The Killarney Sports centre was the Mecca for all Munster Badminton enthusiasts on Sunday last where the Provincial Senior 2 and the Graduates Championships, which were hosted by the Kerry Association, were played off and to put it simply and mildly, Sunday last was a good day at the office for Munster Badminton.
Good entries were received for both events and if one was to look at the various score sheets afterwards it was amazing to see the number of games that had to go to the third and final set for decision, the competition was so very close throughout.
From a Kerry viewpoint it was also a good day at the office as in the Senior 2 championship the Kingdom were represented in 3 finals and winning one, the ladies singles, and in the Graduates Kerry players reached no less than 4 out of the 5 finals played, with the Kingdom coming good in 3 of these finals and one of these deciders, the ladies singles, proved to be an all Kerry confrontation.
Sunday last saw Tralee’s Edel Broderick who plays out of the Kingdom Club of Castleisland, lose out in the Kerry Division 1 final to Moyvane teenager Niamh O’Flaherty and Miss Broderick openly admitted that she was “stuck to the ground” in that Kerry decider.
Last Sunday saw Miss Broderick again battle her way to the Munster final where she was opposed by Corks Lucy Kearns who earlier had overcame Miss O’Flaherty in the semi final.
What an utter transformation one week can make to any player .
On Sunday last Miss Broderick was absolutely fantastic. In the opening set it was point for point with the sides level at 6 all but from there on the Kerry lady went into over drive Every shot played was an education in how to play the game of badminton.
Her clearances, her drops and her drives were a joy to behold and all of these came from absolutely perfect footwork which is so essential to the sport. That first set saw the Kerry lady power her way to a 21-13 win despite the best efforts of the Cork lady.
The second set saw Miss Broderick score the first point but she immediately hit her next serve out beyond the boundary line to level the tie at one point each but it was only a temporary blemish as Miss Broderick again found her first set form and could do no wrong as she mounted up the points to lead at 8-4.
Fair play to Miss Kearns she did not throw in the towel and she fought back to give herself a chance to be just 10-8 and 12-11 down but the Tralee girl again raised her game to capture the set and Munster title on the second set scoreline of 21-16.
Miss Broderick’s day was not yet done. All though Miss Kearns was her singles final opponent they had teamed up as a pair and battled their way to the ladies doubles decider where their opponents were the Tipperary/ Waterford pairing of Celine Connors and Tanya Morrissey.
Whether the singles encounter had been that bit too much for both players but neither hit their true form in this doubles final and it was the Tipperary/ Waterford pairing that came good by 21-13; 21-9 but Miss Broderick proved in that singles final that she has the talent and capabilities to come good at a higher level.
The mens senior 2 singles final saw the other involvement of a Kerry player and this was the newly crowned Kerry senior singles champion James O’Flaherty. His opponent in this contest was Waterford’s Callum Thomas.
What an exciting 3 set final this proved to be with the Kerry champion winning the opening set by 21-14. The second set was point for point but it was the Waterford man who closed it out at the vital time by 21-16.
Set number 3 saw the Kerry champion lead at 7-4 but what a closing chapter there was to this set with the pair locked together all the way from 13 all to 17 all but a few costly mistakes cost the Kerryman dearly and it was Thomas who edged in front at 18-16 and eventually won the set and title by 21-17 but fair play to teenager O’Flaherty, he admitted afterwards that he had the title in his grasp and let it slip away but one can learn so much from games like this.
The ladies singles Graduate final was a spectacle in its own right and it involved two Kerry players with Moyvane’s Sorcha Fitzgerald taking on the Kingdom Club of Castleisland representive Ruth Concannon.
There was absolutely nothing at all between these two game players as both gave their all in this gripping contest with that opening set saw the sides level at 11, 13 and 14 all. It was the Moyvane lady who seized the initiative at this stage and led at 18-15 but the Castleisland club lady got the next 2 points to narrow the gap to just one score to 18-17 but the game Miss Fitzgerald again broke serve and took that opening set by 21-19.
The opening phase of the second set saw the pair level at 3 all but now the pendulum swung in favour of Miss Concannon and playing superb badminton she kept her nose in front throughout the remainder of that set which she took by 21-17.
So to that vital third set and the sides were still locked together at 6 all but some wonderful and skilful play by Miss Concannon saw her in control at the change of ends at 11-8 but everyone know what battlers these Moyvane badminton players are like and playing super stuff she was back into contention again at 13 all and in this enthralling contest the sides were still together at both 16 all and 18 all.
Who was to get the Glory? Who was to suffer the pain? Before a big audience both girls gave everything they had but there can only be one winner and the plaudits went the way of Miss Concannon who just triumphed over the gallant Miss Fitzgerald on the final scoreline of 21-19 but what a wonderful contest it proved to be.
But these two talented players were not yet finished . They had come together as a pair and after that extraordinary singles encounter they still had the will and energy to battle their way to the ladies doubles decider where the opposition was provided by the Waterford pairing of Natilie Brown and Rachel Walsh and this proved to be another hard battling 3 set encounter.
Could the Kerry girls go the full distance after that magnificent singles battle. Well they did win the first set by 21-17 but the Waterford pair battled back to take set number 2 by 21-18. Could those Kerry girls last out another third set?
They certainly could and did. Showing great flair they controlled that final set and won by 21-16 to give Miss Concannon her second gold medal on the day and Miss Fitzgerald had her gold to match up with her silver from that epic singles encounter.
The Graduate mens single final and the mixed doubles revolved around Moyvane’s Timmy Noonan and what a performance the flame haired Moyvane man gave in both. The mens singles decider saw Noonan take on Limerick’s Sugesh Chandran with the Limerick man winning the opening set by 21-17.
But the talented Noonan gave his all in the second set and it was point for point with the Kerryman coming out on top by 21-19. The third set was spell binding with the Limerick man setting a hot pace and he led by 6-1 and by 11-9 at the change of ends.
However, the game Noonan would not throw in the towel and he battled back to level the set at 13 all and again at 16 all; 17 all and 19 all.
They still were not divided as they were again locked together at 20 all with whoever could get those 2 points in front to clinch the title but, regretfully, it was not to be the Moyvane man as it was the Limerick man who just stole in front in another epic to gain victory by 22-20.
Noonan’s day was not yet over. In the mixed doubles he was drawn with Waterford’s Natilie Brown who had earlier lost out in the ladies doubles final with her partner Rachel Walsh.
Noonan and Brown battled their way to the mixed final where the opposition was provided by none other than Miss Walsh and her regular Waterford partner Gavan Dunford.
This was a tough one to call for Noonan and Brown as their opposition was a tried and tested partnership but showing great flair in a score for score hard fought opening set it was the Kerry/Waterford pairing that came good by 21-19.
Noonan had now found his range and showering the shuttle to all corners of the court and ably abetted by Miss Brown who excelled at the net play the Kerry/ Waterford pairing came good to win the set and title by 21-14 to give both players a gold and silver medal each on the day.
Overall, a satisfying day for Kerry Badminton.
Munster Inter County
The Badminton spotlight switches to Limerick’s U.L.Arena on Sunday next where the Inter County Competitions for Grades D,F and G will take place. The Grade D competition would see a combination of division 1 &2 of the old grading system players; Grade F would be Division 3 players whilst Grade G would be the division 4 players.
Regretfully no panels were released at the compiling of these notes but best of luck is extended to all the Kerry players.
The Kerry Association wish to sincerly thank all who supported their annual quiz in Tralee on Friday night last. The night was an unqualified success with tables from all over the County and all sponsorship received from all quarters is much appreciated with Mr. Dominic Scanlan ,Listowel being a most entertaining quiz master