Sean Jennings edges out tight 40×20 Junior handball final

The oft-delayed 40×20 Junior County Final finally got played last Saturday in Ballaghaderreen when the all-Lisacul matchup of doubles partners Sean Jennings and Denis Creaton played out a marathon match which, fittingly, for two players so familiar with each other’s games, ended up on a 21-20 score line in the third game.

Neither player was overly comfortable playing the match as Sean had an injured arm and Denis had a chest infection, but with the upcoming Connacht fixtures and doubles County final yet to be played time just ran out.

Denis was the faster out of the blocks and though Sean pushed very hard, Denis took a tight first 21-18. Rather than getting disillusioned, Sean played some superb handball in the second and dominated the entire game, winning 21-13. With everything on the line, it was no surprise that the third was nip and tuck the whole way, with Sean’s much improved consistency helping him to a razor-thin 21-20 third game victory.

Gordon Nolan (Lisacul) was a very impressive winner of the 40×20 Junior ‘B’ County Final held in St. Coman’s last Tuesday. Although Gordon’s power-packed style drew lots of admiration he had to overcome some very stern resistance from the hard-running Dara ‘Techno’ O’Gara (St. Coman’s) before advancing to the Connacht series.

The first game was all Gordon as his superb low serving and backwall killing made quick work of O’Gara and the 21-8 score line indicated a short night’s work was in store. The second, however, was a different story, as Techno showed incredible heart and picking ability in a valiant effort to drag the stylish Nolan into a dogfight. The contrast in styles that was evident earlier almost became redundant when Techno started using a slow lob serve down the left which negated Nolan’s power and he eventually clawed his way back to 18-18. Nolan then quickly made it 20-18, but had to serve game ball six times before finally putting the game to bed, winning 21-18.

On this form Gordon looks well capable of winning the Connacht title at the very least.

In the juvenile ranks,

Carragh Kennedy made hard work of her 40×20 U13 Connacht semi-final against Galway’s Niamh Burke in Carnmore last Saturday. Having won the first 15-4, Carragh lost her composure and the second game 15-11. In the third she managed to pull herself together enough to take it 15-13 in a match she should have won much easier.

Aisling and Siobhan Treacy were well beaten by strong Galway pair Aifric Ni Ghibne and Sadbhb Ni Fhlaithearta in the same venue. The twins tried hard but the Inverinn girls were never in trouble winning both games comfortably.

The delayed Cumann na mBunscoil Boys U11 final finally got played last Saturday and Irslam Yakhyaev (Abbey NS) just pipped Eoghan Carthy (Gaelscoil de hIde) 11-8, 11-8 in a very high quality affair for two 10 year olds.