The Castlebridge team is pictured with Brian Murphy (front) and County Chairperson Tom Rossiter (back)
CASTLEBRIDGE WIN ALL IRELAND 60×30 INTERMEDIATE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Another glorious chapter was added to the rich history of Castlebridge Handball Club at Crinkle, Co Offaly on Saturday last when they captured the GAA Handball Ireland 60×30 Intermediate Club title by defeating Hospital, Limerick in a close and hard fought encounter.
With Ulster failing to provide any opposition in the All Ireland semi-final, the team of Eugene Kelly, Malachy Whelan, David Kenny and Jason Murphy had the benefit of a free morning at the midland venue and they watched on as Hospital defeated Williamstown, Galway, 97-62 in their semi-final match.
Any thoughts that the Munster champions might be fatigued by that match was quickly dispelled however as the All Ireland minor singles champion from 2012 and 2013 Padraig Quish proved far too good for Eugene Kelly, in the opening singles match and his emphatic 21-9, 21-11 win gave his side a big looking 20 point lead. The Castlebridge doubles pairing of Malachy Whelan and David Kenny began the task of reducing that deficit in workmanlike fashion as they took the opening game 21-18 against John Keyes and Ken Bourke, before really stamping their class all over this All Ireland final with a 21-7 win in the second. That made the score 67- 62 in favour of Hospital and gave the Castlebridge second singles player Jason Murphy a real chance of bringing this championship to his club and county for the very first time.
Standing in his way was another young Treaty city starlet Eamon Davern who won the All Ireland minor doubles title back in 2010 and who was strongly fancied to see the Shannonsiders home in style. Murphy though had other ideas and drawing on the experience gained from his All Ireland junior singles win last year he rose to the challenge in magnificent style to win the opening game 21-14. That put Castlebridge ahead for the first time in the match and their lead of 83-81 put the pressure firmly on Davern as the players prepared to play the last game of this All Ireland club final.
With the match now finely balanced it came down to who wanted it the most and it was Murphy who took this tie by the scruff of the neck as he swarmed all over Davern on his way to an fantastic 21-9 win to leave the Wexford club victorious by 104- 90. It was another tour-de-force from the skilful Murphy and it kept Castlebridge and Wexford handball to the forefront of affairs on what was a terrific weekend for Wexford sport.
WEBSITE LAUNCH Officials from GAA Handball Ireland, Leinster Council and the County GAA Board are expected to attend Thursday’s launch of the Wexford Handball Board new website www.gaahandballwexford.ie. Commencing at 7.15pm at White’s Hotel, Wexford it will be a milestone event in the long and chequered history of the game in Wexford.
The opening part of the evening will be taken up navigating through the many features of the new website and following a break for refreshments at 8.30pm an ‘open forum’ will begin at 9pm when the attendance will be taken through county committee policy on a range of topics. This will provide a real opportunity for those who are outside of the committee system to engage with officials and it has to be viewed as a very positive development for the sport.