It was indeed a mixed tour of Munster last weekend which saw the programme for the Kerry badminton follower switch from Killarney on the Friday night to both Drumtariffe, County Cork and the Waterford W.I.T. on the Sunday.
On the Friday night in Killarney it was the CPC.IE sponsored Kerry even doubles County Championships for divisions 1,3 and 5 which were played in the local Sports Arena and what a wonderful , electrifying feast of all that is good in the sport of badminton was served up on the night before a large appreciative audience.
The singles championships for the same divisions were played off some weeks ago and each of the 6 winners of those championships were also in final action on Friday last as they hoped to add title number two on their quest to complete .the treble of badminton county titles within their own division in the same season.
Those 6 singles winners were div. 1 mens James Flaherty ; div. 1 Ladies, Niamh Flaherty; Div. 3 mens Brendan McGovern; Div. 3 ladies, Niamh Hickey, Div 5 ladies Maria Kennelly,; Div. 5 men; Brendan O.Carroll .
The amazing statistic on those singles winners is that each reached a doubles final on Friday night last which in itself is a rare achievement with four falling at the final hurdle.
In this County which has Saint Brendan as its Patron Saint the two who completed the double on Friday night, both have the Christian name of Brendan, namely Brendan McGovern at div. 3 and Brendan O’Carroll at division 5.
Another statistic from those singles finals is that no less than 4 of the defeated finalists captured ultimate honours in the doubles on Friday night, namely Edel Broderick and Tom Bourke at div. 1; Jebin John at div. 3 and Josie Gilbert at division 5.
The ladies division 1 final saw the Castleisland Club pairing of Edel Broderick and Miriam Rohan take on Niamh O’Flaherty (Moyvane) and Sinead Galvin (Killarney).
Indeed Miss Broderick and Miss O’Flaherty recently contested the div. 1 singles final in which the Moyvane teenager came out on top.
What a first set was seen in this doubles final. Although from different clubs the Moyvane/Killarney pairing really dovetailed together and could seemingly do no wrong.
They looked to be home and dry when they went to set point at 20-15 but to give eternal credit to the Castleisland pairing they never threw in the towel and slowly but surely they narrowed the gap point by point and unbelievably they levelled the set at 20 all and it was they who captured the 2 vital set points to win by 22-20.
The second set now saw the momentum with the Castleisland pair and they led throughout and eventually took the set and title by 21-16.
The mens division 1 final saw the defending champions from Castleisland, Tom Bourke and Eric Nelligan and their opposition were the Moyvane/ Castleisland pair of teenagers James O’Flaherty and Jonathan Keane.
In the recent senior singles decider O’Flaherty had toppled Bourke from the number one spot and this tie had its own bit of bite.It was the teenagers that set the early pace and showing great partnership they took the opening set by 21-16. But the Castleisland pairing are not long time champions for nothing and in a close hard fought 2nd set they edged home by 21-17.
It was the champions who were now in control but at the same time the O’Flaherty/ Keane pairing showed what a bright future they have in the sport as they fought for every shuttle as if life itself depended on it but in sport experience is a valuable asset and the champions retained their crown by 21-13.
For both Bourke and Nelligan it is their eight Kerry doubles title win each. Bourke won his first Kerry doubles in 2003 with Billy Lacey and Nelligan collected his first with Gio Gaudino 2006 but Friday night last was their 5th in a row as a partnership.
In the recent singles final final Annascaul’s Brendan McGovern overcame Jebin John of the Castleisland club but on Friday night last they teamed up as a partnership and what a formidable pairing they proved to be.
Another pair of teenagers on the Kerry badminton scene both have natural badminton talent as this was very evident last Friday but in the other corner you had the tried and trusted Moyvane pairing of Timmy Hanrahan and Jamie Elliott However, it was the McGovern/John pairing that came good in two sets by 21-12; 21-15 to give McGovern his second title of the season with the mixed doubles yet to come.
The ladies division 3 decider saw 4 different clubs represented with Killarney’s Niamh Hickey, the recent singles winner, lining out with Castleisland’s Michelle Beazley. Their opponents were Listowel’s Michelle Kearney, holder of this crown for the past 2 years and her partner was Moyvane’s Francine Collins who was a defeated finalist in this event last year.
This was a hard fought 3 set decider which saw the Moyvane/Listowel pairing just edge out the first set by 21-18. It was Hickey/ Beazley that dominated the second set and were in front from the word go and despite a rally from Kearney/ Collins the Castleisland /Killarney pairing levelled the tie by 21-17.
It was now all to play for in that third and final set but now it was Collins/Kearney that dictated the play and they made sure of victory by taking the set by 21-10.
An early wedding present for Miss Kearney who is to wed later on in the year and this was her 3rd div. 3 doubles title in a row, winning in 2015 with Annascaul’s Lisa Sayers and last year with Niamh O’Flaherty of Moyvane who has since scaled the heights at division 1.
The ladies div. 5 decider again saw a representation of 4 clubs. On one side you had the pairing of Moyvane’s Maria Kennelly and Listowel’s Karen Lawlor and their opponents were the Causeway/Ballyheigue pairing of Josie Gilbert and Lillian Holmes.
In the recent singles final Miss Kennelly overcame Miss Gilbert so the Causeway lady was out for revenge and she duly got in in fine style.
The Causeway/ Ballyheigue pairing were Lord of all they surveyed in the opening set which they won by 21-11 and they again set a hot pace in set number 2. However , the Moyvane/ Listowel pairing made a brave fight back but Gilbert/Holmes clinched victory by 21-18 in that second set.
Causeway clinched another victory in the division 5 mens competition where Brendan O’Carroll, the recent singles winner, and Padraig Barrett were opposed by the Killarney pairing of Colm Hickey and Kumar Shanker. With the stylish O’Carroll in full flow and ably supported by the ever trying Barrett the Causeway pair won in two sets 21-10; 21-12 to give O’Carroll his second County title of the year and just one step away from annexing that coveted treble.
The second phase of the even doubles County Championships which caters for divisions 2 and 4 will take place again in Killarney this coming Friday night March 3rd. All players and court helpers are requested to note the start time of 7.30 pm so please check in on good time.
On Sunday next the action again switches to Waterford where the annual Brewster Cup competition will be played.
Kerry had a good start to the new millennium when winning this prestigious Cup, which commenced in 1951, in 2000 and 2003 but it has eluded the Kingdom since despite several second place finishes.
Hopefully the Kingdom will go the full way this year The Kerry panel for next Sunday is as follows;
. Men…Fergal Hannon,Mike Crossan, Jonathan Keane, James Flaherty, & James Leane. .Ladies Edel Broderick, MaeveTwomey, Sinead Galvin, Miriam Ronan, & Brid Murphy.
Team manager, Billy Lacey
The Munster singles finals will take place in the U.L. ,Limerick on March 12th. These competitions caters for the winners of each Grade within each County. Best of luck is extended to all Kerry competitors..
Munster Inter County
Two Kerry teams were involved in the Munster Inter County series on Sunday last with the Grade C team involved in a straight shoot out with Cork in Dromtariffe, County Cork and the Grade E team were involved in a 4 County battle in Waterford
In Dromtariffe it was so near, and yet so far away for the Kingdom. What a battle they had with the Rebels. Cork went 3-1 up but Kerry fought back to level at 3 games each and then they went 4-3 up. Cork again levelled at 4 each and it was now all down to that vital 3rd mixed left to play but despite a noble effort by the Kerry pairing it proved to be Cork’s day as they just edged home by 5-4
The Kerry team as follows; Edel Broderick, Miriam Rohan,Maeve Twomey, Sinead Galvin, Niamh O’Flaherty, Tom Bourke, James O’Flaherty, Eric Nelligan, Fergal Hannon.
The Grade E competition was played in Waterford with 4 Counties participating, namely, Waterford, Tipperary, Cork and Kerry and what an extraordinary story revolved around the climax of this competition. Kerry commenced with a 5-4 victory over Cork whilst Tipperary overcame Waterford by 6-3; Round 2 was not a happy occasion for the Kerry camp as they never hit their true form and fell to Waterford by 6-3 whilst Tipperary defeated Cork by 6-3. It was now all to play for in the third and final round and the Kingdom did raise their game after that Waterford defeat and overcame Tipperary by 5-4. In the mean time the Decies had the biggest win of the day when they defeated Cork by 7-2 so the overall result saw Tipperary and Waterford level on 16 points; Kerry were on 13 points with Cork on 9 points. By virtue of their first round win over the home County, Tipperary were declared winners but Kerry had the unusual distinction of winning two out of their 3 games, they deeated the eventual champions, Tipperary and yet only finished in 3rd place. Such are the variations of the Round Robin system. Were the Kingdom disaappointed? Yes they were but they can also take heartfrom their overall display.The Kerry panel was as follows;
Brid Murphy, Ruth Concannon, Sorcha Fitzgerald, Mairead O’Regan, Helen Browwne, Donie Enright, Jonathan Keane,Donnacha Moloney, Timmy Noonan, Aidan McCarthy.
Joint managers; Marion O’Neill and Catherine Hanrahan
All roads led to Ballyheigue on Sunday last where the local club held their annual tpurnament which catered for Kerry divisions 3,4 and 5 with well over 70 players competing from throughout the County. The fare was top quality with many of the encounters going to the third and final set for decision
Results as follows;
Division 5 final – Donnchadh Foley [Annascaul] and Karen Lawlor [Listowel] defeated Niall Hanlon [Causeway] and Eibhlis Brosnan [Kingdom, Castleisland]
Division 5 Plate – Brendan Carroll [Causeway] and Lilian Holmes [Ballyheigue] defeated Kyle Reidy [Ballyheigue] and Deirdre McAuliffe [Listowel]
Division 4 Final – John McDonnell [Ballyheigue] and Marie O Connor [Killarney] defeated Tom Bradley [Kingdom] and Paula O Sullivan [Ballyheigue].
Division 4 Plate – James O Mahony [Causeway] and Claire Cahill [Kingdom] defeated Mike Keane [Moyvane] and Sara Leahy [Causeway].
Division 3 Final – Jebin John [Kingdom] and Amanda Carmody [Moyvane] defeated Tim Griffin [Ballyheigue] and Renee Lenihan [Kingdom].