Busy weekend in Killarney
What a weekend of badminton action last weekend turned out to be with the CPC.IE sponsored County mixed doubles on both Friday night and Sunday and the new format of the Ashes Bar, Glenbeigh sponsored Knock Out Cup series, which boasted 14 teams, also on the Sunday, which all took place at the Killarney Sports Centre.
Without a doubt, pride of place over the weekend must go to some of the youthful protagonists who were very much to the fore, especially in the Friday night championship battles.
Friday's championships were both the Division 3 and Division 5 championships and both had 14 pairs competing in each.
The Division 3 final was an absolute thriller. On one side you had the Moyvane pairing of Carmel Hudson and James Sheehan and they were opposed by the teenage pairing of nineteen year old Maeve Twomey of the Killarney Club and 15 year old James Flaherty of Moyvane.
Both of the latter players had already won both the singles and doubles championships in recent weeks and were vying for that elusive treble and indeed, on the night they both did secure the "double treble" but what a titanic battle the Moyvane pairing put in.
Twomey / Flaherty seemed to be in control of the first set but the Moyvane pair raised their game and levelled the set at 20 all and eventually came home on the scoreline of 25-23 after a hectic battle.
It was the champions elect who levelled the match by taking the second set by 21-16 and it was they who were in front at the changes of sides in the final set by 11-9.
Moyvane, however, were not going to throw in the towel that easy and, game battlers that they are, they were on level terms at 12 all, in front at 14-13, level at 14 all and looking good for the title when leading again at 16-14.
It was noticeable at that at this stage Miss Twomey began to control both the mid court region and at net play and it was the teenagers who took control of the game at this juncture. Coupled with Flaherty's rear court power they levelled the set at 16 points each and went to game point at 20-16 with the winning match point coming from an exquisite back hand cross court smash from Miss Twomey that would do justice at the very highest level, but credit to all four players for such an absorbing contest.
It was Dingle that won the Division 5 final and here there was another double on the night with 16 year old Fionn O'Regan, winner recently of the singles crown in the same division, when being partnered by Bernie De Brun, they had a hard fought final struggle before overcoming Killarney's Ailish Mulcahy and Alex Goggin in two sets by 21-19; 21-17.
The Division 3 plate final saw Mary Louise O'Brien (Sneem/Iveragh) and Timmy Noonan (Moyvane) defeat Killarney's Marion McSweeney and Liam Barry 30- 21
The Division 5 Plate decider saw Castleisland's Claire Cahill and Alan O'Connor overcome Jennifer Switzer and John O'Keeffe, (Killarney) by 21-12; 21-18
On to the Sunday action and between the Division 1 championships and the knock out cup matches the crowd attending and the match intensity was on par with the pre Christmas November handicaps and the Sunday tournament days.
At division one there was no joy for treble chaser Tom Bourke who with partner Helen Twomey fell to the partnership Mary Falvey, a sister of Mrs. Twomey and Eric Nelligan, all four players from the Kingdom Club of Castleisland. The champions elect seemed to have the word attack written across their foreheads as they never let the defending champions settle into their normal rhythm and won the first set by 21-12.
Falvey/Nelligan began the second set where they left off in the first and went to match point 20-14 but credit to Twomey/ Bourke, they battled back to 20-18 but it was a mountain too much to climb and it proved to be the sixth mixed title each for the Falvey/Nelligan partnership which commenced in 2004 with a notable treble from 2004 to 2006.
The Knock Out cup series was a normally a night competition which generally commenced in March.
It was the brain child of County Secretary, Peggy Horan, to play all preliminary rounds on the one day and what an inspired decision this proved to be on Sunday last which saw 14 teams contesting the various divisions over the day.
Overall it was the Moyvane and Killarney Clubs that dominated proceedings with the finals to be held in the Presentation Gym Tralee on Wednesday, April 16 as follows:
Div. 3; Killarney v Moyvane
Div. 4 Moyvane v Kingdom, Castleisland
Div. 5; Moyvane v Killarney.
All badminton patrons are reminded that the County Prize Giving Social will take place at the Ballyroe Heights Hotel on Friday night April 25 and that tickets must be ordered as soon as possible