Donegal win at Badminton Youth Games
The recent Sport Northern Ireland Badminton Youth Games which were held at the National Badminton Centre in Lisburn were a great success.
In attendance were nine of Ulster Badminton’s Regional Development Squads that had been training on a weekly basis since October 2007. The squads cater for those players who have not yet reached the level of Ulster and Ireland representation at Under 15 level, and act as a link between school badminton and these representative squads.
The nine squads were arranged into three groups with last year’s top three, South East Lisburn, South East Ards and Donegal, being the seeded team in each group.
The groups were as follows:
South East Lisburn, North East Coleraine and Down
Donegal, North East Antrim and Belfast
South East Ards, Western Londonderry and Southern
All three groups went with seeding meaning once again Lisburn, Ards and Donegal would battle it out for the top three places. However the top three teams were pushed hard in their opening group matches.
In Group 1, Lisburn had to battle hard against a very competitive Coleraine side and the final 5-2 score line did not do the North East team justice with three of the matches being decided on the final few points.
Donegal had the most comfortable route through, winning their group matches 6-1 and 5-2 over Antrim and Belfast. Antrim and Belfast were then involved in a very tight match to decide second and third places. With the score at 3-3 the mixed doubles would decide the event. In a very tight game Antrim won 21-19 thanks to the efforts of, Richard Gan and Gemma Gray.
Group 3 proved to be the tightest of the three groups. Ards opened with a 4-3 victory over Londonderry. The Western team then had a very competitive match against the Southern squad before going down 2-5. This meant it all rested on the final match between Ards and Southern to decide the group. Ards eventually won the match 4-3 meaning last years runners up would have the opportunity to go one better this year.
In the play off matches to decide positions seven to nine, all matches were decided by the score line 5-2. Belfast defeated Down, before losing to Londonderry, who then went on to defeat Down. Coleraine, Antrim and Southern finished second in their respective groups and went on to compete for positions four to six. Both Coleraine and Southern comfortably defeated the Antrim team and went on to compete for fourth place. In a very tight match Coleraine won the last two matches, the first one 21-20, to win the tie 4-3.
In the top group the defending champions and pre tournament favourites, Lisburn, went down in the first match 3-4 to a strong Donegal team, again with the tie being decided by the mixed doubles match, Donegal winning 21-18, thanks to, James Devaney and Carol McElhinney. The next match featured Donegal and Ards and a win for the Donegal team would ensure them the title. In another closely fought contest the Donegal team showed their strength in depth and defeated Ards 4-3 with James and Carol winning the deciding match once again. The final group game saw the two South East sides battle it out for second place. It was not surprising to see the match finish 4-3 as there had been nothing between the top three sides all day. Ards won the match and took second place, leaving neighbours Lisburn to settle for third.
The final places were as follows:
- South East Ards
- South East Lisburn
- North East Coleraine
- North East Antrim
- Western Londonderry
Speaking after the event, Ryan Prentice Regional Development Officer of Ulster Branch Badminton Union of Ireland commented: “Many congratulations to all those who took part on the day and to all the coaches for the hard work throughout the year. It was a great day of competition and there was a great deal of talent on show. There are a number of young talented players coming through the Regional Development Squad programme and I look forward to seeing how these players progress over the next few years and to hopefully seeing them progress into Ulster squads.”
He continued: “Thanks also to William Martin and Emma Nesbitt for their hard work and support on the day and helping to run the competition so effectively.”