18 February 2015
TWO TEAMS from De La Salle College Churchtown secondary school were denied at the final hurdle in their attempt to secure their respective Leinster Schools' League divisional crowns which were decided at the Baldoyle Leinster Badminton Hall last week.
Their pair of runners-up honours in the province followed good showings in the county championships. The De La Salle B team led by Rico Alayon, winners of the Division 3 Dublin final, and the A team, captained by Jamie McMahon, had finished as runners-up in the capital's Division 2.
Both teams opened with wins, the A team easing past St. Peter's Of Wexford's A side 6-0 while the B team impressed in their 4-2 victory over a strong St. Kevin's side.
However, the B team were saved from an early exit in the next match when Alayon and Mohammed Tayyab secured a win on points difference against St. Peter's B side.
With one match between them and the Leinster final, the A team dispatched Columba of Westmeath 5-1, while the B team triumphed over Dundalk Grammar school, 4-2. The A team faced the dominant Terenure College B team, who had defeated De La Salle in this year's Dublin final, while the B team faced a well drilled Killinna of Offaly.
Killinna showed their prowess in the singles matches which saw Alayon, Tayyab and Steven Tian lose in close encounters with their Offaly opponents. The last single match played pitted Michael Fitzgerald of De La Salle against Conor Owens. The in-form Fitzgerald won 30-17 to give De La Salle a lifeline going into the doubles matches.
Alayon and Tayyab were paired against Owens and Leonard, but they lost at the end of a close match as Killinna pulled away and became champions of their Leinster division in the process.
The last final of the day was the De La Salle A team against Terenure College's B team.
Kai Fai Shun lost the first match against David Gavin, while De La Salle's Danreb Matcha found Chris Clarke's defence too difficult to breach. Jamie McMahon faced David DeRrul, who had beaten him twice this season already, and it became a hat trick at the end of this match. Neil Angel ran his opponent close in the final singles rubber, but was defeated with the final swat of the shuttle and Terenure B secured the Leinster title.
The De La Salle team clicked in the doubles with both sets of teams winning comfortably over their Terenure rivals, leaving the overall score at 4-2. Like the B team, the A team performed admirably over the course of the competition, just unfortunately unable to claim victory in their respective finals.
By Cillian McGinnity (5th year)