All-Ireland joy at last for Macken but Mayo girls lose out

Handball

The good news story of the week came by way of Ballinrobe handballer Frank Macken, who finally got his hands on a richly deserved All-Ireland medal. Williamstown on Saturday afternoon last was the setting for Frank’s finest hour as he and a fine attendance settled in for the All-Ireland golden masters B singles final against the well-regarded Pat Donnellan for Clare. Macken started well and was never really troubled in the opening game and he secured this one impressively 21 aces to 12. The second was a much tougher affair as Donnellan began to find his feet and the Clare man was making life difficult for the Galway based garda. Macken trailed for much of the game but his superior fitness and determination saw him take the lead at 17 aces to 16 although this on went down to the wire, as a relieved Macken added the second on a 21 aces to 17 scoreline. The win was well deserved and hard-earned but the hours of work put in yielded the desired result on the day. Macken has a decent chance of a second title this weekend as he teams up with Claremorris native Aidan Bell in the doubles final against Donnellan and Stephen McInerney once again at Williamstown this Saturday from 3pm.

Macken was the only Mayo winner of the weekend however, as the reigning All-Ireland champions, Amy Corrigan and Leona Ryder, were beaten by Cork duo Catriona Casey and Aisling O’Keeffe in three games in the ladies’ minor doubles final at Thurles the same afternoon. The Ballaghaderreen-Newport partnership were desperately unlucky to lose the opening game on a narrow 21 aces to 18 scoreline but they made a real match of it when they impressively won the second 21-8. However they could not repeat that performance in the deciding third which they lost 21-8 as Casey and O’Keeffe ran out easy winners in the end.

Stephanie Coleman was also fancied to take ladies’ junior singles honours as she lined out against Wexford’s Martina Walsh in the final at Kells on Sunday last. Coleman also lost the opening game narrowly on a 21 aces to 18 scoreline and never really recovered after that as Walsh wrapped up the contest, winning the second comfortably.

A rampant Connacht girls’ team retained the inter provincial team of 10 as they saw off the challenge of Leinster in the semi-final at Thurles, and then old foes Munster in the final. The Connacht girls had the match sown up after the third doubles leg of a one-sided contest which featured Mayo’s Jennifer Fahy as they led 66-15 with only 44 aces to play for. This is a supremely talented group of players drawn from the very best young talent in Mayo, Roscommon, and Galway and features four All-Ireland singles champions from this year alone.

Ballaghaderreen’s James Towey and Leitrim partner, Jamie Murray, were the winners of an enjoyable Michael Hannon Tournament at Ballymote on Sunday afternoon last as they defeated the all-Sligo pairing of Martin Golden and Joe Gorman in the final, 31- 16.

Those wishing to test their general knowledge or just interested in a fun night out should make their way to the Westport Country Lodge Hotel, Aughagower, tonight Friday October 1 at 9pm for a table quiz in aid of the local Aughagower handball alley. There will be lots of spot prizes on the night as well.

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