Three All Ireland 40×20 Doubles Semi Finals were held in St Josephs Community Centre yesterday afternoon and the lucky ones in attendance witnessed some tremendous handball.
The Intermediate Doubles Semi Final was an epic affair with Galen Riordan and Peter Hughes up against Colin Corbett and Niall Bolton from Clare. The standard of handball on display was of the highest quality throughout this intriguing contest. The Ballyhogue pair got the better start and were 11-3 and 17-9 up in the first game. Clare then had a purple patch and took a 19-17 lead. Our lads dug deep to just get over the line 21-20. A similar patter developed in the second game with Wexford up 10-3. The difference this time was that when Clare went ahead 11-10they ran out 21-12 winners. In the third game, Wexford again made the early running but when Clare held a 10-8 lead, the match was in the balance, but Wexford turned things around in dramatic fashion, winning nine aces in a row to finally put daylight between the two pairs. Clare got the score back to 16 before Galen and Peter closed the game out for a magnificent victory. What a performance by the Ballyhogue pair against such formidable opponents.
Congratulations to Michael Rossiter (Ballyhogue) and Benny Doyle (Horeswood) on reaching the All Ireland Diamond Masters A Final, following their semi final win against Pat Donnellan and Mike Kelly from Clare. They got off to a slow start, losing the first game 21-15, but came storming back in the second winning it 21-9. They continued to pile on the pressure in the third and won it 21-10, a very impressive performance, which augurs well for the Final.
Hard luck to John Roche and David Redmond who came up against a strong Tipperary pair in John Kennedy and Brian O’Brien in the Masters B Doubles Semi Final. The first game was a very tight affair, with the pairs level on a number of occasions up to 16-16. Tipperary then won four aces in a row to reach game ball, but despite John and David getting back to 18, Tipperary took it 21-18. It was a similar pattern in the second game with only an ace or two between them up to 10-10. Tipperary then took control however and led 17-10 and 20-11, before closing the match out 21-15.
Hard luck also to Tom and Miley Byrne who travelled to Galbally, Co. Limerick for their their Diamond Masters B Double Semi Final against Jimmy Fanning and Jack Dillon. Unfortunately it was the home pair who progressed to the Final in two straight games.