The main provincial action of the past week concerned the various club competitions, two of which were decided at the weekend. All-Ireland 40x20 senior club champions Ballaghaderreen faced off St Coman’s in the provincial decider at Coman’s on Friday night last in a contest that went right down to the wire. Dessie Keegan opened proceedings for the Mayo side against Coman’s Chris Doolin and the duo played out two thrilling games. Keegan took the opener 21 aces to 18 but Doolin fought back to win the second 21-17 to give the host a one-point advantage. Vincent Moran teamed up with Stephen Cooney for the doubles leg and against Coman’s Ricky O’Gara and Niall McGrath. The normally reliable Moran and Cooney were far from their best against two reasonable if unspectacular ball players and the Mayo pair suffered defeat in both games on an overall 21-17, 21-15 scoreline to leave Ballaghaderreen 11 aces adrift going into the last singles. It was now up to Ballaghaderreen’s Joe McCann to rescue the situation as he took on Coman’s Damian Martin.
Luckily, McCann was close to his best against a very rusty Martin and the Mayo ace won the first game for the loss of just four aces to give the visitors a six ace cushion going in into the final game of the evening. McCann wrapped up the tie on a 21-15 scoreline to secure Ballaghaderreen’s passage into the all-Ireland Club semi-finals in two weeks time on an overall 112-100 scoreline. The Mayo side will need to improve substantially if they are to add to their great record in this event this season.
Ballinrobe reached the provincial junior B club final on the back of victories over Newport and Castleconnor of Sligo during the week and faced St Coman’s of Roscommon on Sunday last at Lisacul. The team of Frank Macken, John O’Malley, Martin McAndrew, and John Coyne were in trouble almost from the off, with Macken losing the opening singles tie quite heavily while O’Malley and McAndrew could not make much of an impression in the doubles and Coman’s advanced on an overall 80 aces to 31 scoreline.
The junior club final between Newport of Mayo and Salthill of Galway has been postponed until later in the week. The Newport team on duty will be Ciaran Burke, Ian McLoughlin, Niall Burke, and Garoid Hughes. Unfortunately Dara Reid, who is away at College in Scotland, is unavailable.
A number of Mayo’s young handballers feature in the play-off for the Irish team who travel to USHA Junior Championships in Chicago at the end of next month. Clodagh McMenamon and Amy Corrigan feature in the girls 17 and under at Crinkle on Saturday next while Garoid Hughes is in action in the boys 17 and under and Stephen Cooney and Ian McLoughlin are among the 11 of the country’s top young handballers who are vying for a place in the boys 19 and under singles.