The 2017 U-17 Ulster Inter League badminton competition, hosted by Coleraine & District, took place in the Jim Watt Centre, Garvagh on Saturday, 7th, where the Division 1 Jack Wilson Cup and the Division 2 Bingy Morrison Cup were up for grabs.
Donegal, missing some of their top U-17s owing to the ‘flu, fielded two teams to defend their 2016 Division 1 and 2 titles.
JACK WILSON CUP - DIVISION 1
The Donegal A team, managed by coach Wesley Knox, progressed to the final where they came up against the top Ulster League side with Ulster and All-Ireland cup winners in their midst.
Jack Macbeth got Donegal A off to a good start, beating O. McClure 21/8, 21/12 in boys singles. Ulster League hit back winning the ladies singles as A Comer took the honours 21/8, 21/12 over U-15 player Courtney Harron, who moved up to support the U-17s and gave a good account of herself.
Ulster League continued their success in girls doubles with M Ferguson and A Chan Taylor defeating Kim Laired and Leah Magee.
In boys doubles Donegal A tied the match at 2-2 as Ronan Hoy and Andrew Wilson, fresh from their U-17 doubles success in Sligo pre Christmas, won first game 21/15 before holding off a very strong challenge from M Robb and C Galway to win second game 22/20.
Donegal A won all three remaining mixed doubles - 1st Mixed, Kim Laird and Jack Macbeth beat A Chan Taylor and M Robb 21/19, 21/15; 2nd Mixed: Leah Magee and Ronan Hoy beat A Comer and C Galway 13/21, 21/18, 21/18; 3rd Mixed: Courtney Harron and Andrew Wilson beat M Ferguson and O McClure 21/15, 21/16.
Final table - Donegal A 5 pts; Ulster League 2 pts. Donegal A were the 2017 U-17 champions and Jack Wilson Cup winners.
BINGY MORRISON CUP - DIVISION 2
The Donegal B team - with 13-year-olds coming in at the bottom - managed by William Love, also progressed to the final where they came up against a strong North Down side.
North Down took first blood in boys singles as T Lloyd proved too strong for Callum Falls.
In girls singles 13-year-old Alana Northey got Donegal back in the race with an excellent 21/6, 21/6 win over M O’Connor.
Jordan Stewart and Aaron Wiley produced the goods for Donegal B in boys doubles, beating O Aiken and A O’Neill 21/14, 21/14.
Girls doubles also went to Donegal as Alana Northey and her fellow Greenbank partner Kate Gourley held off a strong challenge from M McAlees and B O’Gorman, winning 21/19, 21/11.
Donegal B won 1st Mixed, Lynne McKinley and Callum Falls beating M McAlees and T Lloyd 21/19, 21/11.
2nd Mixed went to North Down as B O’Gorman and O Aiken proved too experienced for Kate Gourley and Jordan Stewart, 21/8, 21/18.
In 3rd Mixed, Donegal clinched the match and the cup as Bethany Moore and Alan Clarke beat M O’Connor and A O’Neill 17//21, 22/20, 21/16.
Final table: Donegal 5, North Down 2.
An excellent result for the Donegal squad, winning both the Division 1 and Division 2 titles. Donegal have dominated the U-17 Ulster Inter League for the past ten years. Jack Macbeth was the player of the tournament, unbeaten during the day in singles doubles and 1st mixed doubles in Division 1.
Thanks to Coleraine & District and Alison Parke, tournament director, and to all the Donegal management team.
The 2017 Jim Taylor Cup - Co. Donegal senior badminton team competition - takes place in the Aura, Letterkenny on Saturday, 21st January, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. With seven of top Ulster teams competing, it looks like an excellent day’s badminton.