Donegal were successful in the 2015 Gilbert Cup, Badminton Ireland B. Grade, Ulster Inter League Competition, which took place in the National Badminton Hall, Lisburn on Saturday 7th. February last.
With ten teams competing for places in 3 divisions, Donegal had two teams involved, sponsored by Northern Garage, Donegal Town. It was their strongest squad in recent years and it proved successful with the A team taking home the Gilbert Cup for the first time in 12 years.
The Donegal teams were under the direction of William Love, with transport provided by Gerry McLaughlin Coaches, Convoy.
DONEGAL A. TEAM
There were 3 teams in qualifying round B. fighting to get into the Div.1. finals. Donegal A. first encountered North Down B., en-route to the final, beat them 6/1 and took on former champions Coleraine & District. and held off a very strong challenge , particularly from the Coleraine women, Donegal A. 5 pts, Coleraine & Dt. 2 pts.
GILBERT CUP DIV. 1. FINALS
The Donegal A. team selected from 5 clubs, was led by team captain Deborah Moore (Dunfanaghy) , supported by Fiona Duffy (Hillhead), Cathy Ann Gibson (3 Rivers) , Siobhan Parker (Lennon). Men, Ryan Macbeth (Ballindrait), Jeffrey Magee & Evin Henderson (Raphoe), Glen Duncan (Donoughmore) & Simon Moore (Dunfanaghy). In the Div. 1. Finals Donegal A. had their toughest match against former champions Ulster League A. team.
DONEGAL A. v ULSTER LEAGUE A.
1st. mens doubles, Ryan Macbeth & Jeffrey Magee beat Ian Suffern & Colin Watterson 21/18, 21/10.
2nd. mens doubles, Evin Henderson & Glen Duncan beat Nigel Booth & Leslie Funston 21/10, 21/18.
1st. ladies doubles, Deborah Moore & Fiona Duffy were beaten by Dawn McClung & Karen Ballantine 10/21, 17/21.
2nd. ladies doubles, Kathy Ann Gibson & Siobhan Parker beat Sheena Hughes & Lorna Beattie 21/18, 21/18.
1st. mixed doubles, Ryan Macbeth & Cathy Ann Gibson beat Ian Suffren & Dawn McClung 20/22, 21/14, 21/18.
2nd. mixed doubles, Jeffrey Magee & Fiona Duffy were beaten by Colin Watterson & Karen Ballantine 21/19, 15/21, 21/23.
3rd. mixed doubles, Simon Moore & Deborah Moore beat Nigel Booth & Sheena Hughes 21/15, 21/13.
Result, Donegal A., 5 pts., Ulster League A., 2 pts.
Donegal A. were now in sight of the finish line and duly passed the post with a 6/1 win over North Down A. In the last match of the Dv. 1. Ulster League A. beat North Down 5/2.
2015 Gilbert Cup Div. 1, Champions, Donegal A., 11 Pts., R-up, Ulster League A., 7 Pts., 3rd. North Down A., 3 pts.
DONEGAL B. TEAM
The Donegal B. team with players selected from 5 clubs was led by team captain Mark McLucas (Burt) supported by 3 Rivers players Matthew Warke, Christopher Kemps & Martin Mooney. Ladies, Heather Harron (Laghey), Aimee Moore (Hillhead), Nissa Henderson (Raphoe) Shannon Russell (3 Rivers) who played on the Co. Donegal U. 17 team, Dv. 1. Ulster Inter League champions 2015, getting her 1st. cap on the Donegal Senior team.
The Donegal B. team got the short straw when it came to the draw in Group A. with 4 teams in the mix, North Down A. , former champions, Ulster League B. & Church of Ireland.
The Donegal B. team were only narrowly beaten 4/3 by North Down A. Donegal B. held off a very strong challenge from Ulster League B. to secure a 4/3 win and concluded the group beating Church of Ireland 6/1. Donegal B. were only 1 pt. behind North Down A. , who were up in dv. 1 finals while Donegal B. were in Dv. 2.
DIV. 2. FINALS :
Donegal B. v North Down B.
1st. mens doubles, Mark McLucas & Matthew Warke beat Ben McMechan & Stephan Moss 22/20, 21/16.
2nd. mens doubles, Christopher Kemps & Martin Mooney beat Danny Armstrong & Alan Carnduff 21/18, 22/20.
1st. ladies doubles, Heather Harron & Aimee Moore beat Louise Paul & Lisa Wallace 21/10, 22/20.
2nd. ladies, Nissa Henderson & Shannon Russell beat Lizanne Kennedy & Lynne Nesbitt 21/16, 21/15.
1st. mixed, Mark McLucas & Nissa Henderson were beaten by Ben McMechan & Lizanne Kennedy 18/21, 21/14, 15/21.
2nd. mixed doubles, Matthew Warke & Aimee Moore beat Stephan Moss & Louise Paul 22/24, 21/16, 21/11.
3rd. mixed doubles, was conceded to North Down B. as Christopher kemps was injured.
Result, Donegal B., 5 pts., North Down B., 2 pts.
Ballinderry beat North Down 6/1 and proved too strong for Donegal B. who had already conceded 2nd. mens. Ballinderry were dv. 2 champions with Donegal B. very worthy runners up, 3 rd., North Down B. Coleraine & Dt. won the Dv. 3 with North Down C. runners up.
It was an outstanding tournament for all the Donegal squad members who really excelled, Donegal A. winning the Div. 1. Gilbert cup for the first time in 12 years and Donegal B. runners up in Div. 2. William Martin made the presentations and William Love congratulated all the Donegal players on their success.