It was a very good weekend for Roscommon handball at the 40×20 Doubles All-Ireland festival held in the Kingscourt Handball Complex Co. Cavan, as three titles came back west of the Shannon.
By Aengus Cunningham
All-Ireland 40×20 Over 35 ‘B’ Mens Doubles Final
The Curraghboy pair of Philip O’Connor and Paul Kelly were very popular winners of the Over 35 ‘B’ doubles title after a very tough two hour battle with Cork duo Jamie O’Donnell and Patrick Buckley.
Having lost three previous All-Ireland finals between them, the two South Roscommon lads were in no mood to let this one pass them by and started in blistering style, going 9-0 up before the Cork pair got going. Although the southerners mounted a decent comeback, Roscommon took the first 21-14 and looked quite comfortable.
However, doubles handball is never straightforward and mirroring the Roscommon first game start, Cork raced into a 9-0 lead in the second and no matter what the Curraghboy duo tried they could never pull back the deficit and lost 21-12.
With the pressure on, Philip and Paul showed great composure and produced probably the best handball of their careers as they blew the opposition out of the water in the third with a stunning display of killing and power handball, winning their All-Ireland in spectacular style 21-5.
All-Ireland 40×20 Ladies Junior ‘B’ Doubles Final
St. Coman’s Linda Connolly and Siobhan Tully had a very easy win in their Ladies Junior ‘B’ doubles All-Ireland final as Tyrone’s Michelle Warren and Clodagh Donaghy proved no match for the left-right Roscommon combination.
Similar to the Curragboy lads, Siobhan and Linda have had their fair share of disappointments in All-Ireland finals, so they weren’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth and dominated the match from start to finish, winning 21-4, 21-2.
Due to an internal dispute in Leinster the Roscommon girls only played their semi-final in Leixlip the previous Wednesday and although it was a harder match than the final the town girls were still convincing 21-8, 21-10 winners over Kilkenny’s Margaret Purcell and Aoife Walsh.
All-Ireland 40×20 Ladies Intermediate Doubles Final
The very strong Ladies Intermediate Doubles pair of Lauren O’Riordan and Fiona Tully received a walkover in their final as one of their Clare opponents had to pull out injured. Although they were red hot favourites it is still a very anti-climatic way to win a title.