Sunday the 22nd of October was turn of the under 17's to serve up a feast of badminton, in Old Leighlin Community Hall. The boy's singles kick started the day at 09:00 with no less than 12 competitors competing in a 2 group format. Each group comprised of 6 players and was played out on a round robin basis. The group stages pitted contrasting styles and made for interesting matches with David Downey of Kildare CMWS in particular catching the eye. David conceded a mere 32 aces in 10 sets of badminton, to win the group at ease. Amond Coaching Academy member and Myshal clubman, Colm Beck was best of the rest in group 1 and booked his place in the semi finals awaiting the winner of group 2.
Group 2 was a much tighter run affair with both Kevin Downey of Kildare CMWS and Dillon Delaney of Ballinabranna beating all other competitors in the group they had now to face off to see who would top the group and avoid an in form David Downey. Kevin started well and took the first set 21-16 however Dillon wasn't to be outdone and fought back gallantly to take the second 21-17.This now meant that both top spots in group 2 were deadlocked on 9 sets each and could on be separated by 1 single ace. Kevin top with 9 sets and 206 aces, Dillion second with 9 sets and 205 aces. Next on the agenda were both semi finals and a chance sibling rivalry in the final. Twins David and Kevin duly obliged both winning in straight sets against Dillon Delaney and Colm Beck respectively. The final was as tense and tight an affair as one might expect between siblings. Kevin come out on top of the first set 22-20 before securing the title with a 21-17 scoreline.
Running adjacent to the boy's singles final was the girl's under 17 doubles decider. Earlier on in the morning 2 pairs of girls had to withdraw meaning that the girls doubles event would be a straight shoot out between Ballinabranna pair of Nicole Sheehan-Farrell and Amanda Walshe and Baltinglass Pair of Ella Park and Anna Cooney. After a closely fought opening half to set one it was the Baltinglass girls who began to force the issue and pressed home their advantage to take it 21-10. The second set was much the same with some long rallies. Unfortunately for the Ballinabranna pair it was Ella and Anna who were coming out on top of many of those battles and established an early lead which in truth they never looked like giving up and took the second set and the title 21-14.
Girls singles was next up and the aforementioned Anna Cooney, Ella Park, Nicole Sheehan-Farrell were joined in the group stages by Eva McDonald of Ballinabranna to do battle for the right to advance to the final. Anna Cooney topped the group on 5 sets with Nicole Sheehan-Farrell second with 4. Both girls advanced to play each other and after a 21-20 20-21 result in the group a potential classic was on the cards. Both girls started well and it was Anna who looked like she might take the first before Nicole dug deep and reeled off 4 points in a row to win the first set of the decider 21-17. Nicole continued to press home the advantage at the beginning of set two and overpowered a worthy opponent to win in straight sets.
The boy's doubles event was a single group event pitting 7 pairs against each other. The Downey twins had little trouble in securing maximum points to top the group, and in truth the other 6 pairs, comprised of players from Ballinabranna, Galmoy, Mullinavat, Myshal, Carlow YM. and Ballon were doing battle for second place from quite early on. Colm Beck and Fiach Kavanagh of Myshal had an anxious wait to see if their 9 sets would be enough to seal second place after dropping a set to the gutsy brothers, Sean and Thomas O'Malley form Mullinavat. The Mullinavat brothers had 8 sets in the bag before their final group game saw them take on the Downey twins who were yet to be troubled in the group. Form rang through and the David and Kevin made it 12 for 12, much to the relief of Colm and Fiach who knew they had their place in the final confirmed. Kevin and David Downey were very strong from the outset and looked a class above their peers. The final proved no exception and the Kildare twins won in 2 straight sets. Colm and Fiach battled gallantly and actually bettered their group scores against their formidable opponents. Alas the cream rose to the top and Colm and Fiach will be back to fight another day.
The u17 mixed doubles, the blue ribbon event of the weekend most definitely lived up to its billing. 4 pairs participated in a round robin event, with the top two pairs doing battle in the final. Kildare CMWS were represented by the David and Kevin Downey who teamed up with Ella Park from Baltinglass and Amanda Walshe from Ballinabranna respectively to play against Ballinabranna pair of Dillon Delaney and Nicole Sheehan-Farrell and Baltinglass siblings Anna and Eoghan Cooney. The mixed doubles was full of quality and it was no surprise that the final round of games had 2 pairs vying for
one vacancy in the final. With Dillon Delaney and Nicole Sheehan-Farrell finishing the group on 4 points, they looked odds on to make the final but their fate was no longer in their hands. David Downey and Ella Park had all but secured their spot before they took to the court to play, however Kevin Downey and Amanda Walshe could still make it if they won their final game 2-0 thus eliminating the Ballinabranna Pair. David and Ella started strongly and never really looked back taking the opening set and with that extinguishing any hope Kevin and Amanda might have of pulling the rug from under Nicole and Dillon.
The scene was set and a determined David Downey and Ella Park took to the court to play Dillon Delaney and Nicole Sheehan-Farrell in the mixed decider. Some excellent net exchanges between both girls saw Nicole and Dillon take an early lead but that was soon canceled out by the sheer power and crisp hitting of David Downey from the rear of the court. Both he and Ella seemed to relax into the game a lot quicker and they took the opening set 21-15. Dillon and Nicole had their moments too, some delightful touches established an early lead in the second however David and Ella were not to be undone and took the second set to leave with the title of u17 mixed doubles champions.
Under 17 Results
BS Kevin Downey bt David Downey
GS Nicole Sheehan-Farrell bt Anna Cooney
BD Kevin Downey/David Downeybt Colm Beck/Fiach Kavanagh
GD Ella Park/Anna Cooney bt Nicole Sheehan-Farrell/Amanda Walshe
XD David Downey/Ella Park bt Dillon Delaney/Nicole Sheehan-Farrell