Cavan’s Paul Brady confirmed his status at the best 40x20 player to ever grace the courts of Ireland when he saw off the challenge of Armagh’s Charly Shanks to claim his eight All-Ireland Senior Singles title on Sunday in Abbeylara. In claiming another crown, Brady has now set a new Irish record, having equalled that of Kilkenny legend, Michael ‘Duxie’ Walsh in 2010.
Meanwhile, in a hugely entertaining Ladies 40x20 All-Ireland Senior Doubles Final, Kerry’s Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville defeated Antrim stars, Fiona Shannon and Sibeal McKenna, after a three-game tussle. Antrim won the first 21-20, but the Kingdom ladies pushed into top gear in the second and third, to retain the crown they won in 2010 with a 21-8 victory in the third. In the Minor 40x20 Final, Cork’s Killian Carroll collected his county’s first honours since fellow Rebel, Tony Healy, won the title in 1996. Carroll produced an awesome display to overcome Kildare’s Niall O’Connor on a scoreline of 21-7, 21-5.
The Roscommon pairing of Ger Walshe and Dermot Doolin were unfortunate to lose their All-Ireland in Kingscourt on Saturday last against Antrim’s Thomas Maguire and Tony Caddell. The Roscommon duo won the first game 21-14 but let the northern men back into the match where they won the second game 21-9. The Antrim players went on to take the decider on a score-line of 21-9.
St. Comans Handball club had a busy weekend with the club hosting two All-Ireland finals. The Emerald Masters A Doubles finals saw Billy Mullins and Jim Kilfoyle of Offaly defeat Mayo’s Kevin Geraghty and Martin Cronin in two straight games, 21-15, 21-9. Next up was the eagerly-awaited All-Ireland Intermediate Singles final where rising dual hurling and handball star Diarmuid Nash (Clare) had the narrowest of wins against Ruairi Kelly (Tyrone). The final scoreline was 21-16, 21-20. This was a fantastic game, as the scoreline suggests. Huge credit must go once again to the St. Comans Handball Club for pulling out all the stops in hosting these events. Particular credit must go to Aengus Cunningham and Oisin Naughton for officiating.
Upcoming tournaments: From May 20th-22nd Williamstown Handball Club will be holding their annual One Wall tournament. This competition was a huge success last year with Roscommon players doing very well. Please see website for entry form. Also for the first year Inis Oirr Handball Club, Aran Islands, Co. Galway are holding their inaugural One Wall Tournament ‘One Wall on the rock’ on May 13th-15th. This promises to be a fantastic tournament and it’s great to see new clubs being formed and organising tournaments. Please see www.gaahandball.ie for entry form, accommodation and ferry details, etc.
Inis Oirr Handball Club are also holding a 40x20 tournament on 23rd and 24th April including Mens Open, Junior A and B grades and also Ladies grades. The sunny southeast – Co. Wexford – is the venue this year for the Irish 40x20 Adult Handball Nationals which runs from 29th April-30th May. Qualifier rounds will be April 23rd and 24th.