The national hardball championships have reached the final stages following the completion of the quarter-final draws over the weekend. There was a surprise win in the Menís Open for Kells veteran Tom Sheridan over Ballaghdereenís Dessie Keegan in Williamstown in two straight games. In the Junior Singles grade, Roscommonís interest has waned following the defeat of Glenn Walsh to Kildareís Maurice Murray at Crinkle, again in two straight games. Glenn will team up with Chris Doolin in the Hardball Junior Doubles this week to take on Kevin Craddock and Trevor Hannon from Headford. This fixture has to be re-arranged following a busy competitions schedule last weekend.
Roscommon players from St Comanís and Mount Talbot took part in this well organised tournament at the handball and community hall complex in Williamstown. The event saw participation by juveniles and adults from all over Ireland. Roscommonís Lauren OíRiordan won the Ladies U16 event, with a win over Tyroneís McIlduff on a scoreline of 15-8, 15-14.
The Womenís Open grade was strongly represented by St Comanís players. Marianna Rushe saw off challenges from Karen Lawlor (Kerry) and Deirdre Donohoe (Comanís) to reach the final against Pauline Gallagher (Mayo). Marianna showed she is back on form with a two straight games win over the much-fancied Swinford player (15-8, 15-4). The Womenís Open plate event was won by Hillary Rushe over Mairead Doyle (Armagh).
St Comanís players Nigel Neilan and Chris Doolin had strong runs in the Menís Open grade. Nigel was narrowly beaten in the semi-final by eventual winner Ruairi Kelly (23-21). Chris Doolin lost out to the other finalist James Doyle on a very narrow deficit of two points. Chris and Nigel will be strong representatives at both the upcoming Mount Talbot tournament and the Nationals in Breaffy House in July. Aengus Cunningham narrowly lost out in the Masters grade to another north of Ireland opponent, Niall Kerr (Tyrone) after three close games (15-14, 11-15, 11-9). The Menís C grade saw another fine performance by Mount Talbotís Robert Coyle, who reached the final. Robert was almost certain of the first game, but eventually lost on a narrow scoreline of 15-14. The second game ended up 15-13 against the Roscommon player.
In the juvenile grades, both Mount Talbot and St Comanís players performed to a high standard. In the Boys U-11, Dylan Hanly (St Comanís) lost the final to OíBhriada (Inverin) after a timed game, 13-11. Also in this grade was Gareth Delaney (Comanís) and Diarmuid Treacy (Mount Talbot). In the U12 grade Comanís Mark Fetherstone gave the favourite from Tyrone a scare in the early rounds. Markís performance in the Gael Linn has certainly sharpened his handball skills over the last year. Mount Talbotís Mark Treacy and Mark Clogher performed stongly in the U12 plate competition. Great credit is due to Pat Conway, Sean Finnegan and the Williamstown club on hosting a very successful event over the weekend.
The All-Ireland Community Games finals will take place at St Comanís and Curraghboy on the weekend of 28th/29th May. The St Comanís girls U15 team will compete in the semi-final at Comanís on Saturday morning. The team to compete is Caoimhe Shanagher, Fiona Tully, Jessica McDermott, Clodagh Beatty and Aoife Tully.
Roscommon Ďsoftballí county championship draws have been completed. First up is the Interclub (team) event. The Ballymoe Open Interclub team will take on St Comanís at Ballymoe on Wednesday 8th June. In the Junior B grade, Mount Talbot will take on the winners from Leitrim and in the Junior grade, Ballymoe will take on the Galway champions, both scheduled for late June.
Last month at Congress, Tony Hannonís reign as president of Irish Handball came to an end. Tony played an important role in the strategic development of handball and was commended by delegates for his contributions to the development and promotion of handball, nationally and internationally. Former Meath All-Ireland senior champion Walter OíConnor was elected president for the next three years and pledged to promote the traditional softball and hardball codes of the game.
Mount Talbot Handball: Last weekend several members from the Mount Talbot Handball Club took to the courts of Williamstown for the annual running of the Williamstown one wall open competition.
In total 12 members took part across a number of grades. In the Mens C competition Robert Coyle was unlucky to go down in the cup final. Club-mates Liam OíCeallaigh and David Coyle contested the plate final with Liam claiming the honours after a thrilling match.
Liam Cormican, Kevin Kelleghan and John Paul OíConnor competed superbly in the Mens Challenger event, claiming a number of victories. In the juvenile section Diarmuid Treacy did well before falling at the semi-final stage in the U11 grade. Mark Treacy, Mark Clogher and Cathal Treacy competed in the U12 grade and did the club proud with their performances throughout the weekend.
Michael Kelleghan and Thomas Treacy took to the courts for the U14 grade. The boys claimed a number of notable scalps over the weekend and can be very pleased with their performance.
Further preparations are currently underway in anticipation of the inaugural Mount Talbot one-wall open scheduled to take place June 17th-19th. Currently heavyweights of the game including Robbie McCarthy, Vinnie Moran & James Doyle, Lorraine Havern, Marianna Rushe & Ashley Prendiville are to take part, all eager to obtain the practice prior to the one-wall nationals.
TG4 cameras are also set to be on-site throughout the weekend to catch all the action. For further news about this exciting event check out the clubís recently launched website (mounttalbothandball.gaa.ie) or on facebook (Mount Talbot Handball Club). Alternatively contact Liam on 087-7687785.