ADULT and juvenile badminton players across the Midlands have been at full throttle this past week. Juveniles competed in one Age-group Individuals Championship and an inter-county, while the adults were playing the final games leading into league play-offs in both Laois Leagues and Southwest Leinster Leagues.
Kilcullen Badminton Club played host to the Westside Juvenile Badminton tournament at which Laois and Offaly players were picking off points for their clubs and silverware besides. Ciara Faherty, Portarlington Parochial, was Star of the show on day one.
Ciara, only eight years old, was forced to enter U-13 singles due to a recent win in a Dublin “B” tournament. Out of the 32 entrants, and after some terrific games, Ciara claimed the winners medal.
Amy Gavin-Mangan and Rachel Ayres, Ballycumber, reached the semi-finals of the U-13 Girl’s Doubles with a narrow one point win over Mikayla Mitchell and Cliodhna Monahan, Killoughey.
However, their progress stopped when they met a stronger pair in their semi-final match.
Eabha Walsh, Killoughey, and Roisin Cockram, Boora, also played in the U-13 Singles and Doubles. Mary Harkins and Aine Guinan, Ballycumber, finished Runner-up in U-11 Doubles. Mary Harkins competed in U-11 Singles but was not among the medal winners.
On the Boys side, Diarmuid Faherty, PP was able to capture the singles gold. Donal Grogan, Boora, played a terrific game, but still came runner-up in U-13 Boys Singles. Donal and partner Ciarain Condron, Killoughey, came Runners-up in Doubles. Diarmuid Faherty teamed with Matt Geogeghan to win the U-13 Doubles Championship.
Under 15 saw seven Laois/Offaly Competitors. In one semi-final, the battle of the little kids, Donal Grogan, U-13, outscored Diarmuid Faherty to claim the final spot. In the other semi-final, Sean Faherty overcame clubmate Alex Whittle, PP. Sean went on to defeat Donal in the final.
Eoin Larkin, Rahan, won the Plate Final, defeating Ethan Cox, PP. The U-15 Doubles was an all Portarlington match. Sean Faherty and Andrew Meehan just slipped past Ethan Cox and Alex Whittle 30/29, to win the title.
On the girls side of U-15, Aisling Grogan, Boora, finished R-Up in the Plate Singles. Aisling and partner, Edel Coughlan, reached a semi-final in the Doubles Plate. Olive Kearney, Rahan, made it to the 2nd round of the Championship singles. Ballycumber and Rahan represented the Midlands in U-17. Patrick Cosgrove and David Scully, Ballycumber, finished Winner and R-up respectively in the Singles Plate. Together, the Ballycumber pair were Runners-up in Doubles. David Scully and Lorcan Kelly, Ballycumber, and Eoin Larking and Sean Grennan, Rahan played in Singles and Doubles. Olive and Amy Kearney, Rahan, earned the R-Up spot in the U-17 Plate Doubles.
Grade 4: Country Club of Ballyskenach met Abbeyleix CYMS in Roscrea. First ladies was the highlight game of the match with Abbeyleix winning two sets to one.
Country Club managed wins in 1st Men’s and 1st Mixed. Abbeyleix claimed the honours in the remaining games, 2nd Ladies, 2nd Men’s, and 2nd Mixed. On the scoresheet for Country Club were Annette Maher, Josie Quinlan, Ann Daly, Monty Franks, Brian Crofton and Donal Hogan.
Grade 5: Athy RFC travelled to Portarlington Parochial and had a good win by defeating a very young, talented Port team 5-1. Portarlington Parochial were Clare Faherty, Yvonne Vanston, June Keegan, Jack Geoghegan, Padraig Dempsey, and Alex Whittle.
Grade 5: Kinnity travelled to Carlow to meet the YM Grade 5 team. Two games on the night went to three sets and both of these were claimed by Kinnity ladies. In 1st Ladies, Kinnity won 21/16, 18/21, 21/11; and in 2nd Ladies the scores were 15/21, 21/15, 21/13. Playing for Kinnity were Bernie Molloy, Hazel Delahunt, Joy Delahunt, Frank Ryan, Liam Hynes, and Keith Bergin.
As the Leagues reach their final stages in Southwest Leinster Badminton, clubs are reminded that the Knock-Out Cups will start in early March. Entries are due in to the Honourable Secretary, Loftus Warren, by February 26. The Cups grading and handicapping committee will meet the night of. New clubs are welcome to join the League for the Cups.
Leinster U-17 Intercounties
Laois and Offaly teams represented the Midlands in the Leinster U-17 Intercounty Competition. Both counties are in a building stage, and ended up playing in Division 3.
Offaly were third seed in their qualifying group with Dublin 1, Kildare and Louth, and lived up to their position. Offaly began the group by defeating Louth 3-2. Their next opponents were Dublin 1, and netted a 5/0 loss.
Against Kildare, Offaly’s Mixed pair, Helen Norton and Patrick Minnock pulled out a 30/29 win to give a respectable scoreline, 3-2 to Kildare. Offaly continued to struggle in Division 3. Against a much stronger Meath team, they lost 4/1, but showed better against Wicklow, winning 3/2. Laois was another 4/1 defeat.
Offaly was credited with another 3/2 win against Louth in their last match. The Offaly team was Patrick Cosgrove, Ballycumber, Helen Norton, Killoughey; David Ayres, Ballycumber; Alisha Leonard, Deirdre Daly, and Patrick Minnock, Killoughey