Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann’s long held dream of a senior softball title was well and truly shattered once again as the Ballaghaderreen duo had to give second best to the impressive Tom Sheridan and Brian Carroll of Meath in the senior decider at Abbeylara on Saturday last.
The feature event on the three-match card never really lived up to expectations in terms of a serious contest as Sheridan and Carroll pretty much ran matters once they got their noses in front. Both sides started smartly and there were all square at seven aces each early on. However the Meath pair stretched ahead at this stage and led 14 aces to seven. Keegan and McCann narrowed the gap to just four aces but that was a close as it got as Sheridan and Carroll added four more aces without reply to lead 18 aces to 12. While Keegan and McCann battled bravely they could only add two further aces before Sheridan and Carroll closed out the opening game in style. Any hopes of a comeback in the second game were well and truly scuppered from the off as Sheridan and Carroll racked up 11 aces without reply and the writing was on the well for the Ballagh men. They surrendered the second and their title dream 21 aces to six. Tom Sheridan now aged 44 announced his retirement from the competitive game in advance of Saturday’s final and it was indeed a fitting end to a brilliant career of the Kells man.
Elsewhere over the weekend most of Mayo’s other All-Ireland finalists found the going just as tough as Keegan and McCann. Martin Vahey and John Staunton put in a terrific performance before losing out to Kilkenny’s Martin Lalor and Eugene Downey in an excellent golden masters A doubles final at Roscommon on Friday night last on an overall 21-13, 20-21, 21-5 scoreline.
Stephanie Coleman and Mary Duffy lost out to Kilkenny duo, Rachel Hogan and Claire Grace, 21-19, 21-2 in the junior B doubles final. Matt Coady and Seamus Clare, Kevin Geraghty and Martin Cronin, and Vinnie Moran and Campbell Brennan all suffered defeats over the weekend. Jason Judge and Michael Ginley’s hopes of a masters doubles title were also dashed by Adrian Benson and Christy Donnelly despite the Mayo duo winning the opening game 21 aces to 19, they lost the next two 21-8, 21-6. Mayo did win two further master titles at the weekend. Kevin Fahey, a singles winner last weekend teamed up successfully with Gus Heraty for the diamond B doubles final at Tuamgraney to beat Limerick duo John Joe Fahy and Pat Henerbry. The Mayo duo won the opener comfortably 21 aces to 7 and led 11-0 in the second when an injury to Fahy resulted in an unfortunate Limerick forfeit.
Jimmy Sheridan and Tony Kenny won a first All-Ireland softball doubles title, the emerald masters B doubles, when they defeated Gerry Foley and Eamon Spillane of Tipperary in a thrilling final on a 21-14, 21-16 scoreline at Mullingar on Sunday.