Friday and Saturday were days of defeats for Kilkenny handballers, with Gerry Murphy and Jim Dooley losing out 21-13 in the Golden Masters doubles final to Sligo in the deciding set. The game could have gone either way, but Sligo stuck to their task and prevailed.
Sean Quigley and David Clifford lost out the over 35 ‘B’ doubles final to a hard-hitting Limerick pair. The Kilkenny partnership were favourites going into the final after David’s exploits on the intermediate scene last year. However, it wasn’t to be for the St Canice’s men.
This was Quigley’s second All-Ireland defeat this year. He was beaten in the junior ‘B’ team of four final but hopefully gold medals will soon be on Sean’s side.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Ger McGrath lost out the under-21 final to up and coming Tipperary star Fergal Collins, 21-5, 21-14 in Talbot’s Inch. Collins gave an exhibition of skill in the first game but eased up in the second when Ger applied pressure with scores at 18-14.
The Kells man never gave up but he couldn’t pass the Premier County man.
Sunday proved to be a more successful day with Billy Bourke and Phil Parsons claiming back-to-back All-Irelands. It took the O’Loughlin’s pair three games to see off the challenge of Roscommon.
The Talbot’s Inch partnership of Seamus Reade and Paddy Reilly proved too strong for their Mayo rival, winning 21-19, 21-10. The successful partnership never looked like getting caught in the first game although the scoreboard might suggest otherwise.
This was some consolation for Paddy, who lost the singles final two weeks ago.
Paul Dowling and Chris Dunne couldn’t pick up where the boys left off when they lost to Mayo in the Silver Masters ‘B’ doubles in two hard fought games, 21-19, 21-20. The boys will view this as one they should have won.
In Hospital, Limerick on Sunday, Kilkenny contested the minor doubles, Jjunior ‘B’ singles and intermediate doublers All-Ireland finals.
Rachel Hogan, Kilfane, scored Kilkenny’s only win. She put in a tremendous performance to defeat Ciara Mc Menamon, Mayo 21-11, 21-12. Her serving and retrieving were of the highest standard. She was by far one of the most impressive players over the weekend.
Rachel and the Mayo girl met in the 40x20 court earlier in the year with the Westerner winning on that occasion. This was sweet revenge for Rachel who was back in her own court.
In the minor doubles final, Mary Phelan/Ciara Mahon, Clogh, put in a great effort against current champions Cork’s Catriona Casey/Aishling O’Keeffe. The Kilkenny girls are under-age again next year so this experience should stand to them. They lost a battle 21-13, 21-18.
Many had written off the girls’ chances but they showed that they are no push over. Hopefully they will pick up where they left off next year.
In the intermediate doubles, Rebecca Mulholland, O’Loughlin’s and Marie Walsh, Kells were up against current senior doubles champion, Ami Corrigan and Leona Ryder, Mayo. The Kilkenny pair fought all the way but the experience of Corrigan proved the difference. Mayo won 21-8, 21-14.
Well done to all the Kilkenny girls. They who are now a force on the handball circuit.
It was also a busy weekend on the juvenile front. The under-12-13 team of six final was down for decision between Kilkenny and Tipperary. First pair up for Kilkenny was Shane Dunne and Dean Farrell, who played Jason English and James Princely.
The Tipp pair got won the first game. The Kilkenny duo fought hard in the second. Shane and Dean served well and won.
The second pair for Kilkenny was Dion Bourke and Ciaran Cooney, who played Colin Ryan and Gerome Cahill. Again Tipp won the first game convincingly, and they sneaked the second one too.
The third pair for Kilkenny was Roy Cullen and Conor Condon, who played Adrian O’Flaherty and Kevin Shinnors. The Kilkenny pair played well and won both games.
Subs for Kilkenny were Marc Purcell and John Delaney. Kilkenny were unfortunate to be beaten 66 points to 62 points. A big thank you was extended to coaches Brendan Hosey and Sean Walsh for all their hard work with the team.
The under-14-15 team of six was also in action against Tipperary. First up for Kilkenny were J.J. English and Padraig Cooney against M. Maher and J. Walsh. The locals got off to a great start serving out the first game 15-0. The Tipperary pair came out fighting but were still beaten 15-8.
The second pair for Kilkenny was Conor Lyons and Adam Clifford, who played J. Moroney and R. Burke. The first game was evenly contested. Kilkenny won 15-12. In the second Tipp shot out of the blocks and got a great serve going. They won 15-1.
Going into the last pair, Kilkenny were up 11 aces. Paul Clifford and Dylan Caulfield played J. Bradshaw and M. Casey. The first game was even. Tipp got the upper hand and won 15-9. Kilkenny’s advantage was only five aces going into the last game.
Tipperary got off to a great start again and led 11-0. The packed gallery was getting anxious before Paul eventually served Kilkenny’s first ace, but he then lost serve. Dylan served second and got a great serve going, winning the game 15-11, leaving Kilkenny the All-Ireland champions.
Subs for Kilkenny were Daragh O’Shea and Conor Dwyer. The team coaches were Eddie English and Michael O’Shea.
The under-16-17 team of four was the last final down for decision between Kilkenny and Tipperary. First pair up for Kilkenny was Stephen Dwyer and Fergal Lalor, who played S. Moroney and J. Jones. Kilkenny lost the first tie 15-0.
In the second the Kilkenny duo came out fighting and blasted to a 15-11 win.
The second pair for Kilkenny was Ronan Egan and Eoin Doyle, who played J. Cahill and J. Foley. Both pairs played well and fought hard. The Tipp pair won 15-7. The score was Tipperary 41 points, Kilkenny 22 points.
The last game was only played to 11 as Tipperary at this stage had won the final. The Kilkenny pair never gave up and won 11-7. The coaches were Martin Lalor and John Doyle.
MAD Leinster final, Kilkenny (Michael ‘Ducksie’ Walsh/D.J. Carey) bt Meath (Tom Sheridan/John Leahy) 21-18, 17-21, 21-14.
Emerald Masters B doubles final, Sligo (Michael McMorrow/John McLoughlin) bt Kilkenny (Gerry Murphy/Jim Dooley) 21-12, 17-21, 21-13.
Over 35 B doubles final, Limerick (John Noonan/Pat Doody) bt Kilkenny (David Clifford/Sean Quigley) 21-14, 21-8.
Under-21 singles final, Tipperary (Fergal Collins) bt Kilkenny (Ger McGrath) 21-5, 21-14.
Ladies minor doubles final, Cork (Catriona Casey/Aisling O’Keefe) bt Kilkenny (Ciara Mahon/Mary Phelan) 21-12, 21-18.
Ladies junior B singles final, Kilkenny (Rachel Hogan) bt Mayo (Clodagh McMenamin) 21-12, 21-14.
Ladies intermediate doubles final, Mayo (Amy Corrigan/Leona Ryder) bt Kilkenny (Rebecca Mulholland/Marie Walsh) 21-7, 21-14.
Silver Masters A doubles final, Roscommon (Anthony O’Donnell/Cormac O’Brien) bt Kilkenny (Billy Bourke/Philly Parson) 2-1.
Diamond Masters A doubles final, Kilkenny (Paddy O’Reilly/Seamus Reade) bt Mayo (Matt Coady/Tim Hughes) 21-19, 21-10.
Silver Masters B doubles final, Mayo (Sean Cunnane/Martin Vahey) bt Kilkenny (Paul Dowling/Chris Dunne) 21-19, 21-20.