Sligo Handballers aiming for Connacht gold
07 July 2012
The Yeats county are in 4 Connacht handball championships doubles finals and just like the Sligo senior football team will be hoping to make it a successful weekend for Sligo G.A.A, writes Michael McGee
The Golden Masters A doubles pairing of Francis McCann & Hugh McGarry travel to Williamstown for their contest with Mayo's Martin Vahey & John Staunton. The Sligo men are the reigning Connacht champions in this grade. Last year the duo reached the All-Ireland semi-final but had a narrow loss to Tipperary's Pat Griffin & Tony O'Flaherty. McCann who won the singles final last weekend against Vahey is in superb form judging by recent performances and with McGarry solid as a rock on the right giving little away it all counts to a Sligo victory here.
In the Emerald Masters A singles Mick McMorrow and John McLoughlin have it all to do against Mayo's Mayo's Kevin Geraghty & Martin Cronin. Morrow & McLoughlin went all the way in 2011 winning the All-Ireland Emerald Masters B doubles final against Kilkenny's Gerry Murphy & Jim Dooley. The duo have yet to play a competitive game together in 2012 and the step up to the A grade maybe beyond their reach this time round.
The Junior C pairing of Tom Foody & Joe Gorman will also be hoping for progress. Foody & Gorman defeated a Roscommon pairing two weeks ago in the semi's. Connacht 40 x 20 champions in 2009 the pair are going all out to win the big court title. Foody & Gorman were tested to the full in their semi-final victory over Roscommon. Gorman is a strong left sided player while Foody controls the right side of court. If the Castleconnor men can repeat their semi-final performances they stand a great chance of adding to their Connacht success of three year's ago. Their final opponents Mayo's Martin McAndrew & Sean Sweeney advanced to the final with a victory over Leitirm's Dessie McKeever & Frank McDonagh.
The Golden Masters B pairing of Peter Chambers & Stanley Harte could be best described as the sleeping giants in Sligo handball at present. The duo reached the All-Ireland silver masters B doubles semi-final in 2010 but have struggled to reach the heights of 2 years ago. In the last number of weeks the pair is doing well in training and just coming into form at the right time. On their day Chambers & Harte have a "big game" in them and could it be the Connacht final that will see their championship credentials season re ignited.
Connacht championships 60 x 30 doubles finals fixtures:
Friday 13th July in Williamstown at 7 p.m.
Golden Masters A doubles: Francis McCann & Hugh McGarry v Martin Vahey & John Staunton (Mayo) match 1
Emerald Masters A doubles: Mick McMorrow & John McLoughlin v Kevin Geraghty & Martin Cronin (Mayo) match 2
Sunday 15th July in Williamstown at 2 p.m.
Golden Masters B doubles: Peter Chambers & Stanley Harte v Joe Cummins & John Conroy (Mayo) match 1
Junior C doubles: Joe Gorman & Tom Foody v Martin McAndrew & Sean Sweeney (Mayo) match 2
Connacht titles for Cooney & McCann
In a mixed weekend of handball action Sligo players were successful in 2 Connacht singles finals. Castleconnor's Martin Cooney made a welcome return to competitive handball following a troublesome shoulder injury that kept him out of the game for the past 15 months. Cooney's return was enough to see off the challenge of Mayo's George Miller in the Silver Masters B singles contest. Francis McCann showed his undoubted class retaining the Connacht Golden Masters A singles title. McCann was taken to three games by Mayo's Martin Vahey in an high tempo match. The Ballymote man took the opening game by 21-9. Vahey hit back strongly in the second with some impressive play. In the tie breaker McCann's relentless work rate finally broke the Mayo man's spirited challenge. McCann took a firm grip on proceedings thereafter only allowing the Mayo man one point in the third. McCann now goes forward to the All-Ireland semi-finals where he could meet Cavan's Mickeleen Brady in a repeat of last year's final. In 2 other finals involving Sligo players all went down to Mayo opponents. Oxfield's Colin Slevin will have to wait at least another year before having a crack at winning his first Connacht 60 x 30 title following a straight sets defeat to Mayo's Eamon Higgins. Mick McMorrow step up to the A grade proved too much against the experienced Kevin Geraghty.
Results: Connacht handball 60 x 30 championships finals
Junior C singles: Colin Slevin lost to Eamon Higgins (Mayo) 4-21, 8-21
Golden Masters A singles: Francis Mc Cann v dft Martin Vahey 21-9, 13-21, 21-1
Emerald Masters A singles: Mick McMorrow lost to Kevin Geraghty (Mayo) 5-21, 12-21
Silver Masters B singles: Martin Cooney dft George Miller (Mayo) 21-6, 21-13
Sligo Handball Board