THE Sweeney's Costcutters sponsored Kerry Badminton County Championship programme commenced in fine style at the Killarney Sports Centre on Sunday last with the Ladies and Mens singles championships for Divisions 1,3 and 5.
Without a doubt the feature of the day was the new format of play for both the ladies and mens division 1 championships. The brainchild of Kerry County secretary, Peggy Horan, these events were based on the round robin system on Sunday last and what a huge success this venture proved to be, this round robin type of play replacing the normal knock out system.
With one point allotted for each game won, both mens and ladies sections finished level. The mens section saw Gio Gaudino and Tom Bourke involved in a titanic struggle with Bourke coming out on top on the count back of scores.
The ladies section saw Edel Broderick, Ciara O'Connor and Catherine Murphy finish level on two points each but on the countback of scores it was O'Connor of Dingle and Broderick, playing out of the Kingdom Club of Castleisland, who qualified for the final proper. A repeat of last year's decider in which Ms Broderick had to retire injured, Ms O'Connor certainly turned on the style on Sunday last and was a convincing winner in two sets by 21-18; 21-12.
The mens final was a repeat of last seasons decider, a match that also saw Bourke concede his title due to injury. Last Sunday's final between Castleisland club man Bourke and Listowel's Colm Kelly was indeed a cracker. Set number one saw Kelly take an early lead but a fight back by Bourke saw him win the set by 21-16. The second set was indeed a spectacle and it went to Kelly by 21-17.
The final set was another classic and it looked like it was to be Kelly's day as he forged ahead by 12-9 and seemed to be playing well within himself. However, three very basic simple blunders at net play cost Kelly dearly and he immediately lost the initiative. Bourke was now level at 12 each and at this juncture he showed his killer instinct as he outscored Kelly by nine points to one and led at 1813.
Despite a gallant effort from the Listowel man there was no comeback for Kelly and it was Kerry mens senior singles title number seven for Bourke as he won the third set by 21-16 and his dedication and commitment to Badminton singles is indeed an example to all.
The feature of the ladies Division 3 championships was the utter dominance by Tralee's County club players as they provided all four semi-finalists, in which Ruth Concannon overcame Fiona Boyle and the surprise packet of the day, Division 4 player Grace Stack proved to be a handful for Lynn Swan. The decider saw Ms Concannon proving that bit too good for the brave Ms Stack by 21-13; 21-6.
County Club were also represented in the Division 3 mens final with the youthful Mark Clear taking on Moyvane's Dermot Keane, It was the Moyvane man that came good in two sets by 21-14; 21-10.
The first final played last Sunday was the ladies Division 5 decider and the honour of winning the first County Championship title of 2013 fell to Killarney's Maria O'Connor who overcame Listowel's Elaine Dillon in two sets by 21-14; 2113
Moyvane won a second title on Sunday last in the Division 5 mens final, in what was truly an engrossing encounter when Jamie Elliot overcame teenager Alan Falvey of Annascaul, who was playing in his first ever senior championship campaign, in a fantastic three set battle by 19-21; 21-17; 21-17.
The wonderful Killarney venue will again be a hive of activity on this coming Sunday where both the Munster senior and the Junior championships will take place. Both of these events are normally huge events with massive entries for both and are to be hosted by the Kerry Association. All designated helpers are requested to report in on time, the championships commence at 10 am. Best wishes are extended to all Kerry competitors.
Limerick's UL hall, meanwhile, will be the venue for the Munster juvenile Division 2 Inter County Leagues on Sunday next and Kerry juvenile supremo, Billy Lacey will have Kerry well represented at these events. All involved in Kerry juvenile badminton are requested to note that the Munster under 15 championships will take place at the U.L., on Sunday February 10 and that entry forms for this event have now been distributed to all club secretaries.
Kerry Badminton President, Mr Johnny Brosnan wishes to advise all badminton members that he has now distributed the cards for the County annual raffle to all clubs and requests all involved to dispose off all cards they receive from their committee.