St Brendan’s Community School, Birr, have become the team to beat in the Offaly Post Primary Schools Competition.
With players feeding into the school from Kinnity and Gurteen badminton clubs to augment the school programme, St Brendan’s has been able to field winning teams in both boys and girls at U-19 and at U-16. In the U-16 Blitz held in Banagher College Colaiste na Sionna, St. Brendan’s finished top of the table in both Boys and Girls Leagues.
Liam Pingree led St. Brendan’s as 1st singles, 1st doubles and dropped only 2 games of the 10 he played.. In a close match St Brendan’s edged out Gallen after some exciting matches.
Against Killina, St. Brendan’s scored a 5-1 match victory. John Owens and Aaron Duffy, Killina, teamed up to defeat Liam Pingree and Brian Dunne, 15/9 for the single Killina point.
Against Banagher College, Liam Pingree and Mark Flaherty, St. Brendan’s struggled to hold off Fergal Hanamy and Darragh Tierney, Banagher College Liam and Mark breathed a sigh of relief when they got the final point at 14-all. In 2nd Singles, Darragh Tierney, Banagher, defeated Mark Flaherty, 15/8.
St. Brendan’s had clean sweeps against Tullamore College I and Tullamore College II, giving them a total of 26 points. The complete St. Brendan’s panel was Liam Pingree, Mark Flaherty, James Coughlan, Brian Dunne, Kevin Fluery, and Diarmuid O’Carroll. St. Brendan’s captain Liam Pingree received the U16 Class B Perpetual Cup.
Gallen Community School finished in 2nd place with 22 points to earn the right to represent Offaly in Class C.
Banagher College and Killina fought the battle of 3rd and 4th. Going into their head-to-head match, Banagher College had scored 6 against Tullamore I; 6 against Tullamore II; 1 against St. Brendan’s; and 1 against Gallen for a total of 14 points. Killina had 5 against Tullamore I; 6 against Tullamore II; 1 against St. Brendan’s; and 1 against Gallen for a total of 13. After another titanic battle, Killina finished with 17 points to Banagher College’s 16.
Tullamore College fielded two teams in the competition. They were the only teams to have no club players on their squad, and since the boys only began playing in October, they are to be highly commended for their determination and fighting spirit in the face of heavy odds. The boys played each match to the best of their ability and went home with their heads high after their first competition. Tullamore I team members are Conor Casey, Mark Tee, Jack Dooley, and Damion Dempsey. Tullamore II were Julius, David, Eoin Manley, and Dermot Davis.
St. Brendan’s Community School dropped only two points on their way to winning the Offaly Girls U-16 title beating Killina 1 first up.
Players for St. Brendan’s CS are Laura Morgan, Niamh Collins, Robyn Grimes, and Ellen O’Grady. Killina I were represented by Emily White, Tara Phelan, Eabha Walsh, and Katie Dunican.
In the St. Brendan’s-Colaiste Naomh Cormac match, the 2nd doubles pairing of Mary Daly and Aoife Sweeney were the only CNC competitors to reach double figures in their score, and not only double figures, but the magic 15. Mary and Aoife had 2 points to spare against Robyn Grimes and Ellen O’Grady, 15/13. The other two CNC players were Aileen Gorman and Becky Troy.
Once the Killina I girls got past St. Brendan’s, they began to roll up the points against the other schools. Killina I won five games against Colaiste Naomh Cormac and had several very competitive games against Gallen CS. Killina I finally scored a clean-sweep, 6 points in their match against Banagher College. Saidhbh McIntyre, BC, put up a brilliant fight against Katie Dunican, but her efforts were repelled 15/12.
Colaiste Naomh Cormac scored their best results against Killina II, a 5-1 win. Laura Grennan scored the lone Killina II win against Becky Troy, CNC, 15/10. Megan Plunkett, KII, gave Aileen Gorman, CNC, a right run for her money in 1st singles. Aileen squeezed out a 15/13 win.
The final match with Banagher College and CNC ended in a 3-3 draw.
Gallen Community School, Killina II, and Banagher College were fighting to avoid the wooden spoon, and if Killina II could have taken 1 more game from Banagher, there would have been a 3-way tie among the schools. The crunch game was between Danielle Walshe, BC and Mikayla Mitchell, KII. At 14-all, Danielle scored the point that allowed Banagher College to leap-frog over Gallen and leave Killina II at the bottom of the table.
The Banagher College team was Saidhbh McIntyre, Danielle Walshe, Grainne Dolan, Sinead McLoughlin, Aoife McLoughlin. The Gallen Community School players were Aisling Grogan, Edel Coughlan, Hazel Hackett, and Hannah Molloy. Killina II was represented by Megan Plunkett, Mikayla Mitchell, Laura Grennan, and Emma Buckley.
The final schools blitz, the U-14 Boys and Girls will be played in Gallen Community School on February 22.