ON SATURDAY in Crinkle four Kilkenny girls will go in search of All-Ireland handball glory. Getting the action underway will be the parnership of Aisling Maher and Denise Love who take on Clare’s Natasha Coughlan and Michelle Nihil in the under-15 doubles final.
The Kilkenny girls have made great strides this year and well deserve their place in the final after some great wins in the Leinster championship and an excellent victory in the semi-final over Tyrone opposition.
Next up are Lauren Barcoe and Mary Buggy, who will do battle against Clare in the under-17 doubles final. It is hard to know what the form of the Clare opposition is as they received a bye in the semi-final. The Kilkenny girls have hit form this year and they will be out to continue this in Saturday’s final.
Elsewhere, on the adult front there is a busy schedule. In O’Loughlin’s the St Canice’s and Talbot’s Inch partnership of David Clifford and Nicky Reilly face Antrim for a place in the Masters ‘B’ doubles final. Ciara Mahon and Mary Phelan play Fionnula McKenna/Sionnain McConville of Armagh. Ciara will be seeking revenge as Fionnula got the better of her in the singles semi-final. Home adavantage should be crucial.
Last up will be the parnership of Eddie Burke and Michael Clifford, who face the hard hitting Antrim pair Seamus O’Tuama and Sean Devine. Eddie and Michael have formed a successful parnership in the past, winning the intermediate doubles.
They made light work of their opponents so far in the Leinster campaign. The Saffron duo have good form in Belfast, but it will be interesting to see how they play when they come up against the left and right handed parnership of the local men.
Also on Saturday in Gort-na-Mona, Antrim’s Liam Law and Joe Walsh contest the Silver Masters ‘B’ doubles semi-final against the home side of Stephen Roberts and Gerry Rafferty.
Patrick Funchion will look to do the double over Sean Clarke when they clash in the singles semi-final while Michael ‘Ducksie’ Walsh and D.J. Carey play Paddy Crothers and John McGarry.
On Sunday Michael Dalton and Jim Dooley travel to Kingscourt to play John Sherlock and John Dillion.
Saturday in Crinkle, Offaly (1pm start) G under-15 D, Natasha Coughlan/Michelle Nihill (Clare) v Aisling Maher/Denise Love (Kilkenny); G under-17 D, Hannah O’Brien/Aine McInerny (Clare) v Lauren Barcoe/Mary Buggy (Kilkenny).
All-Ireland semi-final fixtures on Saturday at O’Loughlin’s (4pm) OIC, Con Moore/Philly Parsons; MBD, Kilkenny (David Clifford/Nicky Reilly) v Antrim (Kieran O’Hara/Tony Devlin); LMD, Kilkenny (Ciara Mahon/Mary Phelan) v Armagh (Fionnuala McKenna/Sionnain McConville); over 35 D, Kilkenny (Michael Clifford/Eddie Bourke) v Antrim (Seamus O’Tuama/Sean Devine).
Gort-na-Mona, Belfast (4pm) SMBD, Antrim (Stephen Roberts/Gerry Rafferty) v Kilkenny (Joe Walsh/Liam Law); under-21 S, Antrim (Sean Clarke) v Kilkenny (Patrick Funchion); MAD, Antrim (Paddy Crothers/John McGarry) v Kilkenny(Michael Walsh/D.J. Carey).
Sunday in Kingscourt (3pm) DMBD, Cavan (John Sherlock/John Dillon) v Kilkenny (Michael Dalton/Jim Dooley).
Joe Walsh bt Philip Parsons; Niall Doherty bt Alan Dowling.