Senior club specialists Ballaghaderreen took a major set in the defence of their senior softball club title when they narrowly defeated top Leinster side, Kells, in the semi-final on Monday night last at Mullingar. Kells were the only side to beat the Mayo club side in the past three years and they included Carl Browne in top class line out while Ballaghaderreen stuck with their tried and tested foursome.
Dessie Keegan was first into the fray as he faced Brian Carroll in the opening singles tie. Keegan won a thrilling first game 21 aces to 19 and added the second 21-13 to give Ballagh a 10 ace lead. Vinnie Moran and Paul Flynn lined out against former senior doubles champions, Tom Sheridan and Walter O’Connor, for the doubles tie, and in another top quality match, the Mayo duo won the first 21-19. However Meath’s Sheridan and O’Connor put the tie on a knife-edge when they took the second game 21 aces to 8 and put Kells ahead by a single ace going into the final singles game. Joe McCann was the hero of the hour as he clinched the opener against Carl Browne of Kells on a narrow 21 aces to 18 scoreline. The Ballaghaderreen man never lost sight of the target and he recorded an impressive 21 aces to 8 victory in the second to give the Mayo side a 113-98 win.
Ballaghaderreen will now be odds-on favourites for the title as they take on Munster champions, Broadford of Limerick, in the final on Tuesday week at Crinkle at 7pm.
Mayo’s Frank Macken was crowned golden masters B singles Connaught champion as he accounted for Galway’s Jimmy Connaughton 21-14, 21-10 in the provincial final on Sunday last.
In a busy week of provincial action a number of provincial semi-finals and finals are down for decision. The two senior singles semi-finals take place on Monday night at Roscommon with Dessie Keegan playing Vincent Moran and Joe McCann taking on Roscommon’s Aengus Cunningham.
Michael Ginley takes on Roscommon’s Billy Kelly in the over 35s final at Castlebar on Tuesday night, while on Friday night at Castlebar Ginley and Jason Judge take on Kennedy and Billy Kelly in the doubles final at Ballymoe from 7pm, while Brian McCarthy and Tom McDonagh are hot favourites to clinch the provincial junior B doubles title at the expense of Sligo as the second match at the Co Galway venue.
The same evening at Roscommon Frank Macken and Aidan Bell take on Galway in the silver masters B final while Joe Dowling faces Peter Chambers of Sligo in the silver masters B decider.
Both Martin Cronin and Martin Vahey are in action against Sligo opposition in masters finals at Williamstown on Sunday from 2pm, while the same afternoon at Roscommon at 2pm Mayo’s Kevin Fahey and Martin Vahey are in action in two further masters finals and the match of the day, the intermediate final between Ollie Cassidy and Paul Flynn and Galway duo, Alan Tierney and Ollie Conway is the third match on the card.