Old Leighlin Community Hall was the place to be last weekend as Amond Coaching held it's inaugural underage badminton tournament. The tournament was run over two days with an under 15 event from 09:00 - 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 - 17:00 was the turn of the under 17's to showcase their ability. The weekend saw no less than 44 competitors compete in over 300 sets of badminton, amounting to 154 fiercely contested matches.
13 clubs from far and wide were represented with distinction over the 2 day event, along with current members of the Amond Coaching Academy. Old Leighlin Community Hall was the ideal venue for the event, boasting 4 courts and ample room for spectators and players alike. Courts 1, 2, 3 and 4 were kindly sponsored for the weekend by Michael Lyng Motors, SUGRA Badminton club, Little Buddies Creche and the Amond Coaching Academy respectively. All 4 courts saw non stop action from start of play each day until the finals of each respective event.
Under 15 boys and girls singles had the full compliment of 10 participants competing in 2 groups of 5. In the boy's event, Amond Coaching Academy members Jack Nolan and Rigartus Rutkauskas won their respective groups in tightly fought contests and went on to face each other in the decider. Rigartus was victorious in two tight sets winning the first of his 3 titles on the day. In the under 15 girl's singles event both finalists topped their groups with maximum points, setting up a potential classic. Aishlinn Murtagh from Kildare CMWS was pitted against Aoife Phelan from Whitehall Road Juvenile Badminton club. Aishlinn won the first set 21-19 and it seemed that the group games had taken their toll on Aoife as Aishlinn went on to win the second in fairly straight forward fashion 21-11.
The boy's under 15 doubles was a mini marathon of an event. 7 pairs competed in a single group format, each playing 6 matches. Our aforementioned boys singles finalists teamed up for the boys doubles and progressed through the group with relative ease winning all six matches to top the group with maximum points. Second place was a hotly contested affair. Amond Coaching Academy member Conor Power teamed up with his Mullinavat teammate Darragh Davis and narrowly missed out on second spot to another Academy pair of Evin McCormack and Clive Graham with only one set separating them. Jack and Rigartus took the 1st set in the decider
21-17 and this game looked like a potential 3 setter when Evin and Clive took a 20-17 lead in the second set, however Rigartus and Jack dug deep and reeled off 5 points in a row to take the match 22-20 and with it title number 2 for Rigartus Rutkauskas.
The girl's under 15 doubles didn't quite have the depth of entry as the boys, but what it lacked in quantity it more than made for in quality. 4 pairs, one from Mullinivat, one from Ballinabranna, one from Myshall and the forth made up from the girls singles finalists took part in arguably the most exciting event of the weekend. Aishlinn Murtagh and Aoife Phelan topped the group with maximum sets while Amond Coaching Academy member Eabha Kelly teamed up with her Myshall club mate Aoibheann Kavanagh to narrowly miss out on top spot in the group. The final was as tense a game as that many people are likely to see. Aoibheann and Eabha won the 1st set 24-22 with both pairs having set point chances. Aoife and Aishlinn regrouped at the change of ends and dusted themselves off to win a close second set 21-19. Que the drama of the final set and in a nip and tuck game in which both pairs won some excellent points. Nerves seemed to be getting the better of all 4 players on court as both pairs squandered match points. Eventually the group winners held their nerve to win a thriller 27-25.
The Drama of the girls singles was amplified in the under 15 mixed. 5 pairs took to court and served up some great games in the group stages. All pairs were evenly matched with each dropping sets to one another. Amond Coaching Academy pair of Rigartus Rukauskas and Eabha Kelly were in pole position on maximum points before their final group game, however 2 pairs Darragh and Aishlinn Murtagh from Kildare CMWS and Mullinivat pair and Amond Coaching Academy players Conor Power and Cliodhna Walshe were deadlocked on 5 points before the final group game. The Murtaghs had still to play group leaders Eabha and Rigartus. That meant a painful waiting game for Conor and Cliodhna who's fate was well and truly out of their hands. Darragh and Aislinn had to win one set to eliminate the 'Mullinavegas' pair and looked all set to do just that until nerves took over with the Kildare pair leading 20-17. Eabha and Rigartus fought gallantly and leveled the set at 20-20 before an ill-judged 'flick serve' from Rigartus sailed just out and the 'sudden-death' point proved enough to propel Darragh and Aishlinn into the final at the expense of Mullinavat. Rigartus and Eabha had to dust themselves down and regroup as they faced 3 more potential sets against a pair they had just played. A tight first set was won by Eabha and Rigartus before they turned up the heat in set 2 to win in straight sets, giving Rigartus a clean sweep of titles while Eabha extracted some revenge for her earlier loss to Aishlinn in the girl's doubles final earlier on in the day.
Under 15 Results
BS Rigartus Rutkauskas bt Jack Nolan
GS Aishlinn Murtagh bt Aoife Phelan
BD Rigartus Rutkauskas/Jack Nolan bt Clive Graham/Evin McCormack
GD Aishlinn Murtagh/Aoife Phelan bt Eabha Kelly/Aoibheann Kavanagh
XD Rigartus Rutkauskas/Eabha Kelly bt Aishlinn Murtagh/Darragh Murtagh