Kerry's U-11 team capture county's first ever Munster juvenile title


ANOTHER glorious chapter in the history of the Kerry Badminton Association was written at Limerick last Sunday when a juvenile team captured a Munster title for the first time ever since the Kerry Association was founded in 1936.

Kerry had three underage teams in action on Sunday and all can be proud of their performances.

In the under-15 age group Kerry put in a massive showing to defeat a fancied Cork side but had to bow to the eventual winners Clare in a close semi-final.

Clare were also Kerry's nemesis in the under-13 semi-final but this team showed great courage and with most of the squad available for this age group next season the future certainly looks bright.

However, the best was kept until last. What an absorbing championship the under-11 competition prove to be with Kerry, Clare, Cork and Waterford contesting on a round robin basis.

First up for Kerry were Cork with the Kingdom causing an upset winning 12-8.

Round 2 saw Kerry defeat Clare by 17-3, while Cork beat Waterford 20-0, so entering the final round Kerry had 29 points; Cork; 28. It was all to play for with Kerry to take on Waterford and Cork to play Clare.

While Cork overcame Clare by 19-1 Kerry did the whitewash over Waterford and collected their much needed 20 points to leave the final tally Kerry 49 points; Cork 47 points.

The jubilation in the Kerry camp had to be seen to be believed as they realised they were history makers.

Behind every successful team there is a mastermind and Kerry are extremely fortunate to have a motivator like team manager Billy Lacey who has that uncanny Mick O'Dwyer ability to get the very best from his charges.

Juvenile badminton on the provincial level within Kerry was somewhat low in years gone by but with Billy's enthusiasm and dedication the hard work is beginning to pay off and all in Kerry Badminton owe him a deep debt of thanks.

The Kerry winning under11 squad was Ciara O'Mahony, Edel O'Brien (Killarney); Rachel O'Connor, Eimear O'Connor, Sean Kennedy, Kevin Griffin (Annascaul); Caragh O'Neill (County Club, Tralee); Dylan Geaney (Dingle); Sean Mulvihill (Kingdom Club, Castleisland); Team manager: Billy Lacey, (Kingdom, Castleisland)

Tournaments THE main action this coming Sunday will focus on the four separate tournaments which will cater for all Kerry divisions and these are to be played in the Killarney Sports Centre. Known as "Tournament Sunday" this is one of the biggest days on the Kerry calendar and large entries for each competition is generally par for the course.

Both mixed doubles shields for divisions 4 and 5 will commence proceedings at 2pm and these to be followed by the Waterstone Cup for division 3 at 4 pm, with the Paddy Drummond Cup for the division 1 and 2 players will bring the day to close, and this competition is due to start at 4.30pm.

As stated this is one off the big days in Kerry Badminton and players for each division are requested to check in on time.

Munster championships THE Munster under-11 Badminton championships will take place at the UL sports centre in Limerick on Sunday next and, fresh from that wonderful Inter-county success of Sunday last, it is hoped that many of those Kerry players will continue that rich vein of form to these championships and, hopefully, a Munster title or two will cross the Kerry border on Sunday evening.