Again, huge numbers of boys competed in the first round of the Offaly Juvenile Doubles played in the Clonaslee Community Centre. There’s no room for complacency at the top in Division 3. James Coughlan and Mark Flaherty, Kinnity, are on top with 9 wins, but with a bit of luck or more determination, Aaron Flaherty and Aaron Browne, Kinnity could be there. Aaron and Aaron lost 2 games 15/14 while accumulating 7 wins. Paddy Quinlan and Tony O’Connor, Country Club are level with Aaron and Aaron on7 wins, but scored fewer points in their 2 defeats. Vying for 4th place with 5 wins apiece are Joe Daly and Kevin Daly, Killoughey; Ethan Rowe-McCormack and Darragh Tierney, Boora; and Ciarain Condron and John Owens, Killoughey. Following them are Lorcan Kelly and Daniel Hiney, Ballycumber, Aaron Duffy and Joe McCourt, Rahan, who must feel very aggrieved, having lost 3 games 15/14; Ronan Brennan and Eoin Dooley, Rahan, and Callum Moore, Country Club and Conor Owens, Killoughey. The level of skill displayed insured that every pair won at least 1 game. The boys will now return to their clubs where they will continue their training and return to Clonaslee on 15 January 2012 to play the second round and the finals. Over half the pairs have a shot at the top 4 places so intense physical skill and mental training can truly pay off.
Division 4: Two 8 team leagues competed in Division 4. Top honours in 4A go to Peter Moran and James Moran, Killoughey with 7 wins, but breathing space is very limited at the top. Kyle Cornally and Luke Gavin-Mangan, Ballycumber, dropped only 2 scores when they lost to Peter and James 15/13. Conor Brady and Aaron Goulding, Killoughey, are in third place with 5 wins. Followed by Declan Boylan and Shane Murphy, Boora. Only 1 win separates the remaining 4 pairs, Dylan Maher and Thomas Deegan, Country Club; Morgan Grennan and Conor Moran, Rahan; Johnny Minnock and Joey Minnock, Rahan; and Stephen Ryan and Maurice Walsh, Country Club. Like Division 3,n the race to the top in 4A is still wide open. Division 4B is a mirror image of 4A. Shane Corrigan and Andrew Robinson, Kinnity were deemed too strong for Division 5, and are leading the league in 4B by virtue of a 15/13 win over Fergal Hanamy, Boora and Conor Owens, Killoughey. Stephen Dunican and Liam Mahon, Killoughey are in an uneasy 3rd place. They managed a 15/14 victory against Kevin Moran and Mark Grennan, to push them into 4th, but only two scores separate the pairs. Again mirroring 4A, the bottom four pairs, Ciarain Clavin and Martin Looby, Rahan, Stephen Malone and Robert Cantwell, Rahan; William Cummins and David Quinlan, Country Club and Darren Caulfield, Killoughey and Reece Bolton, Boora. Reece and Darren played more nail-biting finishes than any other pair in the competition, winning two games 15/14 and losing 14/15 and 13/15.
Division 5: Daniel Conway and Stephen Cooney, Killoughey, and Luke Cashin and Liam Seacy, Country Club, are tied for top honours in Division 5A. Hot on their heels are Aaron Loughnane and Luke Seacy, Country Club and Shane Kearney and Mark Buckley, Rahan, with two wins each. James Treacy and James O’Meara, Country Club, are busy trying to knock out one of the other pairs. Division 5B showed a wider spread of abilities. Shane Daly and Sean Hanamy, Boora, are League Leaders with 5 wins. They had to work hard to stay ahead of Jordan Coady and Stephen Dunican, Killoughey. Third place is held by Conor Buckley and Mark Buckley, Rahan, followed by Niall Grennan and Andrew Cantwell, Rahan; Kevin Deegan and Darragh Loughnane, Country Club and Alex Cornally and Colm Ennis, Ballycumber complete the line-up in the league..
The organisers were flat out to keep games on court. They were greatly helped by coaches and older players who counted games and by all the players who sat quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting their turns. Division 3, 4, and 5 Girls and Division 1 and 2 Boys and Girls will play on 11 December.
Offaly Leagues: Action is underway in the Offaly 4-Player Men’s and Ladies Leagues. Because of the number of young people in the leagues, matches are held mainly on week-ends and school breaks. Ballycumber, Country Club, Killoughey, Kinnity, and Rahan have all fielded teams. Division 6 Men: Killoughey, Country Club, Rahan, Kinnity, nd Ballycumber will be vying for top honours. Division 6 Ladies: Kinnity 1, Kinnity 2, Killoughey and Rahan compose the only Ladies League. Division 5 Men: As players move up the ability ladder, they seem to move away from home and from badminton, either to further education or for jobs. Only Country Club, Killoughey and Kinnity are able to field teams in this division.
Southwest Leinster Leagues: Match pressure is on players and teams in Southwest Leinster as the season moves from 4-person Men’s and Ladies’ Leagues to the 8 person Main Leagues which leads to a place in the Leinster Club Championships. Grade 1: What, no Carlow team in Grade 1! Neither Carlow Lawn Tennis Club or Carlow YM are fielding teams in Grade 1. When was the last time that happened? Johnswell, Mullingar, and Portarlington Parochial are all playing off scratch in the league. Grade 2: Johnswell were grade 3 winners last year, but were unable to field a team in Grade 2, so the League is Carlow YM, Gurteen and Portarlington Parochial. Grade 3: Grade 3 players will be very busy over the playing season with 6 teams in the league and 10 games to complete. Abbeyleix C.Y.M.S., Ballinkillen, Baltinglass, Carlow Y.M., Johnswell, and Rahan are all vying for top honours. Grade 4: Abbeyleix C.Y.M.S. also field a team in Grade 4. Having won Grade 5 last year, they move up to take their place with Annacurra, Ballinkillen, and Bough. Grade 5: St Laurence’s was the new team in Grade 6 last year and won so join Athy R.F.C., Bough, Johnswell, and Rathangan,in Grade 5. No team emerged to replace St. Laurence’s, so the remainder of Grade 6 merged with Grade 5. But, as a sport, badminton has started to grow again. Grade 7, the league for beginners, has 3 teams, Kiltegan A, Kiltegan B, and Mountmellick Macra. Finals in all leagues, except Grade 3, are scheduled for February. Grade 3 will finish the first week in March.
Leab Photo: Rahan players in action at the Offaly Juvenile Badminton Doubles competition.
Article By Judy Bryant