Mulkerrins keeps first-time nerves under wraps to win All Ireland title

New handball champion Martin Mulkerrins with the senior 40x20 trophy.

New handball champion Martin Mulkerrins with the senior 40x20 trophy.

Martin Mulkerrins has claimed this year's senior 40x20 singles All-Ireland handball crown, becoming the first Galway player to lift the coveted trophy.

The Moycullen man, in his first final, did it in style, defeating reigning champion Charly Shanks in Kingscourt on St Patrick's Day.

Mulkerrins produced a superb performance to claim the senior crown, dispelling any previous doubts after narrowly losing in the previous two semi-finals.

Instead he produced a mesmerising performance to dethrone Armagh's Shanks 21-9, 21-11.

The reigning champion raced into a 3-0 lead, but he was not to score again until Mulkerrins had accumulated 17 unanswered points with blistering kill shots, powerful pass shots, and a blitz of spin serves which bamboozled the Ulster champion.

The Galway man continued his high-paced attacking play in the second set forcing Shanks to draw on all his experience to try to get a hold of Mulkerrins. Although the pair were together at 3-3, and again at 6-6, the Tribesman was unstoppable. At 15-10 up he was in the homestretch, but Shanks battled on.

Two of the game's best rallies were played on match point which Shanks defended twice, but a spin serve to the left saw the Moycullen man claim his maiden title in fine style.

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