Pictured is the Kilkenny under-14/15 team that defeated Laois in the handball championships. They play Wexford in the Leinster final on Friday night in Garryhill
As the All-Ireland Open handball singles championship gathers momentum, the Funchion brothers from Kells and Ciara Mahon (Clogh) were in impressive form at the weekend when they scored confident boosting victories over Munster opponents.
In the first match at Cullahill on Saturday, elder sibling Patrick defeated reigning doubles champion, Colin Crehan (Clare) 21-14, 21-10.
Not to be out-done, his brother Peter registered a two set victory against last year’s beaten semi-finalist, Brendan Fleming (Cork), 21-17, 21-8.
There is no rest for the Kells duo. They play the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Here Patrick plays former champion, Charly Shanks (Armagh) and Peter faces recent nationals champion, Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath). Two tough tasks for the Funchions, but they will let rip.
In the ladies Open singles, Ciara Mahon progressed to the quarter-finals following a 21-13, 21-9 victory over Doireann Murphy, Clare.
This latest win for the Clogh player sets her up for a clash with Fiona Tully (Roscommon), also on Saturday.
The weekend is going to be one of the busiest of the year with All-Ireland semi-finals to be played in juvenile and adult grades.
At adult level there will be four Kilkenny players seeking places in the handball festival in Kingscourt later in the month.
On Saturday (1pm) Brian Mahon plays Fergal Coughlan (Clare) in his home court of Clogh. This will be followed by the ladies junior ‘B’ contest between Margaret Purcell (Windgap) and Tipperary’s Siobhan Prentice.
On the same afternoon Diarmuid Burke travels to Cashel to play Adrian Supple (Tipperary) in the men’s over 35 ‘B’ championship, and in the men's ‘B’ grade Noel Doherty (Galmoy) plays Brian O’Brien (Tipperary) in Nenagh.
On Sunday the action switches to the juvenile grades when Leinster host Munster at venues in Kilkenny and Carlow.
Following success in the Leinster championships, Kilkenny players make up the bulk of the matches scheduled. All matches featuring local players will be played at the O’Loughlin’s club on Sunday, starting at 11am.
On Friday the first of the Leinster juvenile team finals will be decided. Kilkenny contest the boys under-12/13 team of six and the boys under-14/15 team of four.
At Garryhill on Friday night the under-14/15 boys take on Wexford and on Saturday week the younger team plays Meath in the semi-final at Clogh. The winners face Wexford or Laois in the final the same day.
The teams are - under-12/13 Adam Clifford (Talbot’s Inch), Bobby Brennan (Clogh), James Kenny (Talbot’s Inch), Sean Morrissey (O’Loughlin’s), Conor Doyle (Windgap), Niall Drennan (Galmoy), Cathal Buckley (Kells), John Hayes (Kells).
Under-14/15 Ronan O’Brien (Windgap), David Holden (Kilfane), Rory Glynn (O’Loughlin’s), Eamonn Power (Clogh), Luke Flanagan (Clogh), Joe Healy (Kilfane), Noah Bourke (Mothel), Sean O’Keeffe (Kilfane).
All-Ireland semi-final fixtures on Saturday - Cashel, Tipperary (2pm) O35BS Tipperary (Aidan Supple) v Kilkenny (Diarmuid Burke); Nenagh, Tipperary (2pm) MBS Tipperary (Brian O’Brien) v Kilkenny (Noel Doherty).
Clogh, Kilkenny (1pm) JS Kilkenny (Brian Mahon) v Clare (Fergal Coughlan, jnr); LJBS Kilkenny (Margaret Purcell) v Tipperary (Siobhan Prentice).
Juvenile semi-finals, Sunday at O’Loughlin’s (court 1) 11am, under-14S, Kilkenny (Joseph Prendergast) v Cork (Hayden Supple); boys under-14D, Kilkenny (Michael Brennan) v Cork (Ben Sullivan/Darragh Murphy); girls under-16S, Kilkenny (Amy Brennan) v Cork (Muireann O’Brien); boys under-16D, Kilkenny (Gearoid Phelan/John Doheny) v Kerry (Darragh Lynch/Sean Quirke); girls under-16D, Kilkenny (Sontae Jackson/Áine Duggan) v Clare (Chloe Philpott/Leah Minogue).
O’Loughlin’s (court 1) 11am, boys under-15D, Kilkenny (Harry Delaney/David Shermar) v Waterford (Charlie Treen/Sean Callaghan); girls under-15D, Kilkenny (Lauren Power/Nathaina Jackson) v Clare (Jennifer Nicholas/Aoife Dooley); boys under-15S, Kilkenny (Conor Holden) v Clare (Tony Leyden); boys under-17D, IF Kilkenny Eoin O’Brien/Ciaran O’Neill v Cork (Darragh Doocey/Donal Jones)
Tinryland, Carlow 11am; girls under-14D, Carlow (Farragh Ryan/Holly Wall) v Tipperary (Hannah Grace/Leanne Gold); girls under-15S, Laois (Una Brophy) v Clare (Eimear Murphy); girls undere-17S, Carlow (Katie Barrett) v Cork (Sarah O’Malley); girls under-14S, Wexford (Jodie Keeling) v Cork (Carmel Kelleher); boys under-17S, Wexford (Dean O’Neill) v Waterford (Jamie Moylan); boys under-17D, if Wexford (Joe Devereux/David Doyle) v Cork (Darragh Ducey/Donal Jones); boys under-16S, Kilkenny (Billy Drennan) v Tipperary (Rory Grace).
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.