O'Connor and Bourke retain Division 1 titles

Junior Griffin

Over 80 players competed in the opening rounds of the CPC.IE sponsored Kerry Singles Badminton County Championships at Killarney on Sunday last where the Division 1, 3 and 5 titles were up for grabs for ladies and gents.

There was no change at the top of both the Division 1 championships. Both ladies and mens contests were played in the round robin format and the ladies final saw Dingle's Ciara O'Connor complete her three Division 1 titles in a row by beating Jennifer Keane 21-8; 21-12.

The mens title again belongs to Tom Bourke who captured his eigth singles crown in nine years by defeating Listowel's Fergal Hannon, who contested his first Division 1 decider by 21-13; 21-12.

Youth was vey much to the fore in many of the other divisions and this augurs well for the future of Kerry badminton. The Division 5 mens final was a thrilling three-set encounter, which was was contested by two 16-year olds from Dingle in which Fionn O'Regan overcame club mate Conor Geaney 15-21, 21-11, 22-20.

The mens plate at Division 5 was also contested by a pair of teenagers from Listowel with Darragh McCarthy defeating Ashley Kelliher by 30-18.

Last season saw Listowel's Elaine Dillon fall short to Killarney's Maria O'Connor in the Division 5 final. On Sunday Miss Dillon reached the final again but this time wearing the Killarney colours and she certainly struck gold in the match of the day against Michelle Corridan of Moyvane.

In the first set Corridan took early control and won the set 21-19. Dillon settled better in the second set and led 19-14, but Corridon never yielded and levelled at 19-19, but the Killarney club girl again broke serve and levelled the tie by winning the set 21-19.

The third set saw Miss Dillon throw caution to the wind and chase every shuttle as if her life depended on it and it played rich dividends as she delivered return after return and secured her crown by 21-11 over a gallant opponent.

The ladies plate saw Tralee's County Club's Claire Stack defeat Killarney's Ailish Mulcahy by 30-18. Another teenager, 19-year old Maeve Twomey of Killarney, captured the Division 3 ladies title when beating Listowel's Michelle Kearney in two hard fought sets 21-13; 22-15. It was a rare achievement by the Killarney player as this is her fifth year in a row winning a County Badminton title at different levels between Divisions 4, 5 and now at Division 3.

The Division 3 mens decider was another classic and was another all Moyvane confrontation. In 15-year old James Flaherty it looks like there is another rising star on the Kerry firmament as he battled against his courageous club colleague Kevin Kennelly. Flaherty won the first set 21-14, but Kennelly pulled out all the stops and took the second set by 21-16. The final set was absorbing and it was score for score but in a titanic finish the teenager just edged the title by 21-19 from a battling Kennelly.

The ladies Division 3 plate, ran on the round robin format, saw Lisa Sayers, Annascaul, take the laurels with Killarney's Marion McSweeney in the runner-up position with the mens Division 3 plate going to Moyvane's Timmy Hanrahan who edged out Tralee's Barry O'Connor by 30-28.

Munster Championships

KILLARNEY will host to the Munster Senior 1 and the Junior Championships this Sunday at 10am.

From a Kerry perspective all eyes will be on Castleisland club man Tom Bourke who will be defending his singles title. Kerry will have many other contestants in both championships so best wishes to all.

The Kerry Association will be hosting this event and much help will be required on the day. Those who would like to help can contact Don Ring at 9509331. Entries to Don by Thursday.

The mixed leagues are now in full swing but clubs who are behind on fixtures are requested to catch up as soon as possible, especially at Division 3 in which there is just the one section with clubs having to play more games than the other divisions.

The annual table quiz will take place at O'Donnell's Bar, Tralee on Friday, February 7 and all are requested to support this venture, non badminton people are more than welcome. Details from your local club.


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