Badminton after Midnight at thrilling Kerry Doubles Championships

Kerry Ladies and Men’s Doubles Championships

Friday night last was one of the busiest evenings on the badminton calendar in Kerry when the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre played host to the sponsored Division 1, 3 and 5 Ladies and Men’s Doubles Championships.

With 128 players signed up to play it was always going to be a long night in Killarney and the Men’s Division One Final was still in progress after midnight but it was great to see the buzz of a busy hall to show Kerry badminton in a healthy place.

In the Ladies division 5 championship Listowel duo Laura Sheehan and Susie Rice progressed to final from the top side of the draw without dropping a set. Meanwhile on the bottom of the draw Moyvane pairing Fiona Buckley and Charlotte Quinn didn’t have things so easy. In the quarter final they overcame Danielle Noonan and Cindy Walsh of Listowel 18-21, 21-19, 21-13. Then in the semi-final the overcame Sonia Smith and Tara O Shea of Killarney 21-23, 21-18, 21-12. The fresher pairing of Sheehan and Rice were to come through in the final and win the Eileen Roche Perpetual Cup 21-17, 21-16. Sheehan and Rice will no doubt have to step up to Division 4 next season where both of their fathers James and Tom respectively are still very much to the fore as players.

The Men’s Division 5 doubles championship for the Junior Griffin Perpetual Cup was hugely competitive this year. Ballyheigue had two pairing in the semi-final but neither was able to get past that stage. Patrick Browne and Brian Hehir were beaten by Padraig Hanrahan & Radek Choromanski of Moyvane 21-12, 23-21. On the other side of the draw Paraic Murray and Joe Carroll of Causeway must have felt they had one foot in the final already when they took the first set against Kyle Reidy and Alan O Halloran of Ballyheigue 21-7. However Reidy and O Halloran showed huge spirit and great determination to make a brilliant comeback. Eventually however Murray and Carroll pulled through in three sets  21-7, 15-21, 23-21. Murray and Carroll started the final well too taking the first set but Hanrahan and Choromanski settled and eventually took a good contest in three sets 15-21, 21-16, 21-18. This was a first county title for both these players at any level.

In reaching the final of the Ladies Division 3 Championship Samira Hayes (Killarney) and Michelle Beasley (Kingdom-Castleisland) had to overcome two pairs of Moyvane partners. First they beat Francine Collins and Ciara Hudson 21-17, 21-13 before beating Bridget McCarthy and Denise Collins 21-16, 21-13. On the other side of the draw Jeab Workman (Killarney) and Jill Redmond (Listowel) also reached the final without dropping a set overcoming Aoife Bowler (Moyvane) and Adele O Brien in the quarter final before beating Carmel Hudson and Jeanelle Griffin of Moyvane 21-13, 21-16. Something had to give in the final but it was to be Hayes and Beasley that came out on top in two sets 21-12, 21-18. Hayes who took the singles title a few weeks back will now have an opportunity to win the treble when the mixed doubles championships takes place later in the season.

The Men’s Division 3 championship had the biggest field of the night with with 32 players taking part. The final saw Listowel pairing Arthur Chute and Andy McMahon take on Kingdom Castleisland duo Jamie Elliott and Timmy Hanrahan. Hanrahan and Elliott were hoping it would be a case of three time lucky as they had been beaten in the final in both 2017 and 2018. But Chute and McMahon had seamlessly reached the final without every even looking like dropping a set and they won the final comfortably too 21-17, 21-11.

Edel Kenny (Kingdom Castleisland) had been half of a doubles partnership to win the Ladies Doubles Championship every year since 2015. She partnered up with Sinead Galvin (Killarney) this year hoping for the 5 in a row. However they were to face stern competition from Maeve Twomey (Killarney) and Elaine Hudson (Moyvane) in which proved to be a thrilling semi-final. Having brushed off the challenge of the Kingdom Castleisland pairing Ruth Concannon and Brid Murphy in the quarter final 21-11, 21-16 Twomey and Hudson got the better start in the semi-final winning the first set 21-18. The second set ebbed and flowed in both directions and featured brilliant rallies before Kenny and Galvin eventually took it 26-24. However Twomey and Hudson would not be denied although they did seem to encounter stage fright after establishing a 19-11 lead in the final set they eventually won 21-19. The competition on the other side of the draw was just as intense as it took two three setters for Niamh Hickey (Killarney) and Saorcha Fitzgerald (Moyvane) to get to the final. First they beat Moyvane pairing Amanda Carmody and Niamh Flaherty 21-10, 18-21, 21-7 before beating Mary Falvey (Annascaul) and Jennifer Keane (Killarney) 22-24, 21-19, 21-19.

No matter what the result in the final two players were about to win their first ever Division 1 title. Twomey and Hudson settled better in the final and went on dominate as Hickey and Fitzgerald never really got into the game. It was all over in two sets as Twomey and Hudson won 21-15, 21-10.

Kingdom Castleisland pairing Tom Bourke and Eric Nelligan were going for seven Men’s Division 1 Doubles titles in a row last Friday night. They easily brushed aside Brendan McGovern (Annascaul) and Aaron Tan (Kingdom Castleisland) 21-15, 21-8 in the quarter final and Moyvane pairing Donie Enright and Donnacha Moloney 21-9, 21-14 in the semi-final so people could have been forgiven for thinking the final might be a foregone conclusion. However fellow Kingdom Castleisland players Alan Nelligan and Michael Crossan had other ideas. They first beat John Mulvihill and Timmy Noonan of Moyvane 21-15, 21-12 and then they beat Listowel pairing Fergal Hannon and Paddy Redmond 21-17, 21-15 for a tilt at the champions.

After a busy night in the hall it was close to midnight before this contest even gone underway but a large crowd had stayed on to witness what turned out to be a wonderful game. Nelligan and Crossan took the first set 23-21 and it looked like a shock could be on the cards. However Bourke and the other Nelligan survived to take a close second set 21-19. This seemed to burst the bubble of the underdogs and the third set never looked in doubt as Bourke and Nelligan won 21-12 to retain the cup for another year at least.

Other than Samira Hayes in Ladies Div 3 Bourke is the only player from these 3 divisions going into the mixed doubles championship with a chance of winning a county championship treble this year.

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