There were Three Roscommon wins at Connacht Post Primary 40×20 Finals, which were held in Moycullen and Inverinn Co. Galway last Saturday.
Fiona Tully and Cathal O’Connor won the respective Senior Singles grades while the Dylan Hanley and Magomed Yakhyaev combination won the Junior Doubles.
Fiona (Convent of Mercy, Roscommon) took on old rival Eimear Ni Bhiadha (Colaiste Colm Cille, Inverinn) in her home alley and in the early stages Fiona struggled to get her bearings with the blue backdrop to the glass backwall. However, at 10-1 down she finally got things together and from then on there was only one player in it. Eimear only scored another point in the first going down 11-15 and clearly losing the second 3-15.
Cathal O’Connor (Roscommon CBS) received a bye straight to the Senior Final as current All-Ireland Minor champion Niall Joyce had to withdraw from their semi-final due to injury. Cathal’s opponent there was Presentation College, Headford’s Kieran Forde, who showed some nice touches in his semi-final. Cathal, however, operates on a different level and despite not hitting any great heights, he was always in control, winning 15-9, 15-9.
In the Junior Doubles, the Roscommon CBS pair made it a 40×20 / 60×30 Connacht double but had to really work for it before finally quelling the challenge of local lads Kieran Moran and Tommie McNeela (St. Enda’s, Galway). The Roscommon pair played very well in the first and took it 15-8 thanks mainly to some fine backwall killing from Dylan and great picking inside the lines from Mog. In the second the Galway lads started terrifically and deservedly took a 14-8 lead. But, showing commendable coolness under pressure, firstly the Roscommon pair prevented Galway from finishing on three gameballs, then set about eating into the lead and remarkably took the second 15-14 with a storming finish.
Michael Egan (Roscommon Community College) lost to his regular sparring partner Patrick Murphy (St. Colman’s, Claremorris) in an excellent match. There were numerous hard-hitting, fast-moving rallies but the Mayo youngster’s better killing ability proved the difference in the end, helping him to a 15-10, 15-11 victory.
Gareth Delaney (Roscommon Community College) had an excellent semi-final win over Lorcan Conlon (Moyne College Ballina), but seemed to lose his composure in the final against Eimhion O’Diolluin (St. Mary’s). Despite serving very powerfully, Gareth’s lack of control during the rallies really let him down and he went down on the surprisingly wide scoreline of 15-3, 15-3.
In the Girls First Year Singles Shauna Clogher (Roscommon Community College) lost a thriller in her final with Aifric Ni Gibhne (Colaiste na Coirbe). Shauna took a see-saw first game 15-14 and was pipped in the two remaining games 11-15, 12-15.
Ahmed Yakhyaev (Roscommon CBS) played well below his best in his First Year semi-final, going down quite tamely against Ballinrobe’s Bobby Reilly 7-15, 6-15.