BADMINTON: Alpha pair enjoy Ulster title success

Beth Stephenson
Beth Stephenson

Clodagh Dunne, the top ranked Irish player from Taghmon may have won a hat-trick of titles at the Ulster Under 15 Open at the National Badminton Centre over the weekend but there were also a number of very good performances from Ulster players including Alpha pair Beth Stephenson who partnered Miss Dunne to lift the girls doubles title while Matthew Prentice was to partner Adam Mcalister in the boys doubles when they saw off Mark Kinnerk and Kyle Magee in the final.

For Rachael Woods who was seeded No2 behind Clodagh Dunne in both the girls singles and girls doubles partnering her sister Rebecca, there may have been some disappointment in finishing runner-up, particularly after she had recorded a couple of victories over her in recent head to head challenges but she had started brightly in the competition with straight sets victories over Megan Ferguson (Banbridge) and Kerry Fallon (Naas) and was convincing in her 21-15 21-16 defeat of No3/4 seed Niamh Gannon who had been pushed all the way by Alpha’s Beth Stephenson and just got through 21-17 in the deciding third set.

The opening set of the Woods and Dunne final was a tight one with both players having an opportunity to clinch a one set advantage but when it mattered most it was Dunne who got through 23-21 and the second was no less tense as the Alpha player tried everything the break the resolve of her opponent but again fell just short 21-17.

The doubles saw Stephenson and Dunne progress through to the final with consummate ease while the Woods twins were less impressive and could have dropped sets against Kerry Fallon and Megan McLoughlin and Niamh and Amy Lawlor and found it difficult to make an impact in the final and would have been disappointed with their 21-15 21-15 loss.

Adam Mcallister and Matthew Prentice, seeded No1 in the Boys doubles didn’t have it all their own way as evidenced by being taken to three sets in both the semi-final, coming through 21-18 in the deciding set against David Barton and Oisin Dwyer and in the final when they lifted the title beating Mark Kinnerk and Kyle Magee 12-21 22-20 21-18.