TU Dublin Badminton team, recently won a team bronze medal at this year’s EUSA Championships, held in Miskolc, Hungary from the 13th-19th of July. A team of eight travelled to Hungary, which included Tallaght Campus students Caoimhe McKeown, Leah Auld, David Walsh and graduate Kate Frost, as well as city campus students Sean Laureta and Conor Bradley and Blanchardstown students Leonie Ward and Jonathan Dolan. The event got underway on Friday the 14th of July, with TU Dublin pitted in a strong group with last year’s champions, The University of Strasbourg (France) as well as Nova University of Lisbon (Portugal).
First up, TU Dublin took on Nova University. Portugal took a 1-0 lead after winning the mixed doubles 21-17, 21-18 which put TU Dublin on the back foot, before Sean Laureta levelled the score, winning his men’s singles match 21-11, 21-17. Next up was Irish International Kate Frost who was very composed in her women’s singles, winning 21-9, 21-6 which gave TU Dublin a 2-1 lead with both the men’s and women’s doubles to be played. The men were up first, and the game went right to the wire with the TU Dublin boys, Jonathan Dolan and Conor Bradley getting TU Dublin over the line in the decider 21-19 to give TUD a 3-1 lead and secure the first victory of the group. The women’s doubles was an equally close game, which the Portuguese took in 3 close sets.
The TU Dublin v Strasbourg match was pivotal in securing the European bronze medal. Knowing that beating Strasbourg would secure the team a spot on the podium for the second consecutive year, the team felt confident that an upset was on the cards. The match started with the men’s doubles which was a nervy opening for the Irish boys as they went down a set 21-16 before turning it around to win 21-9, 21-10 to put the first important point on the board for TU Dublin. Next up, Kate Frost took to the singles court against Maria Stoliarenko. Frost battled hard to try get the point for her team but unfortunately, she was undone by her Ukrainian opponent and eventual women’s singles champion of the individual tournament. That tied the scores at 1-1 with David Walsh up next in the men’s singles. A familiar opponent to last year, Walsh stepped up with confidence and gave TU Dublin their second point of the tie, to lead 2-1. The women’s doubles duo of Leah Auld and Leonie Ward were up next, but it wasn’t to be as the French team levelled once more at 2-2 which brought it down to the final game. Jonathan Dolan and Kate Frost were up next in the mixed doubles, and with utter confidence, the Irish duo were able to win the match 21-17, 21-18 to give TU Dublin that vital 3rd point and secure a second European medal for TU Dublin.
In the semi-finals, TU Dublin came up against tournament favourites, The University of Nottingham. The match started with the mixed doubles, where David Walsh and Kate Frost faced Sam Smith and Sian Kelly, which was a repeat of last year’s final. This match had all the spectators on the edge of their seats as it ebbed and flowed, point for point. The Irish lost the first set 21-19 before coming back to win the second set 22-20. A slow start in the third set left them with too much to do as they fell to a 21-11 defeat in the decider. This gave Nottingham the lead and meant that TU Dublin had it all to do. Next up was Jonathan Dolan in the men’s singles and like the mixed doubles, this match could have gone either way. Unfortunately for Dolan, he fell to a 21-13,17-21, 21-17 loss and had TU Dublin on the brink of defeat. In the women’s singles, Caoimhe McKeown faced England’s current National Champion Miu Lin Ngan. Caoimhe fought valiantly but unfortunately fell to a straight sets defeat meaning that TU Dublin would have to settle for the bronze medal. The University of Nottingham went on to be crowned champions with a 3-0 victory over the University of Warwick, so the team can be proud of themselves, as they pushed Nottingham the closest throughout the event.