Clonaslee Community Centre was awash with the green and yellow hoops of Mount Bolus National School recently at the Offaly and surrounds National School Badminton Blitz.
10 and Under
Four schools, Mount Bolus, Gortnamona, Boher, and Lumcloon, contested the 10 and Under competition.
From their first match against Lumcloon, the Mount Bolus team of Jordan Coady, Kaythlin Goulding, Eileen Bracken, Grace Johnson and Mary Bracken, stamped their authority on the competition. Lumcloon were able to pick off occasional points, but couldn’t get a sustained run at the green and yellow. Lumcloon players were Eimear Brogan, Joe Brophy, Molly Mullen, and Liam White.
The second match pitted Gortnamona against Boher. Emma Caulfield, Caoimhe Condron Stephen Cooney and Eva Cogley represented GNM with Alex Cornally, Colm Ennis, Roisin Ennis and John Harkin representing Boher
After an entertaining match Boher came through with a clean sweep and kept them level with Mount Bolus .
Boher’s next match was against Mountbolus and after four entertaining games it was Mount Bolus who emerged victorious winning 3-1.
Lumcloon scored their first point of the competition against Gortnamona but Gortnamona bounced back impressively winning the next three games to take the match 3-1.
Mount Bolus then met Gortnamona in their last match and won it 3-1 again to finish on top of the pile. When Lumcloon met Boher in the last match, Boher were trying to hold onto second place and Lumcloon were trying to catch Gortnamona and Boher came out on top by 3-1.
When all the points were counted, Mount Bolus finished on top with 10 and were declared Championship Winners. Boher were Runner-up with 8 points. Gortnamona finished Plate Winners and Lumcloon were Plate Runners-up.
Twelve teams contested the Over 10 competition. These were divided into Championship and Plate, and further into A and B sections in each group.
Mount Bolus dominated Dromakeenan and Rahan I in Championship Group A. The team of Joe Daly, Kevin Daly, Stephen Dunican, Conor Brady, and Aaron Goulding survived two close games but they were imperious on the day.
When Dromakeena met Rahan I, the teams were competing for a semi-final place. Ray Fuller, Stephen Ryan, Darragh Loughnane and Luke Cashin represented Dromakeena while Kevin Moran, Johnny Minnock, Martin Looby and Ciaran Clavin took to the court for Rahan.
It was a dramatic match that finished 2-all match but Rahan I were declared winners on an aggregate scoreline of 81-74 proving again that even in a losing effort, every point counts.
Edenderry were as dominant in Championship Pool B as Mount Bolus had been in Pool A. The Edenderry team of Shane Cummins, Kean Farrell, Stephen Pendar and Alan Harte score a 4-0 win against Gortnamona. Against Ballinamere, Edenderry were equally in control.
The match between Ballinamere and Gortnamona became a crunch match to determine the second semi-finalist from Pool B. Shane Kearney, Paul Lynam, Niall Grennan and John Murphy represented Ballinamere with Peter Moran, James Moran, Abi Plunkett and Daniel Conway wearing the colours of Gortnamona Again the match finished level at two games apiece. The final decision went down to total score. Ballinamere were declared winners by a score of 72 points to 59.
In the semi-finals Mount Bolus and Edenderry were as dominate in the semi-finals as they had been in the pool games. The final became the clash of the titans between Edenderry and Mount Bolus.
Joe Daly and Kevin Daly, Mount Bolus, withstood the challenge of Shane Cummins and Kean Farrell, Edenderry, in the first game. Conor Brady and Aaron Goulding, Mount Bolus, dominated Stephen Pender and Alan Harte in the second game, winning 21-12. In the third game, Shane Cummins and Stephen Pender played clever badminton winning 21-12. The game was nip and tuck throughout and Edenderry went on to win 21-18, but still had to settle for the runner-up spot as Mount Bolus were Championship winners. In the match to determine 3rd and 4th, Ballinamere defeated Rahan I 4-0.
Plate Pool A featured Ballyboy, Boher, and Scoil Eoin Naofa. Ballyboy met Boher in the first match, and the girls of Ballyboy were no match for the girls of Boher. Boher team members were Mary Harkins, Ciara Rigney, Shona Kelly and Aine Guinan. Grainne Darcy and Ciara Hayden joined Grace Fogarty and Orla Sweeney represented Ballyboy.
Scoil Eoin Naofa stepped forward to meet Boher in the next match. This match was as close and exciting as the previous match was one-sided. Maurice Walsh, Emma Kealy, Danielle Carson and Bradley Neville represented SEC. After a very close match, Boher won and went through to a semi-final.
Scoil Eoin Naofa had to play Ballyboy for the 2nd semi-final spot and claimed the second semi-final spot with a win in the match.
In Plate Pool B, Clonaslee, a first time entrant in the competition met West Offaly an amalgamated team of Cloghan-Banagher-Lumcloon, who had only one member that had previously played NS Badminton. West Offaly were in total control throughout the match and finished with a 4-0 match win. Clonaslee NS were represented by William Murphy, Ryan Kilroe, Cecilia Flynn, and Emma Lawlor. West Offaly, were Sean Hanamy, Barry Moylan, Sarah Daly and Leah Mullen.
West Offaly marched on to meet Rahan II in the next match and won to get through to a semi-final. Rahan II met Clonaslee in the next match and executed a clean sweep. This earned Rahan II a semi-final spot.
West Offaly met Scoil Eoin Naofa in the first semi-final and after four very close games it was West Offaly who earned a place in the final.
The second semi-final finished in a 2-all draw between Boher and Rahan II but when points were tallied, Boher scored a 73-61 win to meet West Offaly in the final.
The Plate final was a lesson in the difference between playing badminton and competing. Boher went out to compete and placed the shuttle to their opponents weaknesses and attacked whenever they had a chance. West Offaly returned the shuttle back to their opponents but played very defensively and lacked an attack, except in the first game and it was no surprise that the Plate Final was won by Boher.
In the play-off game to determine third and fourth, the Rahan II team of Joey Minnock, David McCourt, Mark Buckley, and Mark Grennan defeated the Scoil Eoin Naofa team of Maurice Walsh, Danielle Carson, Emma Kealy, and Bradley Neville, 3-1.