PAUL DOLAN of Sligo Tennis Club Badminton section was crowned Connaught Champion in the recent Connaught Veterans Open Badminton competition. The event, held in Galway was open to players nationwide and catered for ages from 40+ to 65+ with a 5 year age gap between sections.
Sligo was well represented in the competition which attracted a total of 63 players from all 4 Provinces. Victoria Stevens, Francie Mahon, John Dolan, Padraig O'Dowd, Marie McTiernan, John Kiernan and Paul Dolan all competed well in their respective age categories.
Paul teamed up with Sean Leahy from the Ballina Club in the 45+ Men's Doubles competition and won all their matches to triumph in this event. This Connaught pair could be a formidable team to watch out for in upcoming Veteran competitions around the country. Sligo Players Triumph at Ulster 'C' Grade Open
Lisburn's National Badminton Centre, also known as Alpha Rackets Club, was the venue for last week's Ulster Open C Grade Championships. Sligo Tennis Club - Badminton was represented by Joseph Keown, John Dolan, Graeme Watt, Siobhan Parker and Fionnuala Scanlon. This competition was traditionally a closed event i.e. only open to players from Ulster. This was the inaugural year for the competition to be opened to players from all 4 Provinces, and indeed it did attract players from far and wide.
Siobhan Parker and Fionnuala Scanlon won their semi final match in comfortable fashion to set up a final against the McCourt sisters in the Ladies Doubles event. This was Parker and Scanlon's first time to team up together, whereas the McCourt sisters from Louth are a well established pairing in such competitions. The Sligo pair were not to be deterred and won the first set 21-18. The McCourt sisters fought back to take the second set 21-12. The final set was an absolute thriller with both sides digging deep to level the match at 20-20. A brave return of serve into the backhand corner of the court by Fionnuala Scanlon set up match point for the Sligo girls and they held nerve to get over the finish line at 22-20.
In the Men's Doubles event Graeme Watt teamed up with Galway clubman, Cormac O'Connor. As it happened the draw seen them compete against Sligo club mates, John Dolan and Joseph Keown. Watt and O'Connor saw off the threat from the UncleNephew Sligo pair. In the semi finals, David Freeney and Gareth Morgan from Wicklow, proved tough opposition but Watt and O'Connor progressed to the finals after 3 close sets. Navan club mates, Patrick O'Connell and Ryan Hamill reached the final in the other half of the draw. Watt and O'Connor saw off their challenge in 2 straight sets, 21-18, 21-18. The match provided many long rallies but the Sligo - Galway pair always managed to keep their noses just in front.
Graeme Watt also reached the finals of the Men's singles event, securing wins in 3 matches prior to the final. Top seed, Norman Lau, a promising young player from Ulster was his opposition. Lau won this match 21-13, 21-18.
Sligo will host the Connaught Open A Grade event on 29th - 30th December at Sligo Tennis Club. This is a National Open event and there is plenty of room for spectators to attend.