It was another very hectic weekend for Kilkenny handballers in the All-Ireland doubles series.
The got mixed results from the matches played at venues in three different provinces.
Contesting the All-Ireland senior doubles semi-final at Kingscourt, Cavan on Saturday, Patrick and Peter Funchion failed in their quest to advance to the final. They lost to Clare.
Then on Sunday in the All-Ireland adult doubles semi-final contests between Kilkenny and Connacht it was a mixed bag of results from three venues.
The last time the All-Ireland senior 40x20 doubles crown rested by the river Nore was in 1998 when the late Michael ‘Ducksie’ Walsh and hurling great, D.J. Carey, captured the third of their titles.
On Saturday at the Cavan venue, Patrick and Peter Funchion contested their semi-final against Clare’s Diarmuid Nash and Colin Crehan in the hope of bridging that 19 year gap.
Having come through a three set quarter-final against the defending champions the previous week, the Kells brothers were in the form of their life.
The first set was a close affair for the opening half of the game. The Munster duo were narrowly ahead 13-11 at the mid-way point.
However, from then to the end of the set Nash and Crehan dominated proceedings, winning the game 21-12.
The advantage was now with the Clare pair as they only needed one more of the remaining two sets to win the contest.
Scores were evenly balanced during the early stages of the second game, with the Kells pair holding the advantage when 12-10 ahead.
As the game progressed to its conclusion, Clare edged ahead 19-15.
Although Patrick and Peter narrowed to within two aces, it was Nash and Crehan’s day as they closed out the match, 21-17, to reach their first senior decider.
On Sunday the O’Loughlin’s court in Kilkenny hosted three All-Ireland semi-finals featuring local players.
The first contest resulted in defeat for John Morrissey and Noel Doherty. The O’Loughlin’s/Galmoy duo were beaten in two sets in their over 35 ‘B’ doubles clash with Roscommon’s Philip O’Connor and Paul Kelly, 21-14, 21-8.
Next up in Silver Masters ‘A’ doubles were Eddie Bourke (O’Loughlin’s) and Joe Walsh (Mullinavat).
They advanced to the All-Ireland final with a three set victory over Jason Judge and Michael Ginley, Mayo, 21-13, 19-21, 21-11.
In the last match at the city venue, Ciáran Neary (Talbot’s Inch) and Brendan Burke (Kells) reached the intermediate doubles decider for the third successive year following an impressive 21-7, 21-5 win over Mayo’s Ian McLoughlin and Ollie Cassidy.
West of the Shannon, Kilkenny pairs were in action at two Mayo venues, Aughagower and Claremorris.
Win for Joe and Billy
At the latter court Brian Mahon (Clogh) and Emmet Landy (Windgap) defeated local pair, Niall Joyce and T.J. Byrne in their under-21 semi-final.
This was followed by a win for Joe Anthony (Mullinavat) and Billy Love (Clogh). They were too strong for Mick Murphy and Eamonn Bellew (Sligo) in the Diamond Masters ‘B’ doubles championship semi-final.
Also in action in Mayo were Silver Masters ‘B’ doubles duo, Willie Holden (Kilfane) and David Bourke (Mothel).
They faced Martin McAndrew and Tom Malone from the host county.
The Kilfane/Mothel duo were in top form and they won 21-4, 21-15.
In the Emerald Masters ‘A’ doubles clash, the O’Loughlin’s/Talbot’s Inch pair of Philly Parsons and Martin Lalor won the first set 21-11 against the local duo, Dermot Doolin and Michael Heraty.
They were going well in the second game when injury forced them to concede the match.
The All-Ireland finals are scheduled for the weekend, April 21/22/23 in Kingscourt.