It was a good week for Ballaghaderreen handballer Dessie Keegan who partnered Joe McCann to reach the last four of the all-Ireland senior doubles championship with a comfortable 21-8, 21-7 victory over Munster’s only challengers, C J Fitzpatrick and Paul Hedderman of Limerick.
Roscommon duo Damian Martin and Ricky O’Gara defeated the other Mayo quarter-finalists, Campbell Brennan and Vincent Moran, by a similar margin to book their place in the semi-final at Broadford, Limerick, on September 14.
Keegan, McCann, and Stephen Cooney were all in action again in the senior singles quarter-finals over last weekend. Cooney lost out the veteran Kilkenny legend Ducksy Walsh 21-16, 21-8 at Ballina, while Joe McCann also had to settle for second best against last year’s beaten finalist, Eoin Kennedy from Dublin, losing out on a 21-11, 21-6 scoreline.
Keegan beat Wexford’s Gavin Buggy in a hard-fought three set match 21-13, 10-21, 21-17 while the other semi-final spot was take by Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy who beat Brian Carroll from Meath in two games.
Thus the semi-final line-up for tomorrow at Williamstown will be Keegan v Kennedy and McCarthy v Ducksy Walsh.
All-Ireland ladies doubles champions, Amy Corrigan and Pauline Gallagher, will face Cork duo Catriona Casey and Aisling O’Keeffe in the senior doubles final at the end of the month following their 21-6, 21-5 victory of Kilkenny’s Ciara Mahon and Mary Phelan at Ballina on Saturday night last.
This weekend also sees Connacht taking on Leinster in an array of home and away All-Ireland semi-final ties around the country. Michael Ginley is in action against William Holden of Kilkenny at Collooney on Saturday evening, while Jennifer Fahy and Vinnie Moran must make the long trip to St Mary’s in Wexford town where they take on local opponents Tanya O’Toole and Gavin Buggy for places in the All-Ireland deciders. Closer to home on Sunday, John Conroy and Martin Cronin are scheduled to play two masters singles ties, but in view of Mayo’s double Croke Park appearances in the football semi-finals a change in that fixture is a possibility. Stephen Howley will also be in Dublin that afternoon as he is scheduled to play Sean Devlin from Louth at Na Fianna at 4pm, while the match of the weekend will be the meeting of Garry McConnell and Stephen Cooney in the intermediate singles semi-final which is the second of a two match programme at Williamstown on Sunday afternoon also. The county juvenile finals are close to completion ahead of the provincial semi-finals and final at Belcarra on Saturday week, Mayo take on Roscommon in the semi-finals in all boys and girls grades.