Birr Community School are continuing their dominance of Post Primary Schools Badminton in Offaly.
Led by Liam Pingree, the Birr team dropped only 2 games in the four matches they played. Against Banagher College, Declan Boylan, Banagher, defeated Daniel Larkin, Birr in 3rd singles 21/15.
In the match with Colaiste Naomh Cormac, Kilcormac, Aaron Goulding, Kilcormac, scored a 1 point win against Aaron Flaherty, Birr, 21/20, also in 3rd singles. Birr amassed their points by taking 6 games off Tullamore College and Gallen Community School, and 5 games from Banagher College and Colaiste Naomh Cormac.
Due to time constraints, and since Birr had a unassailable lead and Killina PPS were not in a hunt for medals, the Birr-Killina match was not played. The Birr Community School team were Liam Pingree, James Coughlan, Aaron Flaherty, Daniel Larkin, Aaron Browne and Shane Collins.
The real battle of the competition was the race for second place and a second Offaly sport in the Leinster play-offs. Colaiste na Sionna, Banagher College, Colaiste Naomh Cormac, Kilcormac, and Gallen Community School were neck-and-neck most of the day, and in a competition so close, everyone starts looking at “what-ifs.”
What if Aaron Goulding, Kilcormac, hadn’t managed the last point against Aaron Flaherty, Birr. What if Shane Murphy, Gallen, had gotten the last score against Conor Owens, Killina? Banagher College scored 6 wins against Tullamore and 6 against Killina. They drew 3-all against /Gallen CS and CNC Kilcormac. The win they scored against Birr gave them a total of 19 wins. Representing Banagher College were Darragh Tierney, Conor Redmond, Declan Boylan, Oisin Kelly, Caolin Kelly, Michael Dolan and Eamonn. With a score of 1 win apiece, the Colaiste Naomh Cormac v Gallen CS had to be postponed for another day.
Killina PPs scored 1 match win on the day when they won 5 games from Tullamore College in their head to head. Even though the game Conor Owens won against Gallen did little for Killina’s standing on the day, it proved to be a king-maker for second place. Banagher College and Kilcormac both kept clean sheets against Killina. The Killina players were Joe McCourt, Conor Moran, Conor Owens, Kevin Leonard, and Morgan Grennan.
Tullamore College entered a team with no club players, only lads that played at school. Armandas Timac became their hero when he scored a 21/18 win against Morgan Grenna, Killina, in 4th Singles. Mark Tee came close when he lost to Joe McCourt, Killina, 19/21. Mark and Armandas came within 3 points of Joe McCourt and Conor Moran, Killina, 18/21. David Garamszegi and Erlandas Petkevicius, came very close in their doubles match against Conor Owens and Morgan Grennan, Killina, losing 19/21.
The re-fixed match between Gallen CS and Colaiste Naomh Cormac had all the intensity of a final. Donal Grogan had defeated Joe Daly 21/19, and Kevin Daly had defeated Ethan Rowe-McCormack 21/7 when their match started in Banagher College. Shane Murphy, Gallen, defeated Aaron Goulding, CNC, 21/16, and Kyle Cornally, Gallen CS defeated Conor Brady, CNC, 21/19. Donal Grogan teamed with Alex Kearns, Gallen CS, in the first doubles, They fought valiantly but could only muster 15 points to 21 for Kevin and Joe Daly, CNC. The last doubles was a tough see-saw battle between power and guile. Shane Murphy and Kyle Cornally stood back, and calmly placed their shots to maximum advantage. Aaron Goulding and Conor Brady rushed around the court, blasting every shuttle to their best. At the end of the game power triumphed by 2 points, 21/19, leaving the match score a draw, 3-3. This result left Colaiste Naomh Cormac level with Banagher College on 19 wins apiece. However, Colaiste Naomh Cormac were an U14 team, playing up for experience as a challenge team, so were unable to accept a trophy or a place in the U16 Leinster Finals. Therefore, Colaiste na Sionna, Banagher College, goes forward to represent Offaly in the Leinster competition.
The girls competition was much tighter than that of the boys. Colaiste na Sionna, Banagher College, played the role of Tullamore in the boys, with a team that played only at school. They came within 1 point of a draw with Gallen CS, but Ava Flynn, Gallen, held on for a 21/20 3rd singles win against Annie Atherton.
Banagher College’s 2 wins came in fourth singles when Sinead McLaghlin defeated Emma Maher, Gallen CS, and Sara Perwit and Annie Atherton, Banagher, defeated Emma Maher and Ava Flynn, Gallen, 21/20. The Banagher College team was Saidhbh McIntyre, Sara Pewit; Annie Atheron, and Sinead McLaghlin. Gallen were represented by Roisin Cockram, Ava Flynn, Anna Grehan, Avril Spain and Emma Maher. Gallen were competitive in all but one match, scoring a total of 10 wins.
The first round of the girls games was an indication of how tight the competition might be. Birr CS and Gallen CS played a 3-all draw. CNC Kilcormac and Killina PPS also played out a 3-all draw. In their second match, Gallen had their finest hour, defeating Banagher College 4-2. In this match Ava Flynn won her game by 1 score, but Emma Maher and Ava lost their doubles by 1 score. The remainder of the games weren’t close.
In a competition as close as the girls with the top 3 schools scoring 17, 16, and 15 wins, every game is crucial, but one of the deciders was the match between Birr CS and CNC Kilcormac. Birr started very well and looked set to sweep the series until Becky Troy, CNC, defeated Aisling Meaney in 4th singles 21/17. Robyn Grimes and Niamh Carroll, Birr, won the first doubles against, Diane Mahon and Siofra McCann, CNC, 21/5, but Becky Troy and Aileen Gorman CNC, stepped up to defeat Rebecca Carroll and Sorcha Dempsey 21/12.
The 2 game margin of victory for Birr was the same 2-game margin they hekd over CNC Kilcormac at the end of the competition. In their next match, Killina scored a clean sweep against Banagher College. There were no games in this match that could have gone either way.
The first singles in the Gallen v CNC was a cracker. Diane Mahon, CNC and Roisin Cockram, Gallen played point for point through most of the match with the lead changing often until Diane finally ran out a 2 point winner, 21/19. None of the remaining games were close.
Colaiste Naomh Cormac won 4-2. Birr CS took all 6 games from Colaiste na Sionna Banagher College in the next match. Ellen O’Grady substituted for Aisling Meaney in 2nd Doubles. In their next match, Killina scored 5 wins against Killina. Roisin Cockram scored a 21/17 win against Mikayla Mitchell for Gallen’s sole win.
Kilcormac came back into the reckoning in their last match with a 6/0 win against Banagher College. This left them completed with 15 points. Players for Colaiste Naomh Cormac were Diane Mahon, Aileen Gorman, Siofra McCann, and Becky Troy.
Going into the final match of the competition, Killina were only 1 behind Kilcormac on 14 points and Birr trailed further back on 13. Robyn Grimes, Birr, stole first singles from Mikayla Mitchell, Killina, 21/19. Eabha Walsh, Killina, had a substantial win against Niamh Carroll, Birr. Rebecca Carroll, Birr, stepped up with an identical win against Katie Dunican, Killina. Sorcha Dempsey, Birr, defeated Megan Plunkett, Killina, 21/10. Robyn Grimes and Niamh Carroll, Birr, outscored Mikayla Mitchell and Eabha Walsh, Killina, 21/13
At this stage Birr were on 17 points and couldn’t be caught for 1st place, but if Killina wanted to finish in 2nd place and qualify for the Leinsters, they had to win the next game. Katie Dunican and Megan Plunkett, Killina, faced off against Aisling Meaney and Ellen O’Grady, Birr. The game was close and exciting. The pairs shared the lead as tyhe game nprogressed. Neither pair could gain a substantial advantage. Finally Megan and Katie eeked out a 21/19 win, which gave Killina 16 points and second place, with a 1 point advantage over Colaiste Naomh Cormac. Laura Grennan was the fifth member of the Killina team, but didn’t see action in the final match.
Good luck to the Birr and Banagher boys and the Birr and Killina girls as they represent Offaly in the Leinster finals later this month..