Aengus Cunningham rounds-up the weekends action from the Roscommon Handball scene including an All-Ireland title win and a number of impressive wins throughout the country.
40×20 2nd Level Colleges All-Ireland Finals
Fiona Tully’s dominance over her contemporaries continues unabated as she retained her 40×20 2nd Level Colleges All-Ireland title last Saturday. Playing in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, Fiona (Convent of Mercy, Roscommon) faced the physically imposing Catriona Millane from Laurel Hill College, Limerick in the final and despite the Shannonsider’s power Fiona imposed her experience on the game from the outset. Serving well and corner killing with regularity, Fiona won a well-contested match 15-8, 15-9.
Michael and Liam Egan (Roscommon Community College) had a ding-dong battle with Ciaran Cooney and Jamie Maher (Castlecomer CS) in their Intermediate Doubles semi-final. Michael was the best player in the court and the recently returned Liam did quite well considering how long ago it is since he last played, but in the end they lost narrowly 6-15, 15-9, 12-15.
40×20 Mens Open
Rikki O’Gara had a good win in the 40×20 Mens Open First Round played in the new alley in Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath yesterday – Saturday. He faced Kildare stylist Niall O’Connor who only recently beat Rikki in St. Coman’s during the John Gaffney Memorial tournament. Rikki’s battle-hardened competitiveness came to the fore here, as, in O’Connor he was facing a very classy two-handed player who doesn’t need a second invitation to kill the ball. Despite losing the first 21-12, Rikki’s tactic of dragging Niall into a long dogfight took it’s toll as the Leixlip man tired and Rikki’s determination became the dominant feature of the match. Rikki ran out an impressive 12-21, 21-7, 21-14 winner and his ‘reward’ is a meeting with Moycullen’s top-notch Martin Mulkerrins this weekend.
There were mixed fortunes for the Roscommon Handball representatives in the Connacht 40×20 Semi-Finals.
Probably the standout result of the weekend was Lisacul’s Sean Jenning’s defeat of reigning Connacht Junior champion Seamus Conneelly in his home court of Moycullen. Sean has been in great form recently, but not so much the result, as the actual margin of 21-12, 21-8 is what really caught the eye.
His clubmate Gordon Nolan won his Junior ‘B’ Connacht semi-final with Mayo’s Jonathon Conroy in Bofield, Co. Mayo the same night, but had to work hard before overcoming a plucky opponent 21-15, 7-21, 21-12.
In the Junior ‘C’ equivalent, Mount Talbot’s John Kelly was well beaten by a very fit James Dempsey of Galway, 21-6, 21-6.
Curraghboy’s Ger Walshe had a tough win over Williamstown’s super-fit Jimmy Connaughton in their
Emerald Master Connacht semi-final. Although Ger was the better player, the unquenchable spirit of his Galway opponent made it a long hard night, before Ger eventually won 21-18, 21-13.
St. Coman’s Laura Mannion was extremely unfortunate to not get a re-fixture despite suffering a serious bout of tonsillitus, but rather than give a walkover she bravely fulfilled her Ladies Junior ‘B’ match with Williamstown’s Janet Flanagan, going down in two games.
Cumann na mBunscoil Connacht Finals
There was only disappointment for the Roscommon Handball representatives in the Connacht Finals of Cumann na mBunscoil held in Moycullen yesterday (Saturday_. There were high hopes for Irslam Yakhyaev (Abbey NS) and Rory Carthy (Gaelscoil de hIde) in the Boys U11 & U13 singles respectively, but both lost to strong Galway opponents without ever truely playing to their potential. Relative newcomers Jack Feeley and Rory Dunne nearly won the U11 doubles, losing narrowly to Galway in the final. Ballyforan’s Johnny Meares and Jimmy Hoey tried hard in the U13 doubles event before losing in the 3rd place playoffs, while their schoolmate Sinead Scott had no luck in the girls U13 event.