Barry Goff’s dreams of a place in the final of this year’s M.Donnelly Senior singles were dashed after a heroic effort last Saturday afternoon in Abbeylara Co. Longford before the Wexford man eventually went down to runner up from the past two seasons Robbie McCarthy from Westmeath.
After a terrific performance in the quarter final to defeat Gavin Buggy, Barry Goff travelled to Abbeylara full of confidence ahead of a huge task against McCarthy. The opening set was a very close run battle early on with the players deadlocked on scores early in the set. However, McCarthy turned up the pace midway through the opening set to forge into an eight point lead on 16-8 with some incredible kills shots on the fly with both hands. He continued to dominate to the end of the opening set and saw it out 21-12.
The second game was everything the crowd hoped for ,it lasted 45 minutes in total and both players produced handball right from the top drawer with unreal power and stunning shots coming from both players. The score were deadlocked at 6-6 early in the second set before Goff took control and powered ahead 13-7. But McCarthy has not been in the last two finals without fine battling qualities and he battled back to tie up the second set at 16-16. Both players were now firing shots from every angle ,all of top class precision and with both players hammering kills at each other Goff somehow took the set on a 21-18 score line to send the game to a deciding set.
Robbie McCarthy set a blistering pace in the third set and his mentle strength and physical strength and condition saw him race into a 20-1 lead before Goff knew what had hit him , with McCarthy using a precise lob toss down the left to frustrate Goff. However Goff did make a good battle of the third set to get six aces but McCarthy eventually delivered the winning point to set up a final against eight in a row champion Eoin Kennedy from Dublin next weekend.
Although Goff was disappointed at the end he can still look forward to an All Ireland doubles semi final in two weeks time as he and Colin Keeling bid to secure a senior final berth.
GAA Handball All Ireland Semi Finals
It was a case of one win from three All Ireland semi final last weekend for the model county as the Junior B doubles partnership of Diarmuid Smyth and David Kenny advanced to the All Ireland final with a flawless display in their home court Castlebridge last weekend .
In a grade where Wexford has taken the last two All Ireland titles the Castlebridge duo are now odds on favourites to make it three in a row for the model county after the pulverised Cavan’s Shane Briody and Maurice Sheridan last weekend on a 21-1, 21-8 score line . The Wexford duo made the running early in play and their high tempo was far too strong for the Cavan men.
The junior singles semi final was again a frustrating place for Paul Lambert as he lost out in the All Ireland stages for the second year running in this grade. Despite putting in another top class performance Paul Lambert known as Curley among the Wexford handball community lost out a three game match to Shane O’Neill from Tyrone on a 21-13, 10-21, 21-8 score line.
Toms Connors and Ricky Barron saw their run in the master B doubles come to an end as they lost out this weekend in the semi final stages against a very strong Cavan combination of Joe McKeown and Kevin Martin as the men in Blue and white had success over the Model county men on a 21-11 , 21-10 score line.
Wexford farmers Co-op 60 x 30 finals
Gavin Buggy and Paul Carthy collected the Senior doubles title last week as they came through a three game decider to scoop the title after a great match with Castlebridge duo Cormac Smyth and Malachy Whelan. The opening set saw the match go according to the script with the St Mary’s men winning on a 21-7 score line . However, the Castlebridge men proved their worth in the second set winning on a 21-17 score line . However in the deciding set it was the men from Wexford town who delivered the big shots and they finished the job on a 21-9 score line .
Miley Byrne and Marty Kinsella took the honours in the final of the Junior C doubles as they beat their Ballymitty club mates Paul Cleary and Seamie O’Neill on a 4-21, 21-14, 21-3 score.
The over 35 doubles final went the way of Castlebridge as Eugene Kelly and John Murphy joined forces for the black and amber club in imperious fashion to defeat Shane Rossiter and David Cleary from Ballymitty on a 21-7, 21-11 score line.
The Masters A singles final proved to be the final of the week with both Phil Coleman and Pechelli English giving their all for this prestigious title. Coleman from Ballymitty somehow got over the finishing line in an epic tussle against English from Davidstown on a 21-16, 17-21, 21-18 score.
Ricky Barron somewhat made up for his disappointment in the All Ireland semi final by capturing the Masters B Doubles event as he joined forces with Mick Donovan to bring the title home to Barntown after they defeated Murphy brothers Brendan and Stephen from Castlebridge on a 21-6, 21-17 score line.
Tony Breen proved to be the best in the Golden Masters Singles final as the man from the foot of the Blackstairs in Templeudigan delivered the A game on the night to beat off Benny Doyle from Horeswood on a 21-11, 21-12 score line