Michael ‘Ducksie’ Walsh and Tom Sheridan are the 2011 Eamonn Law memorial Open doubles champions. They overcame current senior singles champion, Robbie McCarthy and Meath’s Brian Carroll in a thrilling final.
The game went the full distance with ‘Ducksie’ and Sheridan winning a very close first game 21-19. McCarthy and Carroll got into their stride in the second and won 21-10 so it was all down to the deciding set. Many people would have fancied the younger legs to pull through, but the two Masters players stuck to their task well and came out 21-12 winners.
The game had everything from kill shots to passing shots to the odd argument and a bit of joking too. The packed gallery saw the legends of 60x30 handball against the future of 60x30 and they were treated to a feast of handball.
In the senior final the Kilkenny partnership of Johnny Brennan and Nicky Reilly lost to Carlow’s John Ryan and David King. Nicky and Johnny picked up some great wins on their way and had no easy game. With Nicky comfortable no matter where the ball went and Johnny providing the cuteness in the right corner it was always going to be a tough task trying to beat them.
In their quarter-final they beat fellow Kilkenny men, Eddie Burke and Martin Lalor 21-20, 21-14. The first game could have gone either way, but Eddie missed four easy chances to serve out the game. No better man that Johnny Brennan to punish mistakes.
Next up was the Talbot’s Inch/Kells partnership of Ciaran Neary and Patrick Funchion. With Neary and Funchion in a 19-16 lead it looked as if they would close out the game. Nicky and Johnny had a never say die attitude and they scored five unanswered aces to win 21-19.
The second game followed the same pattern. The younger side broke into an early lead but the Talbot’s Inch/Mothel partnership clawed it back to level at 16-16. Everyone could see what was going to happen after the first game and the two boys booked their place in the final, winning 21-17, after five kills in-a-row from Johnny.
The two days of handball looked to have caught up on both players in the final as they lost the first game 21-12. Johnny was not killing the ball as prolifically as he was in earlier rounds. However, in the second game they both upped their performance and got a great lob serve going.
Nicky had the Garryhill/Borris boys moving all around the court while Johnny tipped down any chance of a kill. It looked as if a third game was ominous as the lads lead 17-12, but the Carlow boys clawed the lead back and levelled at 17-17.
Closed out game
Nicky and Johnny had four hands at 17 but could only make one ace. The Carlow men closed out the game 21-18.
The senior tournament is one of the hardest to win and proof of this is that the same names have only appeared twice on the Shield in the last five years. Anyone who attended this year’s Eamonn Law memorial was treated to a feast of handball over the five days. Eamonn would have been very proud.
Huge credit has to go to the Law family, ‘Ducksie’ and the Mullinvat club for driving the tournament from strength to strength each year. Thanks also to the Rising Sun for a great meal on Saturday night. Everyone is already looking forward to next year.
Meanwhile, the annual Flag Day for handball will be held on Sunday in Nowlan Park. Every club is asked to send at least three members to help out. Gerry Murphy will be the coordinator. He will be outside McGuinnesses pub at 12.15pm. This is the main fund-raiser for the year, so everyone should do their best.
Thursday (8pm) Masters A doubles semi-final, Johnny Brennan/Paul Dowling (Mothel) v Seamus Reade/Paddy Reilly (Talbot’s Inch).
Monday (8pm) Masters A doubles final, Billy Bourke/Philly Parson v Johnny Brennan/Paul Dowling (Mothel) or Seamus Reade/Paddy Reilly (Talbot’s Inch); 9pm junior doubles final, Dylan Clifford/Crissie Dawson (St Canice’s) v Diarmuid Brennan/William Coogan (Mothel).
Friday, October 7 (7pm) at Mothel OFI, Johnny Brennan under-12 B S, 1 Cathal Barry (Clogh) v Shane Duggan (Kilfane); 2 Nick O’Shea (Kells) v John Hughes (Kilfane); 3 Cillian Lafford (Kells) v winner 1; 4 Aidan Barry Clogh) v winner 2; 5 final winner 3 v winner 4.
At Talbot’s Inch OFI Martin Lalor under-13 BS, Brian Farrell (Kells) v Peter Duggan (Kilfane); 1 Jack Crehan (Kells) v Shane Heary (Talbot’s Inch); 2 final winner 1 v winner 2.
At Kilfane OFI Tom O’Keeffe under-14 BS, 1 Liam Walsh (Kells) v Darradh Phelan (Kilfane); 2 Maurice Walsh Kilfane) v Conor Fahy (Mothel); final winner 1 v winner 2.
Under-15/16 B S, 1 Robbie Donnelly (Kells) v Mark Dowling (Mothel). Final - Donal Shore (Mothel) v winner 1