There were no real surprises in the two provincial senior finals at Ballaghaderreen on Saturday afternoon as all-Ireland senior doubles champions Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann maintained their unbeaten run to take the provincial title at the expense of fellow club mates Vincent Moran and Campbell Brennan. The champions were in devastating form in a very one sided opener and they won it for the loss of just two aces. Moran and Brennan finally got around to playing some handball in the second and the duo, to their credit, made a real fight of it and it looked like the game could go either way at one stage. However Keegan and McCann did just enough to see off the challenge as they won the second 21 aces to 17. Marianna Rushe ran out the expected easy winner of the ladies’ senior singles final with an easy two games to nil victory over fellow St Coman’s contender Leona Doolin.
The opening contest, the boy’s minor doubles final, was a thrilling encounter as Martin Mulkerrins and Seamus Ó Conghaile from Moycullen were given a very solid test of their credentials by Cian Connolly and Mark Nally from Roscommon. The Galway pair won the first 21-12 and looked to have done enough to secure the second but a number of wasted chances handed the game to Connolly and Nally on a 21 aces to 18 score line. The deciding third in this high quality tie could have gone either way also but Mulkerrins’ experience proved the difference and it was the Moycullen pair who advanced on a 21-16 score line.
Mayo’s Ciaran Burke got some compensation for his surprise exit in the junior doubles championship when he won the provincial junior singles crown at the expense of Galway challenger Kevin Craddock on an impressive 21-11, 21-11 score line. There were mixed fortunes for Mayo’s handballers in other finals. Tim Hughes and Michael Corbett lost out to Salthill duo Bert Keelehan and Morgan Duggan in the diamond doubles final on a 21-10, 17-21, 21-9 score line, while Maria Corrigan was also beaten in two games in the ladies’ junior final by Mary Shanley from Leitrim. Martin Vahey was also a weekend casualty as he had to give second best to Boyle’s Anthony O’Donnell in the silver A final, although like many of the weekend’s ties this also went to a deciding third game. Stephanie Coleman and Mary Duffy did secure the ladies’ junior doubles title at the expense of Roscommon duo Laura Mannion and Siobhan Tully in two games.
Joe McCann made the trip to Kells on Sunday but he lost out to Antrim’s Ricky McCann in three games in the final qualifier round of the senior singles.
There were plenty of tears of sadness and joy at the provincial juvenile finals played at Castlebar on Saturday last and it is fair to say that Mayo’s youngsters fared very well indeed. Conor Mooney and Dominic Sweeney put in a great performance to secure the boys’ under 12 title with a thrilling 15-3, 12-15, 15-9 defeat of Roscommon in the opening game, while Martin Byrne and Robbie Gill were less fortunate in the boys’ under 13 final as they narrowly lost out to Williamstown duo Michael Smith and Brian Coady in three games. Shane Walsh from Swinford won a thrilling boys’ under 14 final at the expense of Enda Connelly from Ballymoe on a 15-11, 9-15, 15-14 score line while Daragh Cunnane was clearly inspired by Walsh’s exploits as he pulled off a major shock in beating all-Ireland 60x30 colleges champion Gary Kelly from Roscommon in the boys’ under 15 singles final. The tall and athletic Belcarra youngster won the opener by a single ace, lost the second 21-15, but kept his cool in the tie-break to secure the victory 11 aces to 4. The boys’ under 17 doubles final was another thriller and lasted most of the afternoon with victory finally going to Fergal Harte and Darragh Callaghan of Mayo at the expense of a game and determined Moycullen duo Alan Kelly and Patrick Hogan on a 21-20, 21-17 score line. Jennifer Fahy from Swinford did lose out to Lauren O’Riordan in really top class girls’ under 16 final but she gave the Roscommon youngster plenty to do all afternoon. Mayo also lost out in the girls’ under 15 singles final as Knock youngster Shiofra Flatley had to give second best to Caoimhe Shanagher from St Coman’s in two games.