THE WEXFORD Under-17 team travelled to the National Badminton Centre in Baldoyle to take part in the Leinster inter-county championships. Representing Wexford were Noel Dunne, Declan Carroll, Ryan Cogley, Brandon Cogley, Karen Butler, Clodagh Dunne, Karla Grabenhorst and Clodagh Dempsey.
Wexford faced Laois in their first match. Wexford made a good start by winning all games relatively comfortably. Noel Dunne from Taghmon took the boys' singles and Karen Butler from Davidstown won the girls' singles.
Noel, playing with Declan Carroll, also from Taghmon, won their doubles, and Karen teamed up with Karla Grabenhorst, from Gorey, to win the girls' doubles. The Taghmon partnership of Ryan Cogley and Clodagh Dempsey finished off the tie in style by winning the mixed doubles. The final result was a 5-0 win for Wexford.
In the next round, Wexford played Kildare who put up a tougher challenge than the Laois team. Noel Dunne won his singles comfortably but Karen Butler from Davidstown was pushed hard by Kildare's Laura Kinnerk. Karen did manage to secure the game by 30 points to 23 in the end though. Wexford took the boys' and girls' doubles again to take the overall game, but unfortunately lost the final mixed doubles match to finish with a 4-1 overall victory.
The same scoreline was recorded against Offaly in the next round. Again Noel Dunne and Karen Butler took the singles. Noel Dunne and Declan Carroll won the boys' doubles, and Karen Butler and Karla Grabenhorst cruised through their doubles match. Again it was the mixed doubles that Wexford lost, but only narrowly, by three points. Another 4-1 overall victory put Wexford through to the final where they faced perennial rivals Dublin for the title.
Noel Dunne once again got Wexford off to the best start with a comfortable victory in the singles, beating Adam Raitt. Unfortunately, Karen Butler lost her singles to Nora O'Gorman 30-27, meaning the score overall was 1-1 going into the doubles.
Noel Dunne and Declan Carroll won their game to put Wexford ahead. Karen Butler and Clodagh Dunne followed this up with a win in the girls' doubles to secure the match and the title by three points to one.
For Noel, Declan, Karen and Karla, this was the last time they will represent Wexford at under-age level. It was fitting that these players who have given so much to under-age badminton over the last few years should finish on a high by winning this coveted Leinster title.