It was a good weekend for Roscommon Handball with the county’s representatives winning three of the four Connacht 40×20 Doubles Handball Finals that took part in.
Connacht 40×20 Junior Doubles Handball Final
Kiltimagh Handball club played host to the Connacht Junior Doubles final last weekend. St Coman’s Darren Beatty and Oisin Naughton faced off with Connacht singles winner Seamus Conneely (Moycullen) and his north Galway partner Peter Davern (Headford). Unlike their semi final, the Roscommon pair imposed their game plan from the get-go, to win the match in two straight games 21-6, 21-7. This was an unexpected scoreline, given the Galway players experience and fitness. The decisive factor, from the Roscommon perspective, was Darren’s killing game, which resulted in short rallies and quick points. The Galway lads will feel this match passed without them getting a chance to settle. Darren and Oisin progress to the All-Ireland semis in two weeks time versus Ulster.
40×20 Silver Masters Doubles Connacht Final
Cormac O’Brien and Aengus Cunningham will have woken up with aching limbs on Sunday morning after their two and a half hour marathon with Ballaghadereen’s Joe Dowling and James Towey in Moycullen Saturday afternoon. Playing in the Silver Masters (over 45) grade this was expected to be a tight encounter but it soon developed into a battle of wills.
Thanks to some excellent serving from Cunningham and clinical corner kills from O’Brien the Roscommon pair raced into a 15-3 lead in the first, but once the Ballagh lads familiarised themselves with their opponents style it was noticeable that Roscommon were struggling to finish the rallies. Showing great heart the Mayo representatives clawed all the way back to take an improbable 21-20 first.
The second was a long grinding game where there was seldom more than two points between the sides and it looked like going to another 21-20 until late in the game Cormac changed his serve to a cross serve in to the left corner and this had the desired effect of less aggressive returns which allowed the Rossies to take the second 21-17.
Even though they went 4-0 down in the third, from then on the Curraghboy / St. Coman’s duo seemed to have the upper hand as Dowling visibly tired. Using a straight toss down the left wall Cormac took advantage of some loose returning and with Aengus using his roof game to pin the Mayo pair back the final stanza ran out much quicker than the previous two with a 21-12 Roscommon victory.
Next up, in two weekends time, will most likely be the formidable Carruthers / McGarry partnership from Belfast who are former Senior Doubles champions.
40×20 Ladies Minor Doubles Connacht Final
There’s simply no stopping Fiona Tully at the moment. Facing a strong looking Galway partnership of Anna Ni Odhran and Eimear Ni Bhiada, Fiona teamed up with the inexperienced Jennifer McCormack in their Ladies Minor Doubles Connacht Final held in Ballaghaderreen last Saturday. From the off Fiona stamped her class on proceedings and ably assisted by some excellent lob serving from Jennifer the Roscommon girls took the first by the clearcut margin of 21-11.
For most of the second it was all Roscommon and they led 19-8, only for some carelessness to creep in to their play which let Galway back but eventually Fiona finished the game off in style to take it 21-18.
40×20 Boys Minor Doubles Connacht Final
Lack of preparation was very evident with St. Coman’s minor doubles pairing of Cathal O’Connor and Michael Egan in their Connacht Final at the same venue. In fairness to this talented pair an ongoing shoulder problem for Michael and exam commitments for Cathal meant the requisite time in the court wasn’t approached and it showed as they went down fairly tamely to the solid Galway partnership of Cian O’Conghaile and Oisin O’Cualain 21-8, 21-16. Hopefully this pair can make a much better go of it in the 60×30 championship this summer.