Mayo’s Amy Corrigan and Pauline Gallagher secured a hard-earned first ever senior ladies 60x30 all-Ireland title against hot favourites and reigning champions, Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville at Abbeylara on Saturday afternoon last. However Mayo’s Dessie Keegan failed in his bid to reach a first ever men’s senior singles at the same venue.
A good contingent of Mayo handball supporters made the trip to the fine Longford venue for the triple header that include both men’s senior semi-finals and the ladies’ doubles final on Saturday last.
Keegan was first up at 12 noon, in a rescheduled time slot to allow the Ballaghaderreen man time to make it back to McHale Park for the footballers quarter-final tie against Knockmore, against the reigning all-Ireland title holder, Eoin Kennedy of Dublin. While Keegan and partner Joe McCann accounted for Kennedy and Egin Jensen in the senior doubles quarter-final two weeks ago this semi-final never really lived up to its billing as it was clear from the start that Kennedy was not giving up his title easily. Keegan never really got seriously into the contest and despite his best attempts he lost the opener 21 aces to 12 and the second 21 aces to 8. It was a bitter blow for Keegan and the many supporters but Kennedy, who is bidding for an eighth successive title, was the sharper throughout.
Fortunately for all concerned the second match, the ladies’ senior doubles final, lived up to all the expectation. Amy Corrigan from Ballaghaderreen and Pauline Gallagher from Swinford faced the All-Ireland title holders, Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville from Kerry. Corrigan and Gallagher should have secured the opening game but they lost out narrowly but just two aces 21-19. However they took this major setback in their stride and were rewarded when they won the second game 21 aces to 15. The contest was thus set up for a cliff-hanging deciding third game. It was thrilling from start to finish as with both Corrigan and Gallagher fought for everything and they never faltered in their belief that this could be their day. A 21 aces to 17 victory in the third secured a first ever senior ladies title for the Ballaghaderreen-Swinford duo and it was hard-earned and richly deserved.
Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville meet in the ladies’ senior singles final this weekend in Abbeylara and this only underpin their standing as the premier senior players of this era but Amy Corrigan and Pauline Gallagher found the magic something extra at Abbeylara on Saturday last as they made a little bit of Mayo handball history.
Elsewhere it was another reasonably good weekend for Mayo and Connacht in the second series of all-Ireland semi-finals. Martin Vahey and Sean Cunnane had a fine win over Limerick during the week in their silver masters B clash, while Joe Dowling and James Towey have reached the masters B final as they accounted for John Lee and Mick O’Brien at Clonmel on Saturday last. However Kevin Geraghty and Martin Cronin lost out in their match at the same venue.