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Junior Report, 2008-09 Season

posted 26 Sep 2009, 10:22 by Connacht Branch Badminton
Connacht Badminton Juvenile Report 08/09 - John Dolan

State of Juvenile badminton in Connacht

As this is my last report stepping down from my position I decided to revisit the last five years of the juvenile committee. I have been blessed with a hard working group of people – Anthony Walsh, Therese O’Brien, Mary Forde and Liz Hughes and a limited amount of meetings. My job has been made that much easier also by the support and help of non committee people Paul Dolan, Vera Scanlon, Bridie Brennan and Michael Kearney.

Juvenile Competitions: In Connacht we run a large amount of events over the season and I will briefly touch on these.

Sligo Open which is run by Paul Dolan and Vera Scanlon.
Connacht Open run by Micheal O'Morain and Therese O'Brien.
The season starts off with the Sligo Open, Galway Open, Connacht Closed,Yeats 'B', Ballina Singles and Strokestown Fun Event.

Each County also run a County championship, Sligo, Mayo, Galway and Leitrim. That is a total of 9 tournaments which is 12 weekends and on top of this a number of training sessions are organised.

Schools Badminton

Therese O’Brien has been carrying out much work in this area with the level of participation from schools building every year with increased numbers to 450 school kids from 26 schools in three divisions, culminating with Summerhill College Sligo winning the Under 14 Boys Division 1 last year.

Connacht had success this year with Silver Medals to Summerhill College and Ursline Convent Sligo in Division 2, and Gold to Sacred Heart Secondary Girls Under 19.

She is also assisted by Tommy Hehir and David Magee but 99% of the work is done by Therese during the week.

Inter Provincial Teams

Five years ago we decided to re enter teams in the series despite some stiff opposition from the Branch, claiming that it was excessive cost and that the standard was too weak in Connacht. We entered 2 teams under 15 and 13 and this year we had 4 teams with an extra junior team.

The standard has improved over the years in achieving a silver medal this year at under 15 level but the real and lasting purpose of this competition is for the weaker players who aspire to represent their province. We have had some heavy defeats but no player has come back to me and not dearly wanted to be selected next year.

This year we got the late opportunity of sending a team of under 15’s to the Celtic Challenge in Baldoyle and I want to thank Paul Dolan and Adrian Kenna for managing the team. The team defeated East of Scotland 8 - 7. Just imagine the sense of pride for those players in years to come when asked if they play badminton.

The most important group of players are the ordinary club juniors who will be tomorrows adults and I would suggest that each county run a B tournament and not allow any Inter Provincial player to enter as a start.

At the other end of the spectrum we had the following players representing Ireland: Jonathon Dolan and David Walsh at under 15 level and Mark Dolan at under 17. This is a great achievement for the boys and also their parents who have clocked up a lot of miles and indeed air miles with Jonathon playing and winning Gold events in England last season.

Because of the success and increased numbers, badminton has moved to a 52 week season with summer camps in Ballina, Sligo and Claregalway last year. We now have some more Level 1 coaches in Connacht, and indeed Joseph Keown worked with the under 13 Inter pro team and is available all summer or weekends during the season to travel anywhere in Connacht, so this should help clubs with no coach.

Finally I want to thank the Branch Officers for all their help and support last year and wish the new committee all the best in their endeavers.
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