AGAIN: Fencers from Pembroke Fencing Club.

Lindie Naughton

FENCING: With new Dublin leagues this season and clubs welcoming new members, the sport of fencing is experiencing something of a revival.

Pembroke Fencing Club – based in St Conleth's College, Ballsbridge and Cuala GAA club in Dalkey – has 60 members, who train twice a week for foil and epee.

"We have about 40 children who are training for the graded exams which were introduced this year," says Estonian coach Olga Velma, who has been with the club for five years. "That way, we can be sure they learn the basics. You have to be quick to be a good fencer, but it is the mental aspect of the sport that is the most important."

Not that it's all hard work – at the end of every session, members let loose their inner D'Artagnans with some "free" fencing.


Making a big difference to the sport in Ireland has been the success of the Pentathlon Ireland squad, with epee one of the five disciplines they must master. Olympian Natalya Coyle is the current Irish epee champion, while Kate Coleman Lenehan won the Derry Open epee title last week.

"We need more women – the sport is dominated by the men," says Velma. "It's very safe and we take all ages – we can start youngsters from the age of six."

* Taking place in UCD on December 7 /8 is the Irish Open, including an international satellite epee competition on the Saturday, where overseas fencers will be fighting it out for ranking points.

BADMINTON: Sam McKay is expected to play Liam Pingree in the M18 singles at this weekend's Leinster Juvenile Open in Terenure, Dublin.

In the women's singles, Kate Frost is seeded at No 1 ahead of Karen Butler. Frost is also top seed for the W16 competition, with David Dwyer No 1 M16.

In Baldoyle, the masters take over, with Brian Dignam seeded to face Shane Guildea in the M40 final at the Leinster Masters Open.

In the W40 doubles, the newly formed partnership of Elaine Fitzgibbon and Pam Peard are top seeds. Earlier this year, Peard won the world W50 doubles title with Sian Williams.

Meanwhile, Ville Lang of Finland and previous winner Carolina Marin of Spain are top seeds for men and women's singles respectively at the 100th Carlton Irish Open starting in Baldoyle on December 4.

Defending champion Scott Evans of Dublin is drawn at No 4 for the men's singles, while Letterkenny's Chloe Magee is No 6 in the women's singles.

SQUASH: Derek Ryan lived up to his No 1 seeding when he beat the No 2 seed Brian Byrne in a five-game classic to win the men's singles title at the Leinster Senior Open in Fitzwilliam, Dublin.

In the semi-finals, Ryan beat Irish junior No 1 David Ryan after dropping the opening game. Laura Mylotte won the women's title, beating Ciara Moloney in straight sets. Taking place this weekend in Sutton LTC and the Alsaa, Dublin Airport is the Irish Junior Open, with the finals tomorrow.

SNOOKER: Making quite an impact at snooker's second women's ranking tournament in Gorey was 14-year-old Emirjeta Doda, originally from Albania.

As well as playing snooker with CBS Dublin, she is an accomplished football player, and has lived in the capital for the last two years.

Earlier this year, she became one of two girls to take on the boys in the Stars Academy U13 tournament and, in July, played in the Stars All Irelands in Carlow.

She faced Claire Mill in her first ever senior match and, although she lost 0-3, pulled off some stunning shots.

Even younger is 13-year-old Emily Bolger, who took a frame off the experienced Annette Newman in her opening-round match.

In the final, Claire Mill lost to Michelle Sherwin. Next round is in Q's, Clondalkin on Sunday, December 8, with newcomers welcome.

VOLLEYBALL: Currently topping the men's premiership is the Ballymum Patriots X team, who remain unbeaten in all of their five matches this season.

Also unbeaten are UCD, who have a game in hand. The sides meet on Saturday, November 30 in a match that could well decide the outcome of the title next April.

Lying in third are last year's champions Aer Lingus, who have lost to both UCD and Ballymum Patriots X this season – as they did last year before recovering to take the title.

They play the second Ballymun team next Saturday, while Amber Coast play Garda.