Badminton Life

Irish Eyes Smile in Finland

In a return trip match-up after last years event where the girls from the Turku squad came and played in Wexford, the Wexford Girls Badminton team went to Finland to salvage some pride and to make a name for themselves abroad.

They managed to do just that as they romped to a 10-5 victory in the event that took place in Raisso in Finland. Even more impressive was the fact that a mere nine months prior to this win, the Finnish girls had managed to win in Ireland by the exact same margin, which provided a nice symmetry to the two events.

Given the previous years victory, not much hope was held out for the Wexford girls to triumph over their opponents who were expected to be more technically astute and talented home nation that would triumph but a higher fitness level and a strong level of preparation eventually ensured that the Irish girl's trip would be rewarded with an overall victory.

The host for the matches was the Kertulla Sports Complex, a venue located in Raisso, Finland and which plays host to nine badminton courts. The games were given an added importance as the opening ceremony featured Kristina Dauskanen from the Finnish Badminton Federation and the Mayor of the Finnish host city.

The opening games in the Singles event required three sets to decide the winner but crucially the Irish team managed to win both of them with Clodagh Kent and Ciara Dunne providing the perfect base for the rest of the team to build from. Given that the Singles event only brought three victories for the entire team in the last round of matches, these two early wins were vital in boosting Irish confidence and allowing the players to play their natural game.

Following this, there seemed to be a turnaround in fortunes as the Finnish team took control of proceedings and proceeded to win the next 5 matches, which left the score line at 5-2 and looking like the Irish team would again be defeated by their Finnish opponents.
Respectability then returned to the scores as Laura Butler delivered a fine 21-17, 21-12 victory over Anna Paavola before Laura Lynch brought the overall score back to 5-4 with a two set victory over Satu Saarre by 21-19, 21-19. The comeback was completed when Norma McIntyre defeated the Turku captain, Kaisa Aaltonen by a margin of 21-4, 21-10. The emphatic margin of the first set was as impressive as it deserved and this seemed to infuse new life and confidence into the Irish team and the knowledge that even with all the Doubles matches to go, they had matched their points tally from the previous year, they had nothing much to lose.

Amazingly, the Wexford team triumphed in every Doubles encounter which condemned the home team to a 10-5 defeat which would have been impossible to predict when the scores stood at 5-2 to Turku. In winning the last eight ties, the Wexford girls proved they have the Fighting Irish spirit and their win was highly praised and celebrated.

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