It was a busy and hugely successful week for both Mayo men’s and ladies’ senior doubles handballers. Last Friday evening at Mullingar Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann defeated Kilkenny duo Nicholas and Ger Anthony 21-14, 21-17. Two days later they made the trip to the same venue to take one the 2009 All-Ireland senior doubles champions and the duo that denied them a first title, Eoin Kennedy and Egin Jensen, in the quarter-finals. The Ballaghaderreen club men put in one of their finest performances to date to secure the semi-final spot in a somewhat one-sided contest. The Mayo duo won the opener 21 aces to 4, a scoreline few would have believed possible a year or two ago, and they led 9 aces to 1 in the second. Kennedy and Jensen did mount a spirited comeback but it was short lived as Keegan and a rejuvenated McCann closed out this game on a 21 aces to 14 scoreline. While the result was by no means a shock, beating the senior doubles champions of two years ago still ranks a fine scalp. However if that result surprised some it was nothing in comparison to the second quarter-final which saw reigning All-Ireland champions, Meath duo Tom Sheridan and Brian Carroll, dumped out of the championship by the hugely impressive Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan of Cavan in a thrilling contest on a 21-14, 21-15 scoreline. Keegan and McCann now meet the Cavan men in the semi-final in three weeks’ time. Next up for Keegan is a singles quarter-final meeting with Ducksy Walsh at Abbeylara this Saturday at 2pm, and judging by his current form the Mayo man would be expected to progress.
Not to be in any way outdone by their male counterparts, Mayo’s senior ladies, Amy Corrigan and Pauline Gallagher, have for the second year in a row reached the All-Ireland ladies’ senior doubles final following their thrilling semi-final victory over Catriona Casey and Aisling O’Keffe at Crinkle. The Mayo duo lost the opener 21 aces to 8 but fought back brilliantly to take the next two games 21-16, 21-17 to book a place in the final on Saturday week against top seeds Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville.
The first series of All-Ireland semi-finals against Munster opposition takes place this weekend with Castlebar hosting four matches from 2pm on Saturday. Jason Judge, Joe Dowling, and Galway’s John Ward are all in action in master singles matches while Amy Corrigan takes on Catriona Casey of Cork in the ladies’ intermediate singles semi-final. Roscommon host four games involving Mayo contenders also on Saturday, to avoid any clash with the footballers’ All-Ireland semi-final outing in Croke Park on Sunday. Clodagh McMenamon and Stephie Coleman are in action in the junior and junior B singles while Gareth Hughes and Pauraic Ryder line out in the u21 doubles, and the final match is the meeting of Roscommon and Cork in the intermediate doubles semi-final.