Munster Inter-County Championships
The University of Limerick hosted the Inter County Championships for Grade C, E and G last Sunday (Feb 10th)
The Grade C event was a straight shoot-out between Kerry and Cork. Things were looking fairly ominous for Kerry after they lost the first and second Men’s doubles and the first ladies doubles but then through Maeve Twomey (Killarney) and Elaine Hudson (Moyvane) the Kerry fight back began. They took the second ladies doubles after a tough three set contest.
Tom Bourke (Kingdom) won the Men’s singles match but Cork took the ladies singles making the score 4-2 going into the mixed. Kerry now needed to will all 3 mixed games to beat Cork and they certainly put up a great fight but unfortunately came up just short losing 5-4.
The first opponents for the Grade E team was Waterford and it was a thrilling battle. Kerry were tied 2-2 with opponents after the Ladies and Mens doubles through wins in the first Ladies Doubles Niamh Hickey (Killarney) and Helen Browne (Moyvane) and the second Mens Doubles Aaron Tan (Kingdom) and Aidan McCarthy (Kingdom). Through Brendan McGovern (Annascaul) and Hickey Kerry were 4-2 ahead after the singles games. Waterford fought back though and it was 4-4 going into the final mixed game which was a three set thriller. McGovern and Sam Hayes (Killarney) eventually got Kerry over the line 22-20, 20-22, 21-19.
Next up for Kerry was Cork in a game which was effectively a semi-final. It was 1-1 after the first round of Men’s and Ladies doubles with Browne and Hickey keeping their 100% record intact. Unfortunately the Kerry challenge waned after that against very strong opponents. The final score was 5-1 to Cork.
The Grade G team came up against Co Clare in their first match. It was 2-2 after the Men’s and Ladies doubles with both Valerie Guiney (Listowel) and Breda Lane (Moyvane) and Kevin O Mahony (Ballyheigue) and Niall O Hanlon (Causeway) winning their games for Kerry. Through the young Listowel stars Jack McElligott and Valerie Guiney Kerry were 4-2 up after the singles. Wins for Paul Hayes (Listowel) with Lane (Moyvane) and O Mahony (Ballyheigue) with Louise Behan (Moyvane) clinched a 6-3 win for Kerry overall.
Next up for Kerry was Waterford and this proved to be a tight battle from start to finish. Hayes and McElligott took the first Men’s doubles but Kerry were 3-1 behind as the suffered defeats in the other three Men’s and Ladies doubles. However it was 3-3 when both McElligott and Guiney once again won their singles matches and Kerry were on the brink of victory when Hayes and Lane won the first mixed but it wasn’t to be with Waterford taking both the second and third mixed games to complete a narrow 5-4 victory and knock Kerry out.
Although none of the Kerry teams won their respective events great credit must go to all the players, coaches and managers of the three teams for the time and commitment they have all given over the past few months. Kerry and Cork were the only counties to field a team in all 3 grades which reflects positively on the health of the game in the county and we can look forward to capturing plenty of Inter County titles in the future.