Handball took centre stage in Roscommon town last weekend with St Coman’s handball club hosting the Connacht senior handball finals. It was an all Ballaghaderreen affair, with established star Joe McCann and up-and-coming Stephen Cooney playing for the spoils.
McCann defeated Roscommon’s Chris Doolin and Galway’s Martin Mulkerrins en route to the final, while Cooney dispatched Roscommon favourites Niall McDermott and Rikki O’Gara. Cooney made a slow start, which McCann punished clinically. Killing the ball very well McCann stormed to victory 21-3. Cooney looked out of sorts, clearly still suffering the effects of a hip injury sustained some weeks ago. In the second game Cooney made a huge push for the title. Leading McCann at one point 11-3 it looked as if the match was destined for a tie breaker.
However at this point McCann showed his true pedigree. His natural stroke and seemingly effortless movement around the alley wowed the packed gallery in St Coman’s as he levelled at 13-13. Cooney was making a real match of it, but McCann was coming out on top in the longer rallies. In the end McCann’s superior passing shots and ability to kill the ball at crucial moments brought him through as champion 21-15.
In the ladies’ senior championship, Mayo’s Amy Corrigan got some revenge for her county intermediate singles defeat when she progressed at the expense of Pauline Gallagher. However Corrigan lost out in a thrilling semi-final to Roscommon’s Deirdre Donohoe 21-12, 21-17, 21-19. Marianna Rushe defeated Donohoe quite comfortably in the Sunday final.
A number of Mayo handballers go in search of provincial honours this weekend with the second series of finals taking place at five venues.
Joe Dowling teams up with James Towey as they face Roscommon duo Aengus Cunningham and James Towey at Williamstown on Saturday from 6pm, while in the second match George Miller and Kevin Cox are in action against Colin Sharkey and Fintan Kennedy of Roscommon.
There are three further matches on Sunday from 3pm also at Williamstown, where Kevin Geraghty and Martin Cronin, Eugene Malone and Mike Mullenny, and Sean Heaney and Tim Hughes all play in masters’ doubles action against Roscommon. The same afternoon at Roscommon, Seamus Maughan and Michael Ginley take on Sligo duo Shane Bruen and Mark Murphy in the men’s over 35 doubles final at 3pm.
The provincial colleges semi-finals and finals take place at Ballaghaderreen and Lisacul this Saturday from 11am and full details of the line-up are available on the Irish Handball homepage website on the Connacht Handball link, Deirdre Fahy is organising a table quiz to raise funds for Mayo handball and it takes place in the Gateway Hotel in Swinford on Friday week, February 10 at 9pm.