Aenghus Cunningham reviews all the weekly Roscommon County and Connacht Colleges handball action.
40×20 Junior County Final
Lisacul’s Denis Creaton and St. Coman’s Oisin Naughton renewed acquaintances in the 40×20 Junior County Final held in Oisin’s home court last Saturday night.
These two have had quite a few battles in the last ten years with Denis usually coming out on top and it was no different this time around.
After a tit-for-tat start Denis took a 9-4 lead. Oisin managed to get back to 10-10, but that was as good as it got for the St. Coman’s man, as Denis pulled away to decisively take the first 21-12.
Adopting a much more aggressive approach early in the second, Oisin took an 11-4 lead and it looked like it was heading for a third. But not for the first time Denis showed his grit and clinically worked his way back and once he drew level at 12-12 the writing was on the wall for Oisin.
Denis only allowed him one more point to finish the second impressively 21-13.
40×20 Junior ‘B’ County Final
There was a mild upset on the same bill when St. Coman’s talented Michael Egan beat reigning Junior ‘B’ County champion Gordon Nolan (Lisacul) quite comfortably in two straight games.
The first game started as most expected with hard fought rallies and points quite hard to come by. But Michael showed more consistency than normal and with the mounting pressure Gordon’s game seemed to fall apart.
The younger player took the first 21-15 and the second was really one-way traffic. Gordon never got into it and was beaten 21-5.
While there has never been any doubting Egan’s ability, the fact that he beat a player of Nolan’s standing in this manner hopefully bodes well for his chances to progress a long way in this championship.
40×20 Over 35 ‘ B’ County Final
It took the experienced Glenn Walshe some time to get used to the Curraghboy court last Sunday as he faced local man Padraig Coyle in the Over 35 ‘B’ County final.
The first game was close the whole way and eventually Coyle ground it out 21-20. However, Walshe finally found his rhythm in the second and as Coyle tired Glenn took over proceedings.
The St. Coman’s citeog ran out a comfortable 21-2, 21-5 winner in the end.
40×20 Ladies Junior ‘B’ County Final
St. Coman’s Laura Mannion had a very good win over Lisacul’s Aoife McDonagh in their Ladies Junior ‘B’ County Final played in Lisacul last Friday evening.
The last time they played Aoife beat Laura quite decisively, but this time around Laura was much better prepared and it showed when the first game was nip and tuck the whole way with the West Roscommon girl taking it 21-17.
However, a change of serve early in the second completely changed the entire match. Aoife struggled badly to adapt and Laura took full advantage winning the two remaining games 21-3, 21-4 for a remarkable turnaround.
40×20 Junior ‘C’ County Final
Lisacul’s Barry Nolan retained his Junior ‘C’ County title when he defeated Fairymount’s Michael Carroll 21-9, 21-9 in Lisacul last Saturday night. Carroll is a talented player who just doesn’t play enough handball to beat somebody as fit and consistent as Nolan.
40×20 Connacht Colleges
Rory Carthy (Roscommon CBS) was the star of the show from a Roscommon standpoint in the Connacht Colleges Finals held in Moycullen’s lovely complex last Sunday.
Of the five Roscommon entries Rory was the sole winner as he dominated the First Year singles grade beating Gortnor Abbey’s Darragh Sweeney 15-5 15-4 in his semi-final before easily defeating CCM an Spideal’s Feidlim O Diolluin 15-2, 15-2 in the final.
Although Philip Halliday (Roscommon CBS) ended up on the wrong side of a 15-9, 15-2 scoreline to the outstanding World Champion Mikey Kelly of Clarin College he played some superb handball, especially in the first when his aggressive killing game troubled Mikey for long periods.
However, the overall class and experience of the Galway youngster told in the end of their Junior Singles clash.
Carragh Kennedy (Roscomon Community College) put in an impressive display while going down to another World Champion from Galway, Emma Kinnane of HRC Mountbellew. Carragh’s terrific power caught Emma unaware at times, but the Galway girl’s excellent court coverage and terrific consistency gave her a 15-8, 15-9 win in the Junior Singles grade.
Liam Egan (Roscommon Community College) put up a brave performance in his Intermediate Singles clash with Moyne College’s Lorcan Conlon, but found the much improved Mayo youngster too good going down 15-8, 15-5.
Roscommon Community College’s Senior Doubles partnership of Shauna Clogher and Siobhan Treacy were up against it when they took on Claire Reynolds and Cuilleann Bourke of Balla Secondary School. The Mayo girls are the reigning All-Ireland champions in this grade and looked the part as they won comfortably in two straight games.