The Irish 40x20 National Championships concluded at Kingscourt on Sunday last and after three days of intense handball competition two Mayo handballers emerged victorious.
Kevin Geraghty got some compensation for his semi-final exit in the All-Ireland championships when he defeated Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy in two games to secure the golden masters A singles title. The Swinford club man won the first game comfortably but had to survive a real scare in the second, in which McCarthy mounted a spirited comeback, but he won it by a single ace 21-20. Newport’s Clodagh McMenamon and Leona Ryder were both entered in the Ladies B singles competition and they met in the second round. McMenamon went on to win that match and also the semi-final on Saturday evening to set up a final showdown with the ever improving Aoife McCarthy from Mullingar. In an excellent final played early on Sunday morning at Kingscourt the Mayo youngster did just enough to see off the McCarthy challenge in three games on an overall 21-20, 20-21, 11-9 to take her first Irish Nationals title.
Mayo’s Martin Vahey put in a number of great performances to reach the final of the masters B singles event but lost out in two games to Noel Murphy from Offaly. Dessie Keegan narrowly missed out on a semi-final place in the Men’s Open event as he was beaten by top US handballers Emmett Peixoto in the tie-break third game. Cavan’s Paul Brady went on to take that title with a clear cut victory over Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy while Aisling Reilly from Belfast had some compensation for her defeat in the All-Ireland ladies senior singles final when she beat Kerry’s Maria Daly to take the Ladies Open Singles title.
The event was overshadowed by news that Claremorris club man Aidan Bell took seriously ill in his golden masters B singles semi-final match against Frank Kerrins of Dublin at the Eugene Quinn centre in Armagh. Bell had won his two previous matches on Friday night and Saturday afternoon but became unwell during his evening semi-final match and was rushed to the local hospital where his condition was described as stable on Sunday night. The first action of the 60x30 season is the provincial club championships and a number of ties will be played off during the week ahead.