Friday, September 16, 2011
Sligo handballers go in search of 2 All-Ireland titles
Sligo handballers go in search of two All-Ireland handball titles
Sligo handball supporters will be hoping for a double success this weekend with Michael McMorrow & John McLoughlin representing the Yeats County in the All-Ireland Emerald Masters B doubles final while Francis McCann aims for his 17th All-Ireland medal in the Golden Masters A singles decider, writes Michael McGee
In the Connacht final the McLoughlin & McMorrow had a facile 21-6, 21-3 victory over Mayo’s Jimmy Sheridan & Pat Hayes. Collooney was the setting for the semi-final and McMorrow & McLoughlin did not disappoint their loyal supporters with another impressive display winning by 21-12, 21-13 over Tipperary’s Eamon Spillane & Gerry Foley. Friday evening’s final see’s the duo make the long journey to Ballina in Co. Tipperary as they face Kilkenny’s Gerry Murphy & Jim Dooley. McMorrow inspired Sligo in their semi-final win with his strong play while McLoughlin after a sluggish start rowed in with some important winners at crucial times in the contest.
McMorrow and McLoughlin compliment each other very well. McMorrow is seen as the workhorse in the team while McLoughlin when he hits his stride can be a match winner for anyone. The Sligo men will need to raise their game another notch or two from their semi-final win over Tipperary. Kilkenny will go in as favourites but McMorrow & McLoughlin have trained well for this final. It would be fitting for the duo after many years of heartbreak that they finally succeed and win a long overdue All-Ireland handball title.
McCann to bring Brady to book in All-Ireland final
On Sunday Sligo’s Francis McCann contests the All-Ireland Golden Masters A Singles final. This final was due to take place 2 weeks ago but was postponed as Cavan’s Mickeleen Brady was refereeing a County final. McCann had an excellent 21-9, 21-4 win over Mayo’s Frank Mackin in the Connacht final. In the All-Ireland semi-final the Ballymote man made the long trip to Ballyporeen to take on Tipperary’s Pat Ryan. In a magnificent fight back McCann calling on his vast experience and battling qualities came back from the brink of defeat. A game down and 18-19 in the tie breaker McCann somehow conjured up a famous win in the closing stages to win a marathon battle by 10-21, 21-12, 21-18.
McCann’s first All-Ireland title was back in 1977 when winning the Minor All-Ireland doubles title with club mate Michael Porter. For 19 years he played in the senior championships. Six years ago was his last triumph when winning the Silver Masters A singles title against Tipperary’s Pat Ryan the same player he defeated a month ago to reach this year’s final. McCann will face stern opposition from Brady. Brady defeated Leinster champion and a fancied Jimmy Reilly from Meath by 21-18, 21-14 in his semi-final match. McCann’s greater experience and his undoubted skills should be enough to see him returning to Sligo with another All-Ireland medal to celebrate.
Martin Donnelly All-Ireland 60 x 30 championships:
Friday 23rd September 2011, in Ballina, Tipperary at 7.30 p.m.
Emerald Masters B Doubles Final: Michael McMorrow & John McLoughlin (Sligo) v Kilkenny (Gerry Murphy & Jim Dooley (Kilkenny)
Sunday 25th September 2011 in St. Coman’s Roscommon at 2.30 p.m.
Golden Masters A singles final: Francis McCann (Sligo) v Mickeleen Brady (Cavan)