Keegan and McCann one step away from senior glory on a great weekend for Mayo handball

On one of the busiest weekends in the 60x30 season there were some top class performances and results for Mayo’s handballers, who secured three All-Ireland titles and a place in the senior singles decider this weekend. The excellently appointed Williamstown court was packed for the two senior doubles semi-finals and ladies senior singles final last Saturday, and all three matches lived up to expectations. Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann were first up as they faced legendary 40x20 champion Paul Brady and long-time partner Michael Finnegan, in a somewhat unique pairing. Keegan and McCann beat the duo two years ago to claim their one and only senior doubles title in the 40x20. Keegan and McCann started at a blistering pace, with McCann in particular on top form, and with the Cavan men struggling to come to terms with the power and killing ability of the Mayo duo the opening game was won impressively 21 aces to 9. In the second Keegan and McCann looked to close out the contest as they led 13 aces to 3 at one stage. However a determined fight back from Brady and Finnegan soon had matters level at 14 aces all. The Mayo duo should have pushed on from there but they let matters slip further and lost this game 21-16. Any concerns that the Mayo camp might have had in the deciding third were swiftly allayed as Keegan and McCann once again found their feet and they ran out comfortable enough winners, 21 aces to 10, to book a place in Saturday’s final. The second semi-final was a also a thrilling affair and it saw Wexford duo Gavin Buggy and Colin Keeling get the better of Kilkenny’s Michael Ducksy Walsh and Michael Clifford on a 21-18, 18-21, 21-4 scoreline.

Mayo’s handballers featured in three of the four All-Ireland finals at Na Fianna in Dublin on Sunday last and they emerged with two well-merited victories. The excellent Joe Dowling was never really in trouble in his silver masters B singles decider against Tom Dooley from Kilkenny, and the Ballaghaderreen man wrapped up proceedings with a most impressive 21-4, 21-6 victory. Martin Cronin got back to winning ways as months of hard graft finally paid off when he defeated former senior champion Paddy O’Reilly in equally impressive fashion on a 21-10, 21-5 scoreline to lift the diamond A title. Mayo’s Jason Judge made a brave bid for glory only to lose out to Wexford’s Shane Rossiter in the match of the day. Rossiter won the opener 21 aces to 12 but Judge fought back to take the second 21-15, but the Wexford man won the deciding third reasonably comfortably. Mayo’s Amy Corrigan lifted her second All-Ireland title in as many weeks as she easily defeated Kilkenny’s Rebecca Mulholland to secure the ladies intermediate singles title which will fit nicely with the senior doubles title she won last week with partner Pauline Gallagher.


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