Letterfrack Badminton Club’s quest for a first county league title in 17 years ultimately came unstuck in Salthill on the final day of the season when they lost out to NUIG in the Grade G decider on a scoreline of 5-2.
Letterfrack Captain Feichín Walsh, who played on the successful 1997 team, had match point in the second set of the Singles opener against Brian Daniels but the promising NUIG youngster, who hails from Loughrea, held his nerve to steal the set before asserting his dominance in the third and thereby securing a valuable point for his team.
Collette Gannon and Caroline Pryce also won the first set in their Ladies Doubles defeat to Jennifer Hegarty and Jennifer Coleman, while Paul Gannon and Collette Gannon squandered a second set lead of 19-17 in their straight sets mixed doubles defeat to Brian Daniels and Jennifer Coleman.
Kersten Suhr and Jamie Jack had to give second best to John Minogue and Moya O’Donnell in the 3rd Mixed and there was disappointment on the double for the German native after her Singles joust with Emma Frost also ended in a straight sets defeat.
An injury to NUIG’s Emma Frost handed Letterfrack the 2nd Mixed and the West Connemara club also took the Men’s Doubles when Jamie Jack and Paul Gannon defeated John Minogue and Johann Meyer 23–21 in the third.
NUIG subsequently went on to win the All Ireland Grade G club title in Baldoyle.
The sudden and unexpected midseason upgrading of Luke and Amy Gannon from G Grade to F Grade prompted the Letterfrack club to apply successfully to GCBA for permission to compete in a County Grade F League with Loughrea and GLTC.
In the ensuing fixtures, Letterfrack lost out 5-2 and 4-3 to GLTC and shared the spoils with Loughrea (7–7) over the two matches.
Their final points total of 12 consigned them to third place, however – one behind Loughrea who lost out 7 – 0 to GLTC in a very one-sided final.
Letterfrack Badminton Club would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Claddaghduff H (B) team on reaching their county final – an achievement which sees them promoted to the Grade H (A) League for next season.
While frustration and disappointment was the order of the day in league, the opposite was the case in championship with a number of Letterfrack players making significant breakthroughs.
Pride of place goes to Luke Gannon who showed tremendous skill, character and resilience in a thrilling three-set victory over NUIG’s Conor Graham in the Men’s Singles Grade E Singles County Final.
The Dubliner made amends however in the Grade F equivalent when he saved three match points in the third before eventually edging out Feichín Walsh 26–24.
Feichín compensated by partnering Paul Gannon to straight sets victories over the Claregalway duo of Cornelius Dhivakar and Garret Condon in both the Grade G and Grade F Men’s Doubles Finals.
Collette Gannon and Paul Gannon also contested two Mixed Doubles Finals, losing out in the third to NUIG’s Brian Daniels and Jennifer Coleman in the Grade G decider before annexing the Grade F equivalent with a straight sets victory over the NUIG/Loughrea combination of Conor Graham and Marie O’Reilly.
Collette Gannon also partnered Amy Gannon to the final of the Grade G Ladies Doubles only to lose out to NUIG’s Jennifer Coleman and Jennifer Hegarty.
Letterfrack Badminton Club would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Claddaghduff’s Bernard Corbett and Mary Needham on winning the Grade H Mixed Doubles title.
Three Letterfrack players, Collette Gannon, Paul Gannon and Feichín Walsh were subsequently selected to play on the Galway Grade G County team, with the latter also being honoured with the captaincy by team manager Tommy Hehir.
Galway captured the Connacht title, courtesy of 9-0 and 8–1 victories over Roscommon and Mayo, respectively.
Hopes were high that All-Ireland success was imminent but the westerners lost out 6–3 in Baldoyle to a young, spirited and well-drilled Wicklow outfit who subsequently went on to beat Tipperary in the All-Ireland Final.