Aengus Cunningham rounds-up the weekend’s action from the Roscommon Handball scene which saw two teams qualify for All-Ireland Finals.
40×20 Ladies Intermediate & Senior Doubles All-Ireland Semi-Final
St. Coman’s duo of Fiona Tully and Lauren O’Riordan had a very eventful weekend, playing the Intermediate Doubles All-Ireland semi-final in Laois on Friday and then travelling to Kingscourt, Co. Cavan on Saturday for the Senior Doubles All-Ireland Semi-Final.
As Intermediates they are a very strong pair and even though their opponents Niamh Dunne and Ciara Dowling were playing in their home court of Monavea, this was a very straight forward affair for the Roscommon girls. Without ever having to extend themselves they won 21-6, 21-6.
The following day they faced the standard bearers in women’s doubles, Cork’s Catriona Casey and Aisling O’Keefe and for a while looked like they were going to cause an upset. With Fiona on fire early on the Roscommon girls took a 13-9 lead, but showing their experience the Cork girls gradually took over and won the first 21-14.
Roscommon started the second impressively going 4-1 up, when disaster struck Lauren. During a rally she fell awkwardly and seriously hurt her left elbow. Even after the 15 minutes injury timeout, things hadn’t improved. She decided to play on, but obviously was badly hampered. The Cork pair didn’t need any advice on who to concentrate on and from there the game petered out 21-4. At the time of going to press it still remains unclear whether Lauren will be available to play the Intermediate final in two weeks, which would see the Roscommon girls as very strong favourites under normal circumstances.
40×20 Over 35 ‘B’ Doubles All-Ireland Semi-Final
The strong Over 35 ‘B’ Doubles of Philip O’Connor and Paul Kelly from Curraghboy had a good win in their All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny’s John Morrissey and Noel Doherty. Held in O’Loughlin’s court in Kilkenny city, it took Philip some time to accustom himself to the back wall and subsequently the Roscommon lads started poorly going 11-2 down. They brought it back to 11-8, before going 13-8 down. But after taking a timeout they never looked back, completely taking over the match winning the first 21-16 and totally dominating the second winning 21-6.
This pair are well capable of winning the Final and making it a Roscommon Handball double in the Over 35 ‘B’ grade after Denis Creaton’s win in the singles equivalent.
40×20 Golden Masters Doubles All-Ireland Semi-Final
Curraghboy’s experienced pair of Cormac O’Brien and Ger Walshe were well beaten in their Golden Masters Doubles All-Ireland Semi-Final held in St. Coman’s last Friday.
Their opponents were Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy and Mike Naughton who were strong favourites having come through a tough Leinster campaign, while the Roscommon pair had very limited preparation due to injury.
Robbie is the father of senior star Robbie Junior and he showed where his son got some of his sublime touches from, with a very classy display of handball ably assisted by a very solid Naughton on the right. The first was a clear cut 21-7 win for Westmeath and while the south Roscommon lads improved somewhat in the second it wasn’t enough to overcome the strong midlanders, who took the game 21-12.