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Rising badminton star Rachel Woods gets an international call

By Ali Gordon

Ulster badminton talent Rachael Woods from Lisburn Alpha Club has been selected for the Irish under-17 team ahead of the European Junior Circuit Tournament's clash with Catalonia Select next month, despite being just 13-years-old.

Woods has been chosen alongside Wexford's Clodagh Dunne to compete in the tournament in Barcelona after the pair produced a brilliant women's singles final in last weekend's Ulster Grade A to secure their position as Ireland's top under-15 players.

While Dunne narrowly defeated Woods 25-23 in the third and deciding set, it was no mean feat for Woods who does not celebrate her 14th birthday until February and will fill her with confidence going into the European Junior Circuit Tournament which takes place on February 13-15.

Alpha's Stuart Lightbody claimed two Grade A titles. Lightbody beat top seed Mark Brady from Leinster to take the men's singles title and, with the help of clubmate Catherine Coyle, triumphed over Ballyclare's Paul Andrews and Donna Scott in the mixed doubles.

Coyle and Scott partnered each other for the women's doubles competition but lost out to Leinster's Gemma Tobin and Laura Hennessey.

Andrew also earned a spot in another final alongside clubmate Michael Turkington but unfortunately lost to Leinster's Adam Jermym and John Amond.

The full Irish under-17 squad is Rachel Woods, Jon McCready (both Ulster) and Clodagh Dunne, Kate Frost, Moya Reynolds, Sam McKay, Paul Reynolds, Ben Gallagher-Lynch (all Leinster).

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