Dunne earns Ireland call
The Leinster Close Juvenile Badminton Championship took place over Christmas, with titles on offer in four age categories.
While Wexford didn't have any success in the Under-11 category, Taghmon's Clodagh Dunne performed well in the Under-15 and Under-17 age categories, while Gorey players dominated the Under-13 age category.
Clodagh finished as runner-up in both the Under-15 and Under-17 singles events, losing to Dublin players Niamh Gannon and Kate Frost respectively in the finals.
In the doubles events however, Clodagh took both Under-15 and Under-17 titles, partnering Leah Auld from Kildare in the Under-15 event, and Kate Frost from Dublin in the Under-17 event.
Jack Nolan from Gorey, partnering James McKenzie from Taghmon, finished in third place in the Under-15 boys' doubles event.
In the Under-13 events, four out of five finals featured Gorey players. In the boys' singles, Evan Byrne took the title, his fourth singles win of the season. Playing with Seán Bass in the doubles, the Gorey duo finished as runners-up to Peter McDonald from Kilkenny, and Seán Patrick Laureta from Dublin.
Evan Byrne was also runner-up in the mixed doubles, partnering Aine Crowe. Aine and Leonie Ward were also runners-up in the girls' doubles, losing out to sisters Orla and Neasa Flynn from Kildare.
The Under-13 and Under-17 Connacht Opens took place in Sligo, with a huge entry from all over Ireland in both events. Wexford was represented by Clodagh Dunne from Taghmon in the Under-17 event, and by Gorey players Evan Byrne, Seán Bass, Aine Crowe and Leonie Ward in the Under-13 event.
The Gorey players made it to four semi-finals in the Under-13 event. In the boys' doubles semi-final, Evan Byrne and Seán Bass lost out in a close three-set match to eventual winners Peter McDonald and Jack Armstrong.
In the girls' doubles semi-final, Aine Crowe and Leonie Ward went out to number two seeds Kerry Fallon and Megan McLoughlin from Kildare. Leonie Ward also lost her mixed doubles semi-final, playing with David Downey from Kildare.
In the boys' singles, Evan Byrne made it to the final where he lost a singles match for the first time this season, and had to settle for runners-up spot. Peter McDonald from Kilkenny, whom Evan had defeated only a week earlier in the final of the Leinster Close tournament, took the title on this occasion.
Clodagh Dunne reached the final of the Under-17 singles, doubles and mixed events, a fine achievement given that she is still an Under-15 player, and the Under-17 event included the best players from all over Ireland.
Clodagh, playing with Kyle Magee from Donegal, lost out in the final of the mixed to number one seeds, Paul Reynolds and Kate Frost from Dublin. Clodagh also finished as runner-up to Frost in the girls' singles, despite playing a superb match to take the number one seed to three sets.
Clodagh did take one title - the girls' doubles, playing with Kerri Scott and defeating the Woods sisters from Belfast in the final.
Congratulations to Clodagh who on the back of these excellent results has been selected as one of only four girls on the Irish Under-17 team. This is a wonderful achievement for the 14-year-old Dunne who has worked so hard over the years, with continual support from her family and friends, to pursue her badminton ambitions.
County shield finals took place in Ramsgrange just after the new year break with Shelburne and Taghmon dominating proceedings. It may be the first competition of the year and players might not be at their fittest after the holidays, but still the competitiveness was apparent with every strike of the shuttle.
Many thanks to shield manager Ciarán Doyle who steered the first competition of the year to a successful conclusion.
Winners were: Division 2, Shelburne; Division 3, Taghmon; Division 4, Shelburne; Division 5, Taghmon; Division 6, Terrerath.