It was a tale of three towns last weekend for Kerry Badminton followers with Killarney and Castleisland hosting different divisions in the Sweeney's Costcutters county doubles championships on Friday and Sunday and Cappoquin in Waterford hosting the Munster Brewster cup competition on Sunday.
Friday night in Killarney turned out to be a very special night. Just a few short years ago, due to a packed Munster fixture list the Kerry Badminton executive decided to fix some of their championship programme on a few Fridays nights which would cater for the many away members who would cherish the opportunity of playing in their own County Championships. If last Friday night can be taken as a guideline this decision has proved to be a wonderful success story.
The championships played last Friday were the even doubles events for both ladies and men in divisions 1 and 3. All four competitions yielded large entries and the standard of play was top class.
As is the norm this season both division 1 competitions were played on the round robin format but the ladies in particular threw up some surprises. None more so than at the semi-final stage where defending champions Ciara O'Connor and Edel Broderick came a cropper at the hands of those game battlers Mary Falvey and Jennifer Keane. In the second semi-finalHelen Twomey and Eileen O'Connor proved that bit too strong for the Tralee pairing of Lynda McCarthy and Darina Stack. In the final the Twomey/O'Connor duo took the crown by 21-12; 21-12 - the first time they played together in the County Championships.
The ladies division 1 plate was won by sisters Brid and Catherine Murphy of Castleisland who defeated Moyvane's Sorcha Fitzgerald and Elaine Hudson in the final by 21-17; 21-16.
The mens division 1 championships belonged to the recently crowned Munster senior champions Castleisland's Tom Bourke and Eric Nelligan who in the final had that bit more guile than the Killarney/ Castleisland pairing of Sean Murphy and Gio Gaudino on the scoreline of 21-14; 21-18.
In the mens plate another Castleisland/ Killarney pairing of Fergus McCarthy and Wayne Doyle defeated the Killarney pairing of Paudie Horan and John O'Brien by 21-17; 21-17.
In the ladies division 3 decider top seeds of Tralee's Ruth Concannon and Fiona Boyle beat last season's division 4 winners, Lisa Sayers, Annascaul, and Killarney's Mauve Twomey, 21-15; 21-10.
The ladies division 3 plate was won by Moyvane's Fran Collins and Eleanor Sheehan who defeated Tralee's Lynn Swan and Suzanne Sheehy by 21-16; 21-12.
In the mens division 3 championship the designated top two seeds battled out the final, with Moyvane's Dermot Keane and James Sheehan going down to the Killarney/Listowel pairing of Andrew Tong and Fergal Hannon by 24-22, 21-16.
The division 3 mens plate went to the Killarney/Moyvane pairing of Padraig McCarthy and Timmy Hanrahan who overcame the Moyvane pairing of John Mulvihill and Chris McCarthy 21-17; 20-22; 22-20.
The County Championship spotlight switched to Castleisland on Sunday where the Sweeney's Costcutters sponsored division 5 doubles were played.
The ladies final saw the Killarney pairing of Maria O'Connor, the recent singles winner, and Marion McSweeney overcome Michelle Beazley and Claire Cahill by 21-16; 21-8.
The ladies plate final went to Listowel's Dolores Prendeville and Elaine Dillon who defeated Tralee's Niamh and Carmel O'Connor 21-16; 21-17.
Tralee struck gold in the mens division 5 final where the pairing of Tim O'Flaherty and Al Amin defeated Listowel's Neil Keane-Stack and Colm O'Callaghan by 21-15; 21-16
The mens plate was won by the Killarney/ Ballyheigue combination of Mike Griffin and Noel Carroll who overcame the partnership of Tim Mulvihill (Killarney) and David Sheahan (Listowel) by 21-15; 21-15
Before they left for Cappoquin on Sunday last the Kerry squad were dealt two hammer blows with the withdrawal of key players due to a combination of injury and unavailability.
Kerry's first encounter was against Waterford and the Kingdom were kicking themselves for letting this one behind them. Waterford won by 6-3 but this was a match that Kerry could, and maybe should, have won by 5-4. It was Cork up next for Kerry who had defeated Limerick in round 1 and again the Kingdom players felt that they should have done better with the Rebels winning by 7-2. The Limerick match did see the Kingdom show a vast improvement in a match they won 6-3.
That Limerick match saw great performances coming from Sean Murphy and Peggy Horan at second mixed, and Sinead Galvin and Elaine Hudson at second ladies who, being a new combination, won all their three matches on the day.
Waterford eventually won the Brewster Cup, their first success in this competition since the 1994/95 season.
The Kerry squad was: Ladies: Mary Falvey, Peggy Horan, Sinead Galvin, Jennifer Keane, Elaine Hudson. Men: Gio Gaudino, Sean Murphy, Paudie Horan, Timmy Duggan, Donie Enright.
Player manager; Mary Falvey.
Paddy Sugrue tournament
Tralee's County club host their annual Paddy Sugrue tournament at the local Presentation Gym on this coming Sunday catering for divisions 2 to 5. This tournament commemorates the memory of the late Paddy Sugrue who was a great servant to Kerry Badminton and who acted as President of the County Association and his County Club. Indeed in his capacity as Creamery Manager Mr Sugrue was a founder member of the Drangan Badminton Club in County Tipperary in the 1950's and on returning to Kerry he served as Creamery Manager in Moyvane where he won a North Kerry senior championship football medal with Moyvane in 1958.
Sunday's programme is div. 5 at 12 noon; div. 4; 2pm; div. 3, at 3.30pm; div. 2 at 4.30pm. Plate competitions included entries to be returned to Don Ring at 19 Knockmoyle, Tralee by Friday.
On the Munster scene, the Under-17 Provincial championships will be played in Limerick on this coming Sunday.