All-Ireland handball champions from Grennan College, Thomastown - Jack Holden, Kyle Jordan, Conor Holden, Dearghail and Roisin O'Keeffe
This weekend the season ending matches for the 2018 softball will be played.
Disrupted by the World Handball championships in August, the traditional 60x20 competitions started in early July and will be completed on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday at Croke Park players from the Clogh club will contest two finals. First up are Ciáran Cooney and Billy O’Neill against Conor Walsh and Cian O’Driscoll (Cork) in minor doubles.
Both players have steadily improved this year and a win would complete a great season for them.
The second match at headquarters is the intermediate singles final. Brian Mahon will carry the hopes of the North Kilkenny club against Waterford’s Philip Butler.
Having tasted success in the Worlds in Minneapolis, Brian has continued that rich vein of form. Along the way he dug deep at times. He will be attempt to complete a fantastic year.
Elsewhere the county will contest a number of adult doubles finals at Offaly venues on Saturday and Sunday.
First up are Windgap’s Margaret Purcell and Caoimhe O’Shea in the ladies junior ‘B’ doubles against Sligo’s Laura Finn and Sarah Coleman on Saturday. If they play up to scratch they will have a chance.
On the same day at Crinkle there are two finals involving Kilkenny pairs. The O’Loughlin’s/Kilfane pairing of John Morrissey and Willie Murphy face the unknown against Limerick’s Patrick Frawley and Burt Henley in the Masters ‘B’ doubles decider.
This is followed by the Diamond Masters ‘A’ doubles clash of Kilkenny’s Johnny Brennan and Joe Hennessy. They have a difficult task against defending champions, Billy and Pakie Mullins, Tipperary.
The following day, Sunday, Kilkenny will return to Crinkle for the under-21 doubles final where Galway provide the opposition. Dylan Caulfield (Kilfane) and Padraig Cooney (Clogh) face the formidable pairing of Diarmuid Mulkerrins and Cian O’Conghaile.
In Emerald Masters ‘A’ doubles Philly Parsons (O’Loughlin’s) and Eamonn Purcell (Windgap) play Cork’s John Herlihy and John Hedigan.
The All-Ireland second level colleges 60x30 finals were played on Saturday in Sligo. Kilkenny players confirmed the county’s dominance with Castlecomer Community School and Grennan College each taking home five gold medals.
Under the watchful eye of coach, Ned Lawlor, Castlecomer’s Amy Brennan won the junior singles; Kyle Dunne and Billy O’Neill won the intermediate doubles and the senior doubles crown was won by Ciáran Cooney and Jamie Maher.
The school also won a silver medal in junior singles when Luke Flanagan was runner-up.
Grennan College, Thomastown matched the haul. In boys junior doubles, Kyle Jordan and Conor Holden were comfortable winners. Jack Holden added the senior singles crown where he had another tough battle with Daire Keane (Kerry) in a repeat of the All-Ireland minor singles final.
To complete a good day for the Thomastown school, the O’Keeffe sisters, Dearbhail and Roisin brought home the girls senior doubles title.
In the boys junior singles decider Billy Drennan (Kilkenny CBS) was a beaten finalist.
Also played at the weekend was the third level colleges 60x30 championships at venues in Wexford. Kilkenny provided the winners of the two open events.
In the ladies Open final Aoife Holden won for her college DCU, defeating Fiona Tully. In the men’s Open grade, Shane Dunne, representing Tralee IT, retained his title when beating Galen O’Riordan.
At the recent handball race for eight pro stop in Atlanta, Peter Funchion, Kells finished in ninth position in what was a tough event. It was won by USA player, Luis Cordova.
Saturday at Croke Park HC, Dublin (2pm) boys minor doubles final, Cork (Conor Walsh/Cian O’Driscoll) v Kilkenny (Billy O’Neill/Ciaran Cooney); men’s intermediate singles final,
Waterford (Philip Butler) v Kilkenny (Brian Mahon); men’s senior doubles final,
Dublin (Eoin Kennedy/Carl Browne) v Meath (Brian Carroll/Gary McConnell).
Saturday at Fahy, Offaly (2pm) LJBD Sligo (Laura Finn/Sara Coleman) v Kilkenny (Margaret Purcell/Caoimhe O'Shea); Crinkle, Offaly OIC Kevin Cooke 12 noon, MBD Limerick (Patrick Frawley/Burt Henley) v Kilkenny (John Morrissey/William Murphy); DMAD Tipperary (Billy Mullins/Pakie Mullins) v Kilkenny (Johnny Brennan/Joe Hennessy)
Sunday at Crinkle, Offaly 12 noon, under-21D, Galway (Diarmuid Mulkerrins/Cian Ó Conghaille) v Kilkenny (Dylan Caulfield/Padraig Cooney); JD Tipperary (John Ferncombe/Sean Maher) v Cavan (Paul Fitzpatrick/Cormac McMahon); SMAD Tipperary (David Moloney/John O’Donoghue) v Dublin (Connor Maxwell/Mick O’Donnell); Talbot’s Inch at 12 noon. GMBD Tipperary (Brendan Ryan/Willie Burke) v Wexford (Tommy Armstrong/Padraig Devereux), RMD Tipperary (Paddy Collins/Jim Ryan) v Dublin (Eugene Kennedy/Vinnie Farrelly).
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.