On the 25th March The Royal and Prior Comprehensive School Raphoe were represented at the All Ireland Schools’ Badminton Finals in Gormanston, Co. Meath by three of their teams.
PE Teacher KathyAnn Gibson at the Royal and Prior says: “We are very excited to have enjoyed success on the All-Ireland stage (yet again!) picking up two National Titles and one runners-up title”
The path to the National Finals was secured on Friday 6th March when 3 out of 4 Royal and Prior Teams experienced success at a provincial level, winning Ulster Titles in Lisburn.
The Junior Girls (Emma Gallagher, Leah Darragh, Kim Laird, Leah Magee & Chloe Lowry) may be the youngest group but their mature approach and level head led to them easily seeing off their opponents. Resounding victories over Munster 6-0, Leinster 5-1 saw them dominate this section. Strong singles kicked off by Emma Gallagher got both matches off to a great start and set the team up in winning ways. Emma Gallagher & Leah Darragh won both their matches in relaxed form and the combined force of Kim Laird & Chloe Lowry appeared too strong for their opponents. These girls achievements are unique in that they now hold 2 All-Ireland titles, this exact team last year lifted silverware in the U-14 Div.1 section.
The Senior Boys (Ryan Macbeth, Josh McMullan, Mark Laird & Aaron McAuley) had one mission throughout the year, and that was to hold the All-Ireland U-19 Div.1 Cup. Last year the same 4 four competed for this revered title, but were denied by Friend’s School, Lisburn on a count back and lost out by a single point and had to settle for 2nd best. This year the boys put an end to Friends ambitions of ever doing the same by hammering them 6-0. Throughout the entire season these boys achieved a unique outcome, in that not a set was dropped nor a game lost by any of the boys, reflecting their control at senior level. This is the 3rd time The Royal School gets to add its name proudly onto the cup, the last time being 2007 and 2002 before that. Regrettably, this year we lose 2 of our Senior Boys as both Ryan Macbeth & Aaron McAuley who were fully committed to school’s badminton and will certainly be missed.
The Junior Boys (Jamie McKinney, Aaron Magee, Jack Macbeth, Ben Wallace and Aaron Knox) had no easy road to travel on Wednesday.
They played Terenure College who denied the Raphoe lads a win last year. The Terenure Boys were very strong again but the Raphoe boys managed a draw 3-3, and won 164-144 on points. Winning this match left the boys in a confident position heading into the deciding match against the Munster school Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk. The strength of the Munster side was unexpected, and they took the Ulster side by storm.
Losing all the singles matches, led to a series of determined doubles matches with the pairing of Aaron Magee and Ben Wallace winning their match 30-27 and Jack Macbeth & Aaron Knox combined skills to outwit their opponents clinching the game 30-13. Winning these doubles matches gained the 2 points which proved a positive contribution to secure a runner-up place.
Raphoe continues to develop a strong tradition in Badminton Circles and as KathyAnn Gibson says: “We are most proud of our players” “Our pupils have been making the cut for many years now and I hope this strong tradition of dominance continues”