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Brennan and Doheny Shine In Irish Nationals

posted 5 May 2017, 10:23 by Martin Lalor

Last weekend the Junior 40 x 20 Nationals were played at Galway venues with big entries in almost all the grades. These competitions have been very well supported over the years and give a good indication of the growing interest in the sport at a national level.

From a local point of view a strong contingent of players travelled to the West of Ireland, with considerable success in a number of grades. Some of the players travelling would be relatively new to this type of competition, and this was a great opportunity to develop these players.

On the playing front Kilkenny reached four finals, Boys 13 and under A and B, Boys 17 and under, and Girls 17 and under.  In the Boys 17 and under final, Eoin Brennan made no mistake when defeating all comers to record a great victory in the grade. Having coming through the early rounds to reach the semi-final, the Kells players renewed rivalry with Dara Keane from Kerry, a player who had beaten Eoin in last year’s 60 x 30 All Ireland U16 Singles semi-final. This time it was the turn of the Kilkenny player to come out on top, winning 15-4, 15-1. In the final, Eoin continued where he left off in his semi-final, dominating from the start and was a comfortable winner over Cian O’Driscoll(Cork), 15-9, 15-9. This was some consolation for the Kells player as he lost the All Ireland Minor Singles decider a few weeks ago.

 Elsewhere, there were some good results recorded by local players at these very competitive championships. There was high hopes in Boys 13 and under with Kyle Jordan (Kilfane) contesting the decider against Mark Doyle from Wexford). However, on this occasion the Slaneysider came out on top, 15-3, 15-8. Also in this grade, Daniel Hanrahan (Galmoy) reached the semi-final where he also lost out to Doyle, 15-4, 15-1.

 In Boys 13 and under B grade, John Doheny from Galmoy came through a large field, 58 entries, to see off the challenge of Kaelan Murphy (Cork), 15-9,13-15,11-5 to record his first victory in this competition. On his way to the final, John beat Harry Delaney (Kells) in his semi-final. Earlier in the season, John was part of the successful All Ireland winning Boys U14/15 team. Also a semi-finalist in Galway was Jack Doyle (Windgap), as he came out a 15-7, 15-6 loser to Lorcan McBride (Tyrone) in what was a very strong Boys 15 and under grade.

In the girls championships, Mary Ellen Phelan (Galmoy) came through some tough tests to reach the final of the Girls 17 and under grade. Here she faced the very impressive Megan McCann (Armagh) who proved a step too far for the North Kilkenny player, winning in two games 15-2, 15-0. Mary Ellen played excellently all weekend and will move forward a better player from this experience. Clogh’s Lauren Power was a runner up in the Girls 13 and under plate event.

Hardball and One Wall

Now that the 40 x 20 season has finally ended the emphasis over the next few weeks will be on Hardball and One Wall competitions. The oldest form of handball, Hardball, has made somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, particularly among young players. Most championships are well contested, with quite a number of these young players using strokes normally associated with 40 x 20 to good advantage in the ancient code. The One Wall season will commence in the coming weeks, with tournaments scheduled across the country, culminating in the National One Wall championships in Breaffy House, Mayo in early July