Sligo handballers going for glory
25 March 2012
Sligo pairing of Shane Bruen & Mark Murphy will need to play their best handball in the championships if they are to become All-Ireland Over-35 B doubles 40 x 20 champions on Sunday, writes Michael McGee.
The Yeats County men will be the underdogs against Munster champions in Limerick's Paul Hedderman & Ken Bourke. Murphy & Bruen took the Connacht title after a 3 game thriller against Mayo's Michael Ginley & Seamus Maughan. In a very close contest throughout the Sligo men just edged it by 21-19, 20-21, 21-17. In their semi-final clash with Tyrone's Eamonn & Seamus McCrory after a sluggish start the Sligo men dominated and ran out comfortable winners in the end by 21-14, 21-2.
Bruen has won an All-Ireland Colleges title with Michael Tormay in 1988 but had to wait until 2007 before winning Connacht Junior B singles & doubles titles with Kevin Meehan. Bruen didn't play in last year's tournament but has made great progress this year reaching the Connacht final in the Over 35 B singles and doubles triumph.
Castleconnor's Mark Murphy has a number of Connacht titles to his credit and is a very capable player on court with a big physical presence. Murphy's was a member of the Castleconnor team that finished runners-up in the recent Sligo handball team league final. The Castleconnor man can be relied upon to deliver the goods and with the experienced Bruen .
"We realise we will be the underdogs in the final. We are up against quality opposition. Mark & I are playing well and are quietly confident. The pressure will be on Limerick and we have nothing to lose going into the final," said Bruen.
Their final opponents in Limerick's Paul Hedderman & Ken Bourke defeated a very fancied Stephen Barcoe & Canice Quigley from Kilkenny by 21-17, 21-18 in their semi-final. Hedderman is an accomplished handball player having finished runner up in the Men's C singles & doubles final in the last World handball championships in Portland Oregan three years ago.
GAA Handball O'Neills All-Ireland Handball Championships final:
Sunday 1st April 2012, in Moycullen, Galway, 1pm:
Over 35B Doubles: Shane Bruen & Mark Murphy (Sligo) v Paul Hedderman & Ken Bourke (Limerick)
Path to the final:
Over 35 B doubles: Shane Bruen & Mark Murphy (Sligo) dft Michael Ginley & Seamus Maughan (Mayo) 21-19, 20-21, 21-17
Over-35 B doubles: Shane Bruen & Mark Murphy (Sligo) dft Eamon & Seamus McCrory Tyrone 21-14, 21-2
Final defeat for Francis McCann
There was no joy for Sligo's Francis McCann in the Golden Masters Singles final. A troublesome calf injury picked up in the week prior to the final severely hampered the Ballymote's man chances. McCann who didn't play in last year's 40 x 20 championships found his final opponent in unstoppable form. Despite bravely fighting his way back into both games the Kildare man finished the stronger. Mc Cann will now turn his thought to the 60 x 30 court where he is the reigning champion.
G.A.A Handball O' Neills All-Ireland finals:
Saturday 24th March 2012, in Curraghboy, Roscommon, 4pm: Golden Masters A Singles: Francis Mc Cann (Sligo) lost to Michael Dowling (Kildare) 12-21, 7-21
Quinn in final
Castleconnor's Aoife Quinn is through to the All-Ireland girls U-15 singles final following a hard fought 3 set battle with Armagh's Kaitlin Flevelle. It didn't look good for the Sligo starlet after losing the first game to the Ulster champion. In the next two games Quinn powered her way to the final with a decisive 2 game winning salvo to propel her into the final.
Sligo's thought of a double evaporated in Loughmacrory. Castleconnor's Jason Earlis found his opponent Eugene McGeough in imperious form. The Castleconnor Club player started in confident mood taking the first game by 21-13. The momentum swung back to McGeough in the second with the Monaghan teenager making the better use of opportunity's that came his way. In the tie breaker Earlis's challenge wilted under the severe pressure and running out of steam towards the end of the game. McGeough's superior fitness proved decisive in the end.
All-Ireland Juvenile championships 40x 20 semi-finals
Saturday 24th March 2012, in Loughmacrory, Co Tyrone, 1pm
Girls U-15 Singles: Aoife Quinn Sligo dft Kaitlin Flevelle Armagh 12-15, 15-9, 15-10
Boys U-16 Singles: Jason Earlis (Sligo) lost to Eugene McGeough Monaghan 21-13, 6-21, 3-21.
Sligo Juvenile 40 x 20 championships results
U-11 Singles final: Paul Leydon Oxfield bt Daire Barrins Castleconnor 15-2, 15-14
U12 Singles final: Vincent Harte Collooney bt Diarmuid Harte Collooney 15-6, 13-15, 15-5
U-13 Singles: Odhran Quinn Castleconnor bt Michael Cahill Castleconnor 15-7, 15-4
U-14 Singles: Brendan Foody Castleconnor dft Jonathon Devaney Ballymote 15-5, 15-5
The following will represent Sligo in the Connacht Juvenile B 40 x 20 championships semi-final v Leitrim on Saturday.
U-12 singles: Rachel Foody Castleconnor
U13 singles: Mary Foody Castleconnor
U14 singles: Aoibhe Barrins Castleconnor
U15 singles: Catronia Swift Castleconnor
U-12 Singles: Vincent Harte
U-12 Doubles: Diarmuid Harte & Aaron Bruen
U-13 Singles Odhran Quinn
U-13 Doubles: Michael Cahill & Tony Fox
U-14 Singles: Brendan Foody
U-15 singles: Conor Booth
U-16 Doubles Padraig O'Dowd & Sean Golden
Sligo were represented at last weekend's GAA Handball Congress in Carrick-on-Shannon by Peter Chambers, Michael McMorrow, Connell Cannon & Hugh McGarry