Minority Report Herald January 5

BADMINTON: Ex-pro player and Olympian Tom Reidy is the new high performance director of Badminton Ireland.
The appointment follows a decision by Badminton Ireland to strengthen its high performance  team after   a successful London Olympics where, for a second Games,  time, two Irish players were in action.
Reidy, originally from Adare, Co Limerick, played for the USA in the men’s doubles at the 1992 Olympic Games. He then  moved to Swede where he player pro badminton for two years before beginning a distinguished career as a coach, most recently working at the Swedish National Badminton Centre.
Reidy has already taken the Irish squad for one session at the National Training Centre in Marino. In his new role, he will  make regular visits to Dublin from his Swedish base.
Current performance manager Michael Watt from Belfast moves to the position of Programmes Manager, taking care of administration and paperwork.
Dublin-based Dan Magee continues as national coach, answering to Reidy and managing the high performance centre.
 Along with  Badminton Ireland CEO Richard Vaughan, the trio will make up the Badminton Ireland High Performance Committee.
VOLLEYBALL: With half the volleyball season gone, both men and women’s premier divisions are dominated by two teams, with the final outcome impossible to call. In the women’s league, Santry beat DVC just before Christmas and with both teams sufering only one loss until now, they are tied on points, although DVC have the edge on set difference. Similarly in the men’s league, where UCD is ahead of Aer Lingus on set difference. Aer Lingus lost their very first match of the season to Ballymun Patriots but a clean record since then and victory over UCD in their final match before the holiday break means that their hopes of a comeback after a few years in the wilderness are very much alive.   Although the league resumes next weekend, it could come down to the return matches between these teams next April.
SWIMMING: After completing his Oceans Seven challenge, Irish long distance swimmer Stephen Redmond has won the World Open Water Association’s Swimmer of the Year awards. Redmond’s heroic efforts to complete the swim, making four attempts on the Tsugaru Challenge from Honshu to Hokkaido in Japan, was also nominated in the Performance of the Year category. Redmond, from Co Cork, failed in his initial two attempts, returned to Ireland, and then after a massive fund-raising effort, made a second trip to Japan. On his first attempt at the 12.5 mile channel, big winds forced him to abandon but his second attempt, on his final day in Japan, went like a dream and he took 12 hours 45 minutes to make it. The 47 year old ex-rugby player  became the first person ever to complete the Oceans Seven Challenge – seven of the most difficult open sea swims in the world – after starting with the English Channel in August 2009.
SNOOKER: Celbridge begin their defence of the All Ireland club snooker title when they attempt to qualify from the Leinster Club Championships taking place in the Ivy Rooms, Carlow this weekend. In all 18 teams, divided into four groups,have entered the competition. Celbridge play in a group that included a strong team from Kilkenny.  Other teams in contention included 147 Wexford and the hist club from Carlow.  Next weekend the senior ranking series resumes in Carlow, with David Hogan of Nenagh currently topping the rankings.

*Places on the Irish U-21 team for the European Championships in March are at stake at the  RIBSA U-21 Cue School in Carlow on January 19. Currently topping the rankings are Ryan Cronin (Crucible Cork), Andy McCloskey (Nenagh), Josh Boileau (Newbridge CYMS) and Ross Doyle (Dublin).

TENNIS: Ex-Davis Cup player Colin O’Brien won the men’s singles title at the Wilson National Tennis Indoor Championships in David Lloyd Riverview, Dublin. After an untroubled passage to the final, O’Brien beat John Morrissey after a tough three set batt;e in which he dropped the middle set and was forced into a tiebreak in the third. Morrisey had put out top seed Ciaran Fitzgerald in the semi-finals. In the women’s decider the unseeded Jane Fennelly  out out the No 2 seed Karola Bejenu of English in the semi-final and Holly Monahan in the final. No surprises in the doubles, with John Morrissey pairing up to win the men’s title and Jane Fennelly with GRainne O’Neill the women’s winners.
* Tickets for Ireland’s Davis Cup match  against Estonia at David Lloyd Riverview on February 1-3 are now for sale.

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