The Offaly Boys Doubles competition looked like it would be small. The night before the competition in Clonaslee Community Centre, two clubs were unable to field players.
Kilcormac/Killoughey were playing a very important hurling match which took away players from more than 1 badminton club. But, on the morning of the competition, the players just kept coming through the door, several with requests of, “Can we get our games played in time to go to the match?” The competitions commenced with 11 pairs in Division 5, 9 pairs in Division 4, and 7 pairs in Division 3.
At the top of the table in Division 3 are Kevin and Joe Daly, Killoughey, with 6 wins. They are followed by Darragh Tierney and Sean Hanamy, Boora, with only a loss to Kevin and Joe. Aaron Goulding and Conor Brady, Killoughey, are in 3rd place. Rounding out the top four are Declan Boylan and Shane Murphy, Boora. Other competitors are Conor Moran and Joe McCourt, Rahan; Kyle Cornally, Ballycumber and Darren Caulfield, Killoughey; and Johnny Minnock and Joey Minnock, Rahan. Johnny and Joey fell one point short, 20/21, in their game with Declan Boylan and Shane Murphy, of forcing a 3-way tie for 4th place. Everything is still to play for in the second round of the competition in February.
Last year in Division 5, Seán Hanamy and his partner could only finish 3rd, but Seán and Enda Flynn, Boora, are on top in Division 4 with a perfect record of 8 wins. In 2nd place with 6 wins are Peadar Robinson and Shane Corrigan, Kinnity. Paul Lynam and Mark Grennan, Rahan, hold 3rd place, but watch them next round. Two of their losses were by 2 points. Stephen Malone and David McCourt, Rahan are in 4th place. Only 1 win separates the next four pairs, Jack Molloy and Derek Mooney, Rahan, Jordan Coady and Stephen Cooney, Killoughey; Kevin Moran and Andrew Cantwell, Rahan, and Conor Buckley, Rahan. Also in the competition are Mark Malone and Morgan Grennan, Rahan.
Division 5 is tight at the top. Jake Smith and Luke Kelly, Clonaslee, are on top with 10 wins, but they only managed to slip past the second place pair by 1 score, 15/14 in their head to head with Shane Corrigan and Brian Jennings, Kinnity. Third place is held by Liam Thompson and Aaron Thornton, Rahan. Again, these are very competitive players, losing 1 game by 1 score and another game by 2 scores. Two pairs, Joseph Corrigan and Steven Coughlan, Kinnity, and Carl Coughlan, Boora and Jake Smith, Clonaslee, are level on 6 wins. The remaining league places are held by Shane Dunne and Brian Cooney, Killoughey; Alex Cornally and John Harkin, Ballycumber, but watch them, they lost 5 games 15/13; Johnny Horan and Oisin Carroll, Ballycumber, Aaron Lambe and Josh McCann, Clonaslee; Conor Gibbons and John Kinahan, Rahan; and Eoin Buckley and Conor Wyer, Rahan. The next round of the competition and the finals will be played in Clonaslee on 24 February.
Offaly players and former players were winners in the Laois Open Championships. Tony O’Connor and Paddy Quinlan, Country Club, won Grade 6 Men’s Doubles. Tony teamed with Helen Dempsey, Portarlington Parochial to win the Grade 6 Mixed Doubles.
Alan Conroy and Michael Mahon, Killoughey, won the Grade 5 Men’s Doubles. Liam Hynes, Kinnity, partnered Jennifer Cass, Abbeyleix, to win Grade 5 Mixed Doubles.
Chelsey Cox, Portarlington Parochial, and Bernie Molloy, Kinnity, were winners in Grade 4 Ladies Doubles. Andrew Cullen and John McCabe, Country Club made their mark in the Grade 4 Men’s against Tony Nolan and Declan Bennett, Johnswell. In one of the closest games of the tournament, Andrew and John won 21/19, 19/21, 23/21. Dolores Sheerin, formerly Rahan, and now Ballymote, teamed with Lorraine Nolan to finish Runners-up in Grade 3 Ladies. Dolores went one better with Stephen Herrity, Portarlington Parochial, in the Mixed Doubles, where they won the competition, scoring the same number of set wins as the runners-up, but finishing 3 scores ahead of Lorraine Nolan, Ballymote and Owen Wallace, Abbeyleix CYMS. Making the final two in Men’s Grade 2 were Alan Franks and Cormac Franks, Country Club, where they finished runners-up.