THE COUNTY badminton finals were held in Taghmon Community Centre recently. The format changed this year and we had a boys' team event and a girls' team event.
Grateful thanks from the County Board to Laurena Kent and the local committee for the smooth running of the events. A big thank you to all who helped out and made it such a succcess, with a special word for Imelda and Caroline.
The weather on the morning of the competition did not help much as the roads leading to Taghmon were very frosty and dangerous, and on top of that there were a few power cuts during the morning as well to add to the hassles and hurdles the organisers had to contend with.
Still, the games got under way and during the day a total of eleven teams and 66 children competed and played 24 games in all. Well done to each and every one of them and to the young people who umpired and helped out. The young competitors gave one hundred per cent in every game and displayed great fair play throughout the tournament.
Here the teams competing were NewbawnRaheen, Taghmon, Glynn-Barntown and Kilrush-Askamore. In the first semi-final, Newbawn-Raheen took on last year's All-Ireland winners, Taghmon.
The experience of the Taghmon girls shone through and proved too strong for their opponents. Clodagh Dunne defeated Rachel Buckley 21-5, 21-3 while Clodagh Dempsey defeated Oonagh Murphy 21-1, 21-4.
Elsa Dunlop-Doyle and Rachel Murray defeated Caoimhe Doyle and Jane Doyle 216, 21-6 to see them safely through to the final on a 3-0 scoreline.
In the other semi-final, Glynn-Barntown took on Kilrush-Askamore. This was a nail-biting match with the singles players battling it out and making each point count. Here Georgina Steel (G-B) defeated Aoife Kehoe 13-21, 2113, 21-13 while Jai Kiera McNamara (G-B) lost out 18-21, 21-18, 21-17 to Niamh Doyle.
After the singles, both teams were even on a point each, leaving it all down to the girls' doubles. Here Glynn-Barntown's Andrea Dempsey and Clodagh Jackman defeated Orla Byrne and Ellen Doran 22-20, 21-10 to see them through to the final to face Taghmon.
As already stated, Taghmon's vast experience saw them come through all their matches in the final and they won out on a 3-0 scoreline to win the first girls' Under-15 county badminton title and the chance to proceed to the Leinster rounds.
In the final Clodagh Dunne defeated Jade Fitzpatrick 21-4, 21-6 while Clodagh Dempsey defeated Georgina Steel 21-16, 214. Rachel Murray and Elsa Dunlop-Doyle then finished up with a clean sweep, taking their match against Emma Kiely and Clodagh Jackman on a 21-9, 21-7 scoreline.
Here we had Newbawn-Raheen, KilrushAskamore 'A' and 'B', Ring of Hook, GlynnBarntown 'A' and 'B' and Clonroche-Poulpeasty in action. In round two of the competition, Newbawn-Raheen took on KilrushAskamore 'A'.
At the end of the singles competitions, the sides were level 1-1 and it was all down to the doubles match which went the way of the Kilrush-Askamore side, but was a nail-biting finish with just a few points between the pairings.
Singles results saw K-A's Ned O'Neill defeat Shane Delaney 21-14, 21-15 while his teammate, Ollie McLellan, went down 9-21, 8-21 to Liam Daly from Newbawn-Raheen. There were tense moments in the doubles match which Kilrush-Askamore's Peter O'Neill and John Doyle win 21-19, 21-18 to clinch the match on a 2-1 scoreline.
The Ring of Hook took on Glynn-Barntown 'B' in a round two match. The Ring of Hook were the more dominant side in this encounter and they took all the matches to see them through to the semi-final.
Patrick O'Regan defeated Colm Kiely 21-5, 21-1 while Brian Furlong defeated Ben Barnes 21-5, 21-4. The doubles pairing of Dylan Hodman and Joseph Hanlon defeated Ryan Kehoe and Adam Mahon 21-16, 18-21, 21-16. The final score was 3-0 to the Ring of Hook.
In round two also, Glynn-Barntown 'A' took on Kilrush-Askamore 'B'. Again we had the sides level at the end of the singles match, one point each and all to play for in the doubles which saw the Kilrush-Askamore side take it to see them through to the semi-finals on a 2-1 scoreline.
Results of matches were as follows: Kilrush-Askamore's Martin Murphy defeated Ken Riordan 21-15, 8-21, 21-8 while Seán Kirwan lost out to Adam Wogan 21-16, 2110. Their doubles pairing of Conor Byrne and Dean Lancaster saw off the challenge of Eoghan Mahon and Dylan Kehoe on a 21-17, 21-15 scoreline to finish 2-1 ahead.
On to the sem-finals and in the first one Clonroche-Poulpeasty took on the KilrushAskamore 'A' team. As with most of the other games, the sides were level 1-1 after the singles matches and it was right down to the doubles pairings to pull it off for their respective teams.
This time lady luck shone on the Clonroche-Poulpeasty side who clinched the last game and won out on a 2-1 scoreline. Scorers in the games saw C-P's Nicholas Kavanagh lose out to Ned O'Neill 21-23, 211, 19-21 while David Dempsey had a 21-7, 21-18 win over David Dee.
The doubles pairing of James Dempsey and Gearóid Blackburn saw off the challenge of Peter O'Neill and John Doyle on a 21-7, 11-21, 21-12 scoreline.
The second semi-final featured the Ring of Hook and Kilrush-Askamore 'B'. The Ring of Hook came through the singles matches which were keenly contested by their opponents to see them go 2-0 up, but KilrushAskamore fought back to claim the doubles match to see the Hook go through to the final on a 2-1 scoreline.
In the singles matches, the Hook's Patrick O'Regan defeated Martin Murphy 21-19, 2220 while Brian Furlong defeated Liam Sheehan 21-7, 22-5. Kilrush-Askamore won the doubles and the pairing of Conor Byrne and Dean Lancaster defeated Dylan Hodman and Joseph Hanlon 21-15, 21-17.
The final saw Clonroche-Poulpeasty take on the Ring of Hook. This was a first for the Hook Area in the badminton competition while Clonroche-Poulpeasty have competed over the years.
The first singles match saw the Ring of Hook get off to a great start when Patrick O'Regan defeated Nicholas Kavanagh 21-4, 21-4, and his team-mate, Brian Furlong, put the side 2-0 up with a 21-11, 21-4 win over David Dempsey to leave them in a comfortable position.
Clonroche-Poulpeasty kept battling away and clinched the doubles match, with James Dempsey and Gearóid Blackburn defeating Dylan Hodman and Joseph Hanlon on a 2112, 21-18 scoreline.
The final score was 2-1 and the first county Under-15 boys' badminton champions were the Ring of Hook, with the gallant ClonrochePoulpeasty team taking the runners-up medals.