The Victor Leinster Christmas Juvenile Close is one of the best tournaments for our young stars to perform in during the season.
All coaches and selectors were in attendance over the four-day event, as Celtic challenge teams and the infamous "Notts" team are picked on its results along with previous tournament performances.
Unfortunately, this tournament was pestered by the dreaded drips from the roof in the Terenure Centre and, thankfully, due to the hard work of Mary Gannon and Jackie Killoch, the tournament still went ahead, although slightly behind schedule.
The U17 tournament began with the duel of Terenure College's Adam Jermyn against the younger Liam O'Leary (De La Salle, Dundalk). These top seeds are the best singles players of their age group. In the opening game, O'Leary had a slight lead at the mid-point, 11-8. He played some super badminton, using his speed around the four corners of the court, and took the opener 21-11. Although Jermyn tried every shot in the game, O'Leary once again had the lead, of 11-3, at the mid-point. Adam never recovered as O'Leary took the game, and the title, 21-10.
Once again these two stars met in the boys' doubles -- Jermyn partnered by fellow Terenure College student Graham Doyle, and O'Leary partnered by fellow Dundalk neighbour Neil O'Flaherty (Gormanston College).
The opening game went to the Dublin pair of Jermyn and Doyle 21-15, but the Dundalk duo regrouped and took the middle game 15-21. This led the supporters into a final-game thriller, but the Dublin pair had a slight lead at the mid-point 11-7 and went on to win the title 21-16.
The ladies' singles final was between the two McCourt sisters from St Vincent's Dundalk. It was the slightly older Michelle taking on Fionnuala who had earlier cleaned up in all three events in the U15 age group. Michelle took the title 21-13 21-7, then she teamed up with her long-time partner, Dublin's Jane Killoch (St Dominic's Cabra), in the doubles. Their opponents were Dublin's Ashling Golden (Holy Faith Clontarf) and Rachael Boyle (Portmarnocks CC). Although Golden and Boyle fought hard on court, experience came through in the end when McCourt and Killoch, the defending champions, took the title 21-12 21-12.
Boyle and Killoch were back out on court again in the mixed doubles final. The number one seeds of David Marron (St Benildus Stillorgan) and Jane Killoch took on non-seeds of Jermyn and the young Rachael Boyle, who took the opener 19-21.
However, the top seeds then took control of the final, winning the middle game 21-9. Marron and Killoch continued to dominate in the last set, winning 21-16 to take the title.
Leinster U17 team (to play for Leinster in Nottingham on April 7-11) -- Boys: Adam Jermyn (Terenure Col), Liam O'Leary (DLS, Dundalk), Neil O'Flaherty, (Gormanston Col), David Marron (St Belindus), Graham Doyle (Terenure Col). Girls: Michelle McCourt (St Vincents Dundalk), Jane Killoch (St Dominics Cabra), Clodagh Kent (Loreto Wexford), Ciara Dunne (Loreto Wexford), Rachael Boyle (Portmarnock CC). Coach: Pat Marron. Manager: Amanda Dunlop.