Jack Holden pictured with GAA Handball President Joe Mastesson
On Saturday at Croke Park, Jack Holden, Kilfane completed a fantastic season in the softball championships when he won the All-Ireland minor singles final.
The talented Kilkenny player has been the dominant performer in the minor grade this year and he produced another brilliant display to account for his Kerry opponent in two sets.
Scores were level early in the first set between Jack and his opponent, Daire Keane.
However, the Kilfane player had the edge in power and he used it to great advantage to secure the first game 21-12.
Both displayed some good shots at the start of the second set before Holden eased ahead 14-2 to get within sight of the title.
Although the Kerry player rallied well to close the gap with some good kill shots, Jack was not to be denied victory.
He closed out the match 21-8 to register a wonderful win.
Jack become the seventh Kilkenny player to win this crown. He follows in the footsteps of some fabulous players such as Billy Bourke, Michael ‘Ducksie’ Walsh, Nicholas Anthony and Shane Dunne.
Earlier in the year Jack won the All-Ireland 40 x20 under-17 title.
This Saturday at Croke Park and Crinkle, Kilkenny players will contest All-Ireland senior softball doubles matches.
In headquarters, the Clogh/Kilfane combination of Ciara Mahon and Aoife Holden play Mayo in the ladies doubles semi-final with a place in the final against either Cork or Kildare up for grabs.
On the same afternoon at the Offaly venue, Ciaran Neary (Talbot’s Inch) and Keith Bourke (O’Loughlin’s) will attempt to book their place in the Open doubles semi-final when they have the difficult task of attempting to overcome Robbie McCarthy (senior and junior) from Westmeath.
This weekend the All-Ireland adult singles finals will be played.
First up for the county is Dearbhail O’Keeffe (Kilfane) on Friday night in Thurles.
She faces a tough opponent in Tipperary’s Sinead Meagher in the ladies junior singles final.
On Saturday at Fahy Cross in Offaly, Margaret Purcell (Windgap) plays in the ladies junior ‘B’ singles final against Laura Finn, Sligo.
In the men’s Diamond Masters A singles final, Johnny Brennan (Mothel) faces a tough opponent in Billy Mullins (Tipperary) when they clash at the Na Fianna court.
On Sunday at St Coman’s, Roscommon the under-21 singles final features Dylan Caulfield (Kilfane) and Galway’s Diarmuid Mulkerrins.
The All-Ireland girls under-15 doubles final will be played in Lahorna, Tipperary on Sunday when Kilkenny’s Lauren Power and Nathania Jackson play local duo Anna Mulcahy and Aine Spain.
On Sunday at Clogh and Kilfane, the All-Ireland juvenile semi-finals between Leinster and Connacht were played.
Following these matches Kilkenny players will feature in eight of the finals scheduled for two weeks time in Munster venues.
Results - girls under-14S, Kilkenny (Amy Brennan) bt Galway (Emma Kinane) 15-0, 15-0; under-16 D, Kilkenny (Aine Duggan/Aoife Woods) W/o Mayo (Lucy Brennan/Hazel Finn) (scr).
Boys under-14 S, Galway (Mikey Kelly) bt Kilkenny (Harry Delaney) 15-12, 15-4; under-14D, Kilkenny (Kyle Jordan/Sean O’Keeffe) bt Galway (Dara Ó Laoire/Cathal Ó Laoire) 15-1, 15-3; under-15 S, Wexford (Tommy Connors) bt Galway (David Donoghue) 15-7, 15-10; under-16 S, Kilkenny (Kyle Dunne) bt Galway (Nathan Kelly) 21-0, 21-0; under-17S, Kilkenny (Eoin O’Brien) W/o Galway (Labhras Hession) (scr); under-17 D, Kilkenny (James Love/Tom Carroll) bt Galway (Cian Ó Mainin/Eamon Ó Laoire) 21-0, 21-3.
Byes to All-Ireland final - girls under-15D, Kilkenny (Lauren Power/Nathania Jackson); under-16 S, Kilkenny (Roisin O’Keeffe).
To complete Kilkenny’s involvement in the Leinster championship, the minor doubles and intermediate singles final were played on Saturday.
In the intermediate decider at Garryhill, Brian Mahon (Clogh) scored a comfortable 21-9, 21-9 win over Paul Lambert, Wexford.
At Tinahely the same evening another Clogh pair, Ciáran Cooney and Billy O’Neill were too strong for their Wexford’s Cian Kehoe and Josh McMahon (21-8, 21-3).
All three players progress to the All-Ireland series, and they have every chance of winning.
All Ireland fixtures
Saturday - senior softball doubles at Crinkle, Offaly (11.30am) quarter-final A, Dublin (Eoin Kennedy/Carl Browne) v Galway (Martin Mulkerrins/Diarmuid Mulkerrins); C, Westmeath (Robbie McCarthy/Colm Jordan) v Kilkenny (Ciaran Neary/Keith Bourke); at Talbot’s Inch (2pm), quarter-final B, Tipperary (Ger Coonan/David Hickey) v Wexford (Gavin Buggy/Tommy Hynes); D, Limerick (Paudi Quish/Eamonn Davern) v Meath (Brian Carroll/Gary McConnell).
Saturday - All-Ireland ladies senior doubles semi-finals, Cork (Catriona Casey/Aishling O’Keeffe) v Kildare (Leah Doyle/Mollie Dagg); Mayo (Pauline Gallagher/Amy Corrigan) v Kilkenny (Ciara Mahon/Aoife Holden)
Saturday, October 13, All-Ireland final in Croke Park.
Friday - All-Ireland softball singles finals in Thurles (8pm) LJS Tipperary (Sinead Meagher) v Kilkenny (Dearbhail O’Keeffe).
Saturday - Fahy, Offaly (6.30pm) LJBS Sligo (Laura Finn) v Kilkenny (Margaret Purcell).
Sunday - Na Fianna, Dublin (1pm) RMS Mayo (Martin Cronin) v Carlow (John Rossiter); O70S Mayo (Matt Coady) v Wexford (Ned Buggy); DMAS Tipperary (Billy Mullins) v Kilkenny (Johnny Brennan); MAS Tipperary (Paul Mullins) v Wexford (Gavin Buggy); St Coman’s, Roscommon (2pm) LMS Galway (Niamh Heffernan) v Kildare (Leah Doyle); under-21S, Galway (Diarmuid Mulkerrins) v Kilkenny (Dylan Caulfield).
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.