Leinster Open 2018- First Senior title for Rachael Woods

16 Year Old Rachael Woods produced the Performance of the year so far at the Leinster Open last weekend to win the Women’s Singles title. The Lisburn Emerging Performance Squad player defeated the No.1 & N0.2 seed en-route to winning her first senior Singles title. She had a comfortable Quarter final taking the match 21-14, 21-12 setting up a Semi final clash with 2nd Seed Moya Ryan. Rachael had a fantastic start to the 1st set and kept that momentum to take it 21-11. Moya came back strong in the second set, winning it 21-17 moving the game into a deciding set. It was a close game in the opening stages but Rachael showed composure at the key times during he latter stages and took the match 21-13 in the decider. In the final she was up against Top seed Kate Frost. The first set was extremely close throughout but Frost won some key rallies to take it 25-23. Rachael came back into the match in the second set taking it 21-13 imposing her strong attacking game. In the decider it was tight all the way to the interval. It continued to be a nip and tuck battle up to the latter stages where Rachael really raised her game and took the deciding points to win the set 21-18 and her first senior title!

There were a number of senior Ulster players in the tournament and the other stand out performer was Stuart Lightbody who won the Men’s Doubles with Leinster’s Sam McKay. Having taking out the 2nd Seeds Ciaran Chambers & Mark Brady over 3 sets in the quarter Final, they were up against the Ulster partnership of Tony Murphy & Ryan Stewart. The Ulster/Leinster pair proved too strong, progressing to the Final 21-16, 21-14. They meet the 3/4 seeds Daniel Magee & Eddie Cousins in the final and they continued their great form to take the title 21-19, 21-16.

Keady Smith also had a great tournament reaching the final of the Women’s Doubles with partner Jennie Magee and the final of the Mixed Doubles with Ryan Stewart. The women’s Final had many long rallies evident in the match time of 45minutes and it was the young pair Kate Frost & Moya Ryan who came out on top. The mixed final was one of the matches of the tournament. It was an extremely tight match throughout, with many high level mixed rallies but it was the Husband and Wife pair of Daniel & Jennie Magee who came out victors 23-25, 21-19, 21-19.

Up next for our senior players is the Irish Nationals 3rd-4th February.

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2018 Commonwealth Games- Team NI Announced

Ulster badminton nominated 3 athletes to the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council for selection for Team NI at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and we are delighted that all our nominated athletes have been selected. The selected athletes who will compete at the Games are:

  • Rachael Darragh
  • Sinead Chambers
  • Ciaran Chambers

On behalf of Ulster Badminton congratulations on your selection. We wish you a successful preparation period and 2018 Games!

Rachael Darragh

Sinead & Ciaran Chambers

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Congratulations to Sue Chan Taylor, Rachael Woods and Chloe & Sam Magee- BI Annual Awards 2017

The Badminton Ireland 2017 Annual awards were held on 9th December at the Clayton Hotel, Dublin and an Ulster Volunteer and Performance Squad player took home awards.

Gilford Badminton Club’s Sue Chan Taylor won the Volunteer of the Year and Rachael Woods was successful in taking the Young Player Of the Year award. Fresh of their European Medal win in March, Chloe & Sam won Player of the Year

Sue Chan Taylor was put forward for Volunteer of the Year through her many different Volunteer roles for both Ulster & Ireland. She had a major role in both the Para Irish international & Forza Irish Open through Airport meet & greats and also line judging at both events. Sue also is a volunteer in helping run the Ulster League and a ever present with her many roles at Gilford Badminton Club. Sue is also an active Volunteer in other sports including Netball and the Volunteer award could not go to a more deserving person.

16 Year old Rachael Woods topped off a great Year by taking the Young Player of the Year award. Rachael has won a number of Provincial titles in 2017 and put in some great performances at U17 International events with the highlight reaching the Semi Final of the U17 French Open. Most recently she came through qualifying and reached the Last 16 of the International Series Irish Open a fantastic achievement for her age. A well deserved award for all her hard work and development this season so far.

Chloe and Sam Magee had a great year on the World Circuit with a number of great performances throughout the year. However, it was the Bronze Medal the Raphoe pair won at the European Championships in April which was the highlight of their, securing a first ever medal at a European Championships for Ireland. Fantastic!

It was great to see Sue, Chloe & Sam and Rachael recognised for their dedication and commitment to Badminton! Well Done!


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Ulster A Grade Open 2018

The Ulster A Grade Open 2018 takes place at Lisburn Racquets Club on 7th-8th January. Online Entry deadline for this event is 24th December 2017.

Click here for online entries & further information.

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2018 Commonwealth Games Nominations

The following players have been nominated by Ulster Badminton to compete in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast:

Ciaran Chambers

Rachael Darragh

Sinead Chambers

The provisional number of athlete’s provided by the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council is 1-3 places. The final decision in selection lies with the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council which will be released on the 3rd or 4th January 2018.

Well done to the nominated athletes.

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Silver and Bronze at the Para World Championships!

Emma Farnham and Niall McVeigh added to their World medal tally by taking home a silver and bronze medal at the Para World Championships, Ulsan, Korea.

Emma Farnham took a Silver medal in the SS6 classification ladies doubles partnering Poland’s Maria Bartusz. Coming through top of their group the Ireland/Poland partnership faced Daria Bujnicka and Oliwia Szmigiel (Poland) in the semi finals where the girls had a very strong performance winning 21-13, 21-11.

In the final they faced the No.1 Rachael Choong & Rebecca Bedford from England. The English pair proved too strong for Emma & Maria with the top seeds taking it 21-5, 21-8. However, a great tournament for Emma to claim a world Silver medal!

Niall McVeigh teamed up with Carmen Giuliana Poveda Flores from Peru in the SS6 classification Mixed Doubles. The pair were in Group C, seeded 3 for the tournament and progressed to the Quarter finals as group winners. They faced an Indian/Poland pair for a place in the Semi final.  The first set was a close affair but Nial & Carmen took it 22-20, giving them confidence moving into the 2nd game in which they took comfortably 21-13 and move into the semi finals.

In the Semi final they faced Fabien Morat & Rebecca Bedford. The France/England pair played a very good match to take the match 21-15, 21-18 and progress to the final. As a scratch partnership a bronze medal was an excellent result!

There were a number of other Irish players competing in the SL4 & Wheelchair classifications. For all results follow this Link

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In Memory of Ronnie Watt

Ulster badminton are saddened to hear of the passing of Ronnie Watt.                          Ronnie was a re-noun coaching figure in both Ulster and Ireland, giving words of wisdom and encouragement to many in the badminton Community. Our former Development officer and High Performance coach Leslie Dewart sums Ronnie up perfectly with his tribute:

A Tribute to Ronnie Watt

“He indeed made Michael Watt’s life great in Irish Badminton History, but his wider achievement was to make countless lesser Badminton player’s just that little bit greater. Up and down the country, there will be folk today with a particular memory of Ronnie, whether they saw him in the damp hall of a winter competition in one of the four provinces – setting up his video camera, from the cold days in the McCallum hall in Belfast to many on court marathons coaching passionately his charges against players from across the globe or taking just another coaching session in Alpha – cajoling his players through their paces whilst emphasising court etiquette, letting their imaginations visualise the matches and competition that lay ahead!”
Yea/yea/yea – was all it took to squeeze out those last sets of multi feeds from his self made feeding tube.
His passion and dedication to Badminton in Ireland will never be forgotten.

A much loved coach indeed!

From a close family friend and privileged receiver of Ronnie’s coaching wisdom’

For those wishing to attend, the funeral arrangements are Wednesday 29th at 1.30pm, Hillsborough Presbyterian Church.

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European U17 Team Championships

The U17 European Championships are taking place in Prague, Czech Republic with Ulster’s Rachael & Rebecca Woods representing Ireland & more than holding their own at European level.

In the opening match a strong Ukraine team, Rachael was first up in the Girls singles against the 9th Seed for the Individual event,  Valeriya Rudakova. It was a great match played at a high pace over 3 tight sets with the Ukraine player just taking it 23-21 in the decider.

Daniel O’Meara  faced Danylo Shevchenko in the Men’s singles but his opponent proved too strong winning 21-12, 21-12.

Daniel then partnered Michael Staunton in the Boys doubles against Rozhkov & Shevechenko unfortunately losing out in 2 sets.

Rachael then partnered her sister Rebecca in the girls doubles and after a close first set the Ukrainian pair gained in confidence to take the match 21-14, 21-8.

The mixed went the way of the Ukraine’s against Niamh Gannon & Mark Kinnerk taking it and  21-13, 21-6 and the Ukraine team to take the match 5-0.

Ireland’s second match was against Slovenia and proved to be an exciting affair with Niamh Gannon taking a starting role winning her Girls singles match in 3 sets then teaming up with Alexandra Troy to win the girls doubles 21-13 in the 3rd set to level the match 2-2 going into deciding mixed match. Unfortunately the Slovenia mixed pair played well in the decisive points and taking it 21-17, 21-17 and the overall match 3-2. A good performance from the team!

Ireland’s final group match was against 3/4 seeds France. Having great depth throughout out the entire team the French took the match 4-1 but the score line did not reflect the overall match with a number of 3 set matches and great performances from the Irish team. Rachael was back in the girls singles and performed at a really high level against one of the top European U17 girls just losing out 21-18 in the 3rd set. In the Girls doubles the Woods twins played a great match lasting nearly 40mins to win 21-17, 12-21, 21-18 to put a point on the board for Ireland.

For all results of Ireland’s team matches click here. There is also live streaming of the games in both the Individual & team event. Click here which will direct you to the streaming site.

The individual events kick off on Saturday afternoon, so a few days to recover for the Irish team. To follow the Individual event results click here

Photo Credit – Badminton Europe

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Forza Irish Open- Volunteers

Are you Interested in volunteering at this years Forza Irish open? The events runs from Tuesday 5th Dec- 8th Dec at the National Indoor Arena, Blanchardstown with a host of top world & European players.

If you are interested see contact details below or follow the link here

cdoherty@badmintonireland.com  or +353 1 8393028

Don’t miss out on A great opportunity to see some of the best players in Europe up close and not to mention our own Irish players! #IO2017

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Connacht U11 & U15 Open- Jeffrey Wong Wins 2 titles!

Ulster had a number of competitors playing in the Connacht U11 & U15, 18-19th November with U11 player Jeffery the stand out player in the U11 event.

As a round robin event in the boys singles Jeffery won all his matches to take the U11 title from runner up Andrew Hassett. Jeffery then partnered Andrew in the boys doubles, which again was played as a round robin event, and topped the group with 2 wins from 2 matches.

In the Under 15 event, there were multiple medalist across all 5 disciplines. Laura Comber was runner up in the Girls doubles with partner Lucy Xu (Alpha) just losing out in 3 sets in the final. She was also runner up in the Mixed Doubles with partner Scott Guildea and reached the semi finals in the girls singles losing out in 3 tight sets to Siofra Flynn.

Chole Woods also reached the semi finals of the singles losing out to eventual winner Sinead O’Sullivan and also reached the semi final of the girls doubles with younger sister Paige. A great achievement for the U13 Paige.

Stuart McCollum got to the later stages in all 3 events, reaching the final of the boys doubles with Mattie O’Flynn, after a very tight semi final against Jason Ferguson & Dylan Noble, winning 22-20, 21-19. In the final the opponents of Ben Lawlor 7 Scott Guildea proved to strong this time around. Stuart partnered his Lisburn Raw Performance squad team mate Lucy Xu to reach the semi final of the Mixed doubles but lost out to eventual winners Ben Lawlor & Neasa Flynn. He also had a strong performance in the Boys singles  reaching the semi finals of the boys singles before losing out to Scott Guildea

Jason Ferguson also reached the semi finals of the boys Doubles with Dublin partner Dylan Noble but lost out.

For both U11 & U15 results click here

Well done to all the players who traveled down and Connacht Badminton for running the event. Keep up the good work for the U13 & U17 Connacht Open on the first week of the new year!


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