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All Ireland Singles Final Review

posted 25 Mar 2016, 16:23 by Martin Lalor

In the All Ireland Finals played at Kingscourt at the weekend, Kilkenny hit the handball jackpot when winning seven out of the eight matches that they contested. This incredible haul included one adult title and six juvenile titles at the handball festival in county Cavan.

First up on Saturday was Ducksie Walsh who was attempting to regain his All Ireland Masters Singles crown when playing Sean Devine (Antrim). The Talbots Inch star was in top from on the day and had a comprehensive 21-15, 21-5 win to record his 10th victory in this grade in the last eleven years, a truly remarkable feat.

On Sunday morning the attention turned to the juveniles, with all the finals scheduled to be completed on the day. In Boys U14 Singles Kyle Dunne (Clogh) faced the highly rated Eoghan McGinnity (Monaghan) in what turned out to be one of the matches of the day. The first set went to Kyle, 15-9 with the Monaghan player levelling when winning the second 15-12. In the deciding game, the young Kilkenny player kept his nerve in a thrilling finish to squeeze home 15-14 to take the honours.

At Girls U15 Singles level, Mary Ellen Phelan (Galmoy) put in a great performance to comprehensively defeat her Mayo opponent Claire Reynolds, 15-4, 15-3, and so bring All Ireland honours home to the North Kilkenny club. Kilkenny also captured gold in Girls U15 Doubles when Laura Foley (Windgap) and Edel Mulholland (O’Loughlins) got the better of Tyrone’s Meabh McCrystall and Emer Kerr in two close games. 15-12, 15-13, thus giving the girls their first All Ireland success.

In Boys U15 Doubles, the Clogh pair of Jack Buggy and Billy O’Neill were in great form on the day when recording a 15-2, 15-9 win over Cavan’s Diego Di Folco and Emmet Boylan, bringing more honours to their club.

Kilkenny’s only loss at the weekend was in Boys U16 Doubles where Ciaran Cooney (Clogh) and Conor Drennan (Galmoy) were beaten by Tyrone’s Cormac Munroe and Lorcan McBride in three sets. The first game went to Kilkenny, 21-19, however the Northern duo upped their game in the second, winning 21-6 and continued that good form when taking the tie break, 11-6 to clinch the title.

In the U17 grades, Kilkenny brought home titles in Girls Singles and Boys Doubles. Representing Kilfane in Girls U17 Singles was Dearbhail O’Keeffe who played Laura Finn (Sligo) in the final. In her preparation for the final, Dearbhail suffered an injury which resulted in her arm being in a cast until Sunday morning. This setback did not impact her desire to win the title and she proved that when accounting for the Westerner in two sets, 21-19, 21-6. Kilkenny closed out the weekend with a tie break win in the Boys U17 Doubles when twins Aidan and Cathal Barry defeated Tiernan McAleer and Rian McCaul from Tyrone. This match also went to a tie break, the Clogh duo won the first set 21-17, Tyrone levelled with 21-12 win in the second, and in the deciding set, the twin brothers held their nerve to take the title with a 11-3 win.

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