Roscommon had six representatives at the All-Ireland Junior 40×20 Handball Finals, which were held in Galway venues last weekend, with Fiona Tully once again being the star performer as she took the Girls 17 and under title in superb style.
Fiona continued her wonderful recent form when she blitzed her opposition in all three matches to take the Girls 17 and under grade, earning high praise from some very knowledgeable observers in the process. In her quarter-final she easily accounted for local Galway girl Ashling Mullin, before renewing acquaintances with Armagh’s Megan McCann who was one of the doubles pair who defeated Fiona in the All-Ireland Minor doubles semi-final last week. Despite McCann’s lofty reputation, she was no match for the St. Coman’s star who never relented and won comfortably in two straight games.
The final was a re-match of Fiona’s very tough All-Ireland Minor final against Kildare’s Hannah Dagg. This time round it was all Fiona from start to finish. Killing the ball beautifully in the right corner, especially on the fly, the first game scoreline of 15-2 was surprisingly wide, but a justifiable indication of her dominance. The second was more of the same as Fiona’s much improved concentration helped her maintain her high performance level and she ran out a comfortable 15-6 winner.
Fionn Cusack reached the 15 and Under ‘B’ Semi-Final. He had a terrific battle in his quarter-final against Cavan’s Adam Crosbie, winning in a tie-breaker of an exhausting match. Still showing the after-effects of that match Fionn never really got into his semi-final match against Niall Delaney of Cork and went down 15-7, 15-9.
Thomas O’Brien had an impressive run in the 13 and Under ‘B’ Grade reaching the semi-final before succumbing to Laois’s Tiernach Doheny 15-7, 15-7. Son of Curraghboy star Cormac, Thomas showed some of his dad’s touches winning his preliminary rounds very easily and defeated decent Galway and Tyrone opposition in his first two matches.
The prodigious nine year old Irslam Yakhyaev also won a lot of admirers over the weekend with his aggressive hard-hitting style in the Boys 11 and Under competition.
Roscommon was represented by Liscaul’s Evan Corrigan and Irslam Yakhyaev of St Comans in the Boys competition and Shauna Corrigan from Lisacul in the Girls competition. Despite being underage for another two years Irslam Yakhyaev won five out of his six games, reaching 25 in all five of them and the one game he lost was by a mere two points 20-22 in a cracker against Kilkenny’s strong John Hayes.