Sligo players excelled at the recently held Connaught Closed badminton Championships. These annual Championships define the most prestigious badminton Titles in the Connaught badminton scene.
Boyle Badminton Club had their debut to host the Connaught Closed ‘A’ Grade Championships on 21st January. The effort put in by the host club was clear to see with top-quality, professional grade synthetic flooring being transported from Badminton Ireland’s Leinster headquarters especially for the event in Boyle.
Two Sligo players made the final of the Men’s Singles event, both players having previously represented their country in respective age-groups. Jonathan Dolan defeated his cousin, Conor Scanlon in a final which did not have any lack of class and athleticism. In the Ladies Singles event, Ballymote native, Paula Watt defeated Helen Sheahan (Galway) in a 3 set thriller.
As the singles came to a close, players paired-up and switched to doubles mode for the Mens/Ladies Doubles and Mixed Doubles Events. Once again, Sligo showed their dominance in these Events with Sligo players taking all 3 of these Provincial Titles. In the Mens Doubles Fintan Keown and Graeme Watt (Sligo) were winners with Jonathan Dolan and brother Mark Dolan (Sligo) runners up. Sligo pairing of Paula Watt and Victoria Stevens took the Ladies Doubles in 2 sets against Galway pair Helen Sheahan and G Gilmore. This was an impressive win as Sheahan and Gilmore had defeated the Sligo pair earlier in the day during the Group stages. Four Sligo Tennis Club players met in the final of the Mixed Doubles Event with Jonathan Dolan and Francie Mahon eventually taking the tie in a close 3 set match which was a fitting end to eleven hours of extremely competitive badminton in Boyle. Over 50 players battled it out for these highly coveted Provincial Titles. The overall organisation of the tournament was overseen by referee Padraig O’Dowd from Boyle.
Last weekend in Galway the Connacht Closed ‘B’ Grade Championshipe were held at Galway Lawn Tennis Club. In the Ladies Singles event an up-and-coming young Sligo player, Fionnuala Scanlon, won in fine style by defeating Galway lady Mary Casey. The success didn’t end there for Fionnuala as she went on to team up with Francie Mahon (Sligo) to reach the Ladies Doubles final, losing out to the Finnegan sisters from Leitrim.
Pride of place goes to our STC Web Master Jeff Kay who in his first competitive tournament had a few well deserved wins with partner Alan Mc Donagh (Ballymote) and is really looking forward to the next outing of his badminton career.
Sligo badminton spokesperson, John Dolan, says ‘the increased level of success of Sligo badminton players is down to the high performance coaching strategy that Sligo has developed with the support of the Sligo Sports Partnership’.
County Sligo have entered a team in the National County Championships (Inter-Counties) at Class 3 level, with the qualifiers due in Limerick on 26th February 12. Sligo Tennis Club have also entered a team in the National Intermediate Cup which will be played in Galway on 18/19th Feb. Good luck to both County and Club Teams in these competitions.