Two well known picturesque parts of Ireland, Killarney and Galway, were the focal points of the badminton world from a Kerry perspective last weekend.
The Killarney Sports and Leisure centre hosted the CPC.IE sponsored Kerry Associations singles championships for divisions 2 and 4 for both ladies and men.
In the mens department the exuberance of youth was very much to the fore as it was two teenagers that captured ultimate honours in both finals.
The division 4 decider was an all Annascaul confrontation between 15 year old Cillian Falvey, under 17 County championship winner last week, and his club colleague Colm Moriarty.
The first set was a close hard-fought battle with point for point exchanged but it was teenager Falvey that edged in front at the critical time to forge victory by 21-19.
Moriarty did fight a brave battle in the second set but the winning of that first set imbued the teenager with confidence and he was always in control and took his first adult title on the second set scoreline by 21-16.
This is a fantastic achievement by the Annascaul club as young Falvey retains this title which was won by another Annascaul teenager last year, Brendan McGovern and the same Brendan McGovern went on to win the division 3 title just a few weeks ago.
Certainly thanks to Mary Falvey and her cohorts, the game of badminton is thriving in the West Kerry village.
The second teenager to hold centre stage was Jonathan Keane of the Kingdom Club of Castleisland and in the opposing corner of this division 2 mens doubles final was last years finalist Donie Enright of the Moyvane club.
The opening set saw the the sides level at 4 all, 6 all and at 8 all but from there on it was Enright who set the pace and captured the set by 21-16.
Whatever the break did to the Castleisland man, it was a different Keane who took control of set number 2. From the outset he controlled this set and led at 5-1 and at 12-8.
Even though Keane was always in control the feature of this set was the long rallies in which Enright played a major role but it was teenager Keane who captured the set to level the match by 21-14.
The third set was almost a carbon copy of the second with Keane playing the ideal singles game of clear -clear and drop.
Again the fare served up by both players was a joy to behold but it was the youthful legs that lasted the pace better and despite the gallant effort by the noble Enright it was Jonathan Keane’s division 2 singles title on the third set scoreline of 21-8.
The successful Kerry grade D team of just a few weeks ago saw Killarney’s Sinead Galvin and Moyvane’s Sorcha Fitzgerald fighting the Kerry cause together but last Sunday saw both in opposition in the ladies division 2 decider.
It was the Killarney lady who always kept that step ahead throughout and she came good in the first set by 21-16.
The second set followed the same pattern and despite the best effort of the Moyvane girl it was Galvin who captured her 5th title at this grade, her first being back in 2001.
The ladies division 4 final was a contest between Christine Quirke of the Iveragh club and Moyvane’s Denise Collins. What an amazing, absorbing 1st set there was to this encounter.
It was score for score in the early stages with the sides level at 7 all, 8 all and 9 all, but from there on the Iveragh club player took over and she soared to a 20-15 lead with just one point needed to clinch the set.
It looked all over but not to the gallant Moyvane girl. She never threw in the towel and slowly fought her way back to level at 20 all, an amazing fight back.
From 21 to 23 all the sides were still dead locked but it was the brave Moyvane player who now smelt victory and she clinched the set by 25-23
There was still nothing between the sides in the opening phases of set number 2 with the sides again level at 10 all and at 11 all, but the pendulum had now swung to the North Kerry direction and it was Miss Collins who now set the pace and captured her County title by winning the set 21-16.
Thus finished the 2017 singles County Championships with the ladies and mens doubles to commence on this Friday night for divisions 1,3 and 5.
This is normally one of the biggest nights in the Kerry Badminton Championships and all players are requested to be on call from 7.45 with court helpers to be in attendance from 7.30.
Irish Junior Cup
Galway city hosted the annual Badminton Irish Junior Cup competitions on Sunday last and the Kingdom Club of Castleisland competed in the Grade C section and the Kerry side had a great run in the event.
On the opening Saturday they defeated the local Galway Lawn Tennis Club by 7-0 and then met the Dublin side, Old Bawn, who they defeated by 5-2.
The semi final on Sunday saw Castleisland take on the Kilkenny side Johnswell and it was the Kerry side who came good by 5-2.
On the other side of the draw it was the famed Dublin Club Aylesbury who came through and this proved to be another Dublin/Kerry classic.
This proved to be another gripping encounter with the best of seven games to decide the issue. The sides were level at 2 games each and at 3 games each but it was the Dublin side who clinched that vital mixed doubles encounter by 21-16; 21-17.
The Castleisland side were Tom Bourke, Eric Nelligan, Michael Crossan, Fergal Hannon, Edel Broderick, Miriam Rohan Maeve Twomey and guest player, Celine Connors (Tipperary
The Inter County series continue on two fronts on Sunday next with Cork and Waterford being the venues.
The Grades concerned are C and E and Kerry will be competing in both. The Grade C section will be a straight play off between Cork and Kerry and this is to be played in Drumtariffe, County Cork.
The Kerry panel was not known when compiling these notes.
The Kerry Grade E team travel to Waterford where they will be doing battle with Counties Waterford, Cork,and Tipperary. This squad have trained diligently under the stewardship of joint managers, Marion O’Neill and Catherine Hanrahan and the best of luck is extended to both teams.
The Kerry Grade E panel is as follows; Brid Murphy, Ruth Concannon, Sorcha Fitzgerald, Mairead O’Regan, Helen Browne, Donie Enright, Jonathan Keane, Donnacha Moloney Timmy Noonan and Aidan McCarthy.
Ballyheigue Annual Tournament
Whilst many may be awaiting results from both Kerry teams on Sunday, for the majority all roads will lead to Ballyheigue where the host club will stage their annual tournaments for Kerry divisions 3,4 and 5.
There is no doubt but the seaside village will have a large influx of players from throughout the County on Sunday next with the starting times as follows; Division 5 at 11.45; division 4 at 2.30 and division 3 at 5 pm
Members of all clubs throughout the County are reminded that the County raffle will take place in 3 weeks time, Sunday March 19th so all sold cards should be returned to clubs as soon as possible