Donnelly All Ireland 60 x 30 Semi Finals and Finals
It was a remarkable weekend for Wexford handball with success coming across the board in many forms with an All Ireland Senior doubles final berth being clinched by Barry Goff and Colin Keeling while four All Ireland titles were collected by Wexford players.Two underage premier titles were collected and two masters grades title also being won by the handball players of the model county.
Colin Keeling and Barry Goff had to stand up and be counted on Saturday afternoon when they took on Michael Duxie Walsh and Michael Clifford from Kilkenny in the M. Donnelly sponsored All Ireland Senior doubles semi final.
National bookmakers surprisingly had the Kilkenny pair the favourites but the 15/8 priced Wexford men laid down the early platform for success by capturing the opening set on a 21-18 score line. It proved to be a remarkable game of handball with fine passing shots, great serving and great killing by all four players and it was no suprise as the Marble City men took the second set on a 21-18 score. The Wexford pair looked to be suffering badly and people wondered could they recover the initiative and find an extra gear. Barry Goff and Colin Keeling answered all the questions and threw back everything the Kilkenny men had to offer and powered to a fantastic win of 21-4 in the final set. The win sets up the Wexford men for next Saturday’s All Ireland final where they will clash with Mayo duo Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann who beat Cavan’s Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan in the other semi final last Saturday afternoon. The Mayo men will go into the final as slight favourites and have tasted success at the top level before as the pair took the All Ireland senior doubles title in the 40 x 20 court in the past and have been so close on many occasions to capturing the big alley equivilant. However, if prior experience is needed or required, the model county pair of Barry Goff and Colin Keeling have plenty in their own closet too, one only has to think back to a remarkable night in 2000 when Wexford captured three All Ireland titles on the one night. Jimmy Goggins and Terry Gainfort took the minor doubles title to get that epic night underway before Barry Goff captured the All Ireland intermediate singles title. The final piece of that magical night came as Colin Keeling and Tommy Hynes powered their way to the All Ireland senior doubles crown by beating Tom Sheridan and Walter O’Connor in a pulsating All Ireland final.
Barry Goff who came back to the handball courts just last year after a three year absence has now powered his way into the top three ranked handballers in the country in the big alley. The Wexford Farmers Co-Op senior doubles has gone the way of Goff in fine style and his recent run to the semi final of the All Ireland senior singles has seen his name rise again in the handball courts of Ireland.
With his partner Colin Keeling the Wexford duo have formed a formidable partnership and have collected five titles already this season picking up the Eammon Law Memorial Open doubles title, the Tommy O’Brien Memorial Tournament doubles title, the Hospital Open Doubles title, the Kells Open doubles and also they captured the first ever Irish Nationals Open Doubles 60 x 30 title when they beat pairs such as Robbie McCarthy and Brian Carroll and Tom Sheridan and Michael Duxie Walsh.
Next Saturday promises to be another special day for Wexford handball as the action get underway in Williamstown in county Galway at 2pm with the minor doubles final as Dean Corrigan and Corey Murphy will meet Roscommon opposition for the second year running this grade. Last year the Roscommon men took the honours at the semi final stage by beat the Castlebridge pair in their home court so revenge will be high in the minds of two of Wexford’s and Ireland hardest hitting handballer’s who will be in with a strong chance of success once they seize the moment and deliver the big shots when needed against a very strong Roscommon pair. That clash will be the curtain raiser for the main event as Barry Goff and Colin Keeling will enter the court to take on Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann from Mayo in the All Ireland senior doubles final with a huge crowd of handball fanatics from county Wexford expected to head to the west for these games.
Last Saturday afternoon Wexford handball celebrated another magical afternoon as for the first time ever Wexford collected the two premier underage doubles titles in the one year as the under 14 doubles title and the under 16 doubles title were collected by the model county as OisIn Foley, Tomás Hall, Galeon Riordan and Pádraig Foley celebrated success.
In the under 14 final OisIn Foley and Tomás Hall took on beat Tipperary opposition in the own back yard as Tiernan O’Brien and John Ryan were cast aside in a terrific final on a 14-15, 14-4, 15-11 score line. It was a remarkable success for the Castlebridge duo with OisIn Foley adding the title to the All Ireland Féile na nGael skills title he collected earlier this year while Tomás Hall has another year at under 14 level as the 13 year old stepped up in age groups for this fantastic success.
It proved to be a special day for the Foley family as Pádraig Foley, Oisin’s brother added the under 16 doubles title with the help of Galeon Riordan as they also downed premier county men in the home patch. Riordan and Foley powered to a 21-9, 21-16 win over Pádraig Donohoe and Daniel Hayes in a weekend that showed that underage handball in Wexford is strong and proved that great work by the selectors of the underage squads have done a great job in focussing their efforts on winning doubles titles this season and the experience gained in these wins will stand to make these fantastic handballers stronger as they move through the inter county ranks.
Two more All Ireland titles were collected in the over age ranks as Eugene Kelly dominated his game with Billy Kelly from Roscommon from start to finish and took the title in Over 35 B singles with a 21-7, 21-7 win. Shane Rossiter from Ballymitty was cheered on by a huge number of his club mates in his win at Masters B singles level. In a great final he eventually broke down the challenge of Jason Judge from Mayo and won the day on a 21-11, 17-21, 21-6 score.
Gavin Buggy suffered defeat in the final of the Over 35 A singles. However, the story was far from the result showed as Gavin led 10-4 in the opening set before being hit hard by the ball into the eye and after receiving treatment he continued on but never recovered his composure as Paul Mullins took the title from Buggy on a 21-10, 21-10 score line. Brendan Murphy also tasted defeat in the All Ireland Emerald Masters B singles final as he never found his top gear in a 21-13, 21-4 defeat to James Quinn from Tipperary.
Donnelly All Ireland 60 x 30 Semi Finals and Finals