Minority Report – Herald February 20

BADMINTON: So near and yet so far – that was the verdict after the Irish badminton team produced their best ever performance at the European Mixed Team Championships in Moscow. Determined to take full advantage of a good draw, the Irish were on target to top their group after victories over Finland and Israel. In their final match they facedFrance for a place in the quarter-finals. It started well, with Sam and Chloe Magee winning the mixed doubles and Chloe Magee taking the women’s singles, beating Perrine Buhanic, winner of the Irish ranking tournament in Baldoyle last last year.  Scott Evans then faced Brice Leverdez, a player ranked just above him. The closely-fought match went to a tie-breaking third set, which the Frenchman won. The story was repeated in the men’s doubles, when Sam Magee and Evans lost out in the tie-breaker. So it came down to the women’s doubles, where the French pair proved too strong for Jennie King and Sinead Chambers.
SNOOKER: With the European Snooker Championships in Sertbia looming, the Irish men’s sqaud trained at a two-day camp in in Carlow with national coach PJ Nolan last week. Jason Devaney from Ballina, John Sutton from Celbridge, Mark Tuite from Killarney and Andrew Doherty from Celbridge were put through their paces on the opning day, followed by Jason Devaney from Ballina, Josh Boileau from Newbridge, Ryan Cronin from Crucible, and Roadstone pair George O Hara and Stephen Merrigan a day later.

WHEELCHAIR RUGBY: After three days of thrilling play, the Netherlands beat Czech Republic to win the Wheelchair Rugby European Championships Qualifiers in Gormanston College, Co Meath recently.

After eight exciting matches,  the final went to extra time, with the Dutch only edging it 56-54. It was a fitting finale to a high quality tournament where, with a bit of luck, the home team could have made it through. In their first match against the Czech Republic,  the Gaelic Warriors led with 40 seconds to go but then lost 40-39. A 61-27 victory over Italy put the Warriors back in contention and, in their final group match against the Dutch, they were tied 42-42 with five minutes left. Agonisingly, the Dutch then pulled away to win 48-44. On the plus side, wheelchair rugby won many new fans with this tournament  and the Gaelic Warriors proved that they can mixed it with the best. Here’s to the next one!

VOLLEYBALL: A heart-stopping five set victory over Tallaght Rockets midweek means that DVC are again top of volleyball’s women’s premiership after  Santry briefly took over on top last week. A determined DVC now face UCD today at their base in Clondalkin. Santry have a rest weekend before taking on the Tallaght Rockets next weekend. In the men’s premiership, Aer Lingus now have a three point lead at gthe top of the table on UCD after the students lost to Ballymun Patriots last weekend. Aer Lingus are unbeaten since losing their opening match of the season to Ballymun.
CANOEING: Wildwater padders enjoyed a full flood at the river Inny in Co Londford last week when Mickie Brennan of Thomastown Paddlers won the men’s senior K1 race in 9 minutes 36 seconds. Just four seconds adrift was Tom Brennan of Salmon Leap followed by his clubmates Iolar Mac Giolla Phadraig and Sean McCarthy. First junior was Odhran McNally of Wildwater. Almost as fast as the lads was Aisling Smith of Wildwater who was first woman. In the C1 class, Celbridge veteran Tadgh McIntyre added another win to his considerable collection. This weekend sees the national sprint and classic wildwater championship staking place at Aghade in Co Carlow.

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