Athy Rugby Club was the venue last night as the Carlow Cavaliers made history by winning their first ever South West Leinster Badminton Grade 1 Men's League title. Carlow Cavaliers swept aside the challenge of Lady Lane winning the final in emphatic style by 2-0 and 5 sets. John Amond and Brian O'Mahony stepped up at MD1 and set the tone early on with a resounding first set victory 21-6. The Cavs survived a late onslaught from the Lady Lane pair in the 2nd set to take it 21-18 and put the Cavaliers 1 up. MD2 saw the mercurial Downey twins take on John O'Brien and Tayyab Shahzad. In a tight game, David and Kevin rallied late on in both sets to put the Cavaliers 2 up. Going into MD3 Carlow Cavaliers only needed 1 set to secure an unassailable lead and win their 1st ever Grade 1 SWLBL title. John Amond and David Downey duly delivered and the Cavs made history.
It was a debut season to remember as the Cavaliers topped the group stage accumulating an impressive 16 points. Over the course of the League a total of 8 player were utilised by the Cavaliers. John Amond and Aubrey Cox provided an experienced platform for the young guns of Brian O'Mahony (19), Peter McDonald (17), Rigeratus Rutkauskas (16), David Downey (16), Kevin Downey (16) and James Fleming (14) to express themselves and the academy graduates did not disappoint with some exceptional performances throughout the group stage. David Downey won an incredible 9 from 9 in his first year in grade 1. Kevin Downey won an impressive 8 from 11 but none more impressive than when he and Rigeratas Rutkauskas team up to play against Johnswell at MD2 to win in straight sets against a very experienced pair on what was Rigartas' debut in grade 1.