Mulkerrins follows brother in winning coveted All Ireland title

All Ireland handball winner Diarmuid Mulkerrins of Moycullen with the Joe Masterson, Irish Handball president, and Aogán Ó Fearghaíl, GAA president.

All Ireland handball winner Diarmuid Mulkerrins of Moycullen with the Joe Masterson, Irish Handball president, and Aogán Ó Fearghaíl, GAA president.

Moycullen native Diarmuid Mulkerrins added his name to the history books when he captured the All-Ireland minor singles softball title at the second time of asking.

In a superb weekend for Galway GAA, Mulkerrins overcame the highly regarded James Prentice from the Ballina club in Co Tipperary in Saturday's minor singles 60x30 title final at the Croke Park alley.

Mulkerrins is now one of only three Galway minors to win the coveted trophy first played for in 1948, and it is the first time two brothers have won the blue ribband event. His brother Martin achieved back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011, and before that Williamstown's Noel McHugh in 2001 and 2002.

On Saturday Prentice produced the better start, racking up seven unanswered points without reply, but Mulkerrins responded superbly to draw level at 10 aces apiece before adding seven further aces to take command at 17 aces to 10. Prentice narrowed that gap to 17-15, but Mulkerrins kept his composure to close out the opening game 21 aces to 15.

In the second game it was Mulkerrins who enjoyed the better start, leading 10 aces to two, but Prentice fought his way back into the contest to level the scores at 17 aces all. In a game that could have gone either way, the Tipperary man was rewarded for his fighting spirit, forcing the contest to a deciding third as he won the second 21 aces to 19.

Mulkerrins built up a strong lead in the deciding third, only to be pegged back by his determined opponent again. In a titantic battle that took nearly two hours, Mulkerrins, trailing 14-16, drew on all his reserves to level the tie at 16-16. From there he pressed for the finish. At 19-16 a huge rally ended with Mulkerrins fly killing into the right corner to give him a precious opportunity to serve for the match at 20-16. The Moycullen Ace took this golden chance to seal an excellent 21-16 third game win.

Mulkerrins is back in action again this weekend in the Connacht doubles championship in Roscommon on Sunday from 2pm.

Mulkerrins and Cian Ó Conghaile are favourites to take the minor doubles over Kevin Craddock and Declan Connaughton, who also play Sligo in the junior doubles decider. Galway also feature in the opening two matches on that four match card.

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