(Photo: Badminton Europe)
BEC Time Travel: We both remember it very well!
Date: 11/15/2020 12:01 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
This week, the Irish Open would have taken place. Due to the COVID-19 situation the tournament has been cancelled. Badminton Europe looks back at previous editions of the tournament and today we take a look at the 2017 Irish Open featuring winners Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore.

When a player or pair win their first title, it will be a moment that lives long in the memory. The year 2017 is certainly a special one for the English mixed doubles partnership, as they picked up their first title win at the Norway International, and followed up less than a month later with an Irish Open title. 

-We both remember it very well! This came after having lost in so many semifinals and finals! We were relieved to finally win a tournament and very much enjoyed the feeling of coming away from a tournament undefeated, Mairs said. 

The Irish Open is one of the oldest badminton tournaments in the world, having been held in Ireland since 1902. Many top names have been victorious on the emerald isle, and Mairs/ Moore placed their names amongst them. Describing what it meant to them, they said. 

-We would say the Irish Open is up there amongst our favourite titles. Probably a close second behind our first one in Norway. It is such a prestigious tournament with so many big names having won it in the past, we even took a photo of the trophy after we won as it had so many legends of the game on it!

The journey
Mairs/ Moore came into the tournament as second seeds, following their title win, and this was reflected in their feeling coming in. 

-We went into the tournament confident; we also knew we had quite a nice draw. 

The pair began carving their path to the final with two comfortable early rounds and then a particularly convincing win in the quarterfinal against the sixth-seeded Danes, Stoffersen/Ekelund, winning 21-8, 21-10. At this point, they were very pleased with how things were going. 

-We were happy at how we managed to up the level again and establish our authority in the match. This is something we had previously worked on as often we had a convincing lead and switched off for a few points and then found ourselves in trouble - you cannot afford to do this against good players!  

In the semifinal, they faced the interesting Bulgarian-Dutch combo of Vlaar and Tabeling. 

-We didn't really know what to expect. They'd had some good wins to get to this stage, so we did some video analysis to give us an idea of their strengths and possibly any areas to try and exploit. 

However, Vlaar/ Tabeling came out strong and won the opening game. 

-We probably played into their hands a little bit too much, we were doing the opposite of what we had gone on court trying to do, Mairs exclaimed. 

They needed to turn it around but were still calm throughout, taking the positives from their previous experiences. Mairs explains. 

-It was interesting as in the previous two tournaments, we had won five matches in three games, so we were pretty relaxed knowing that we could do it again. We just knew that we needed to get the tactics right and find a way to win - and after having experienced so many of these situations we were pretty confident we could do just that! 

They delivered and found themselves in the final. The number one seeds and home favourites, Sam and Chloe Magee awaited them. With Ireland not having had a medal since Scott Evans in 2012, this was a big opportunity. 

But first, Jenny Moore was in the women’s doubles final with Victoria Williams. They faced number one seeds, Emilie Lefel/ Anne Tran.

Moore’s two finals and Mairs’ birthday
Jenny Moore had played a lot of badminton in Dublin, entering into two finals, but was thankful that many of the earlier rounds were won in two games. 

An added bonus was the fact that Mairs had his birthday on semifinals day. Moore states how this was a nice way to relax before finals day.

-After we finished playing we went out for a meal to celebrate! This was quite nice to take our mind off the tournament and relax a little, something we found worked quite well in Norway. As we're both a little superstitious we wanted to replicate the same sort of feelings we felt then! 

Up first for Moore was the women’s doubles final, which was unsuccessful against a strong French pair. With only around two hours to get that match out of her system and refocus on the mixed doubles final, she talks through her view on this. 

-It's sometimes tough playing two events and having to play very soon after a loss, however, I usually find it actually helps me, it almost gives you another chance and even more motivation to win in the next match!

The final
In the final, Sam and Chloe Magee stand on the other side of the net. Despite this being their first encounter at a tournament, Mairs/ Moore know them well. 

-They are just fantastic people! As well as being very nice off the court they were also more experienced than us on it and have had lots of good results together. We did know however that they had never quite managed to win the Irish Open and this meant a lot to them. 

-We knew they'd be nervous and that the pressure was on them! We went on and played with complete freedom and managed to win a little more convincingly than we would have ever imagined! Mairs added reminiscing about this big result, 21-16, 21-13.

Over the moon
The emotional scenes seen in the photo atop this page demonstrates how much this meant to them. The Magee’s were gracious in defeat and got their moment a year after. 

It just kept getting better for the pair, as Mairs explains.

-It was so nice that all the hard work we had put in through our badminton careers was starting to pay off. It was similar to what they say about buses, "you wait for one for ages and then three come at once", And this did happen, as we went onto win another just a couple of months later! 

The celebration
Asked how they celebrated their win; it was explained how badminton players sometimes don't celebrate the wins as much as they should. This time it was a rush to the airport as Moore had a match in Germany the next day, and Mairs travelled home alone. 

-We celebrated by having a beer when we got to the airport. It is great for a small period of time and then you set your sights on the next one, Moore said. 

It is extra special when achieving these heights as a couple off-court, as they end by saying. 

-It means more winning when you are a couple off the court as you know how much work each other has put in and how much you both want to be successful!

Mairs/ Moore are on YouTube
Mairs and Moore have a YouYube channel together called 'Badminton Insight', which they created at the start of lockdown. It aims to help players improve their badminton skills, knowledge and overall game. 

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