Monday, October 10, 2011

Neary & Hughes clinch McDermott Cup in Crossakiel

Neary & Hughes clinch McDermott Cup in Crossakiel
Ciaran Neary & Peter Hughes overcame the brave challenge of Leitrim’s Jamie Murray & Martin Raftery to win a captivating McDermott Cup final, writes Michael McGee

The Crossakiel Club brought down the calendar on a memorable 60 x 30 season. Kilkenny’s Ciaran Neary & Peter Hughes Wexford teamed up to win the 2nd Annual McDermott Cup doubles competition for Junior/Masters players on Sunday 9th October last. Teams from Leitrim, Galway, Kilkenny, Wexford, Kerry, Louth and Meath took part. Dan Riordan made the longest journey to the Meath venue when travelling all the way from Kerry to the tournament.
The Juvenile tournament took place the previous day and resulted in wins for Leah Doyle in the Girls U-12 round robin. Conor Farrell & Donal Farrelly were victorious in the Boys U-12 doubles while Christopher Clinton & Peter Smith took home the Boys U14 doubles trophies.
Sunday’s action got underway at 10 am in the Crossakiel & Kells courts. Leitrim’s Jamie Murray & Martin Raftery had an early start and was first into action against local pairing Pat McCabe & Richard Farrell. They eased their way into the quarter final with an effortless display. Leitrim’s 2nd paring of Eddie Lee & Donal Wrynn were in action in Kells at the same time. Unfortunately for the Connacht men they had to settle for second on this occasion against the formidable Anthony McConnell & Jimmy Reilly from the Kells Club. Back in Crossakiel Steven Quinn & Mark Farrell were expected to do well against Evan Sheridan & Robert Fox. Sheridan just 15 years of age the previous day won the Junior Colleges All-Ireland singles final in front of the large home support in Kells. Son of the legendary Tom Sheridan the talented Kells teenager is quickly following in his famous father’s footsteps. Robert Fox & John McGovern made it a doubles for Kells in the Junior Doubles final. Sheridan’s display against Quinn & Farrell was very impressive. Along with Fox they shocked the Crossakiel duo winning by 31-27. Ciaran Neary & Peter Hughes defeated last year’s runners up in Christy McGovern & John “Boy” Molloy Kells on a score line of 31-21. Dan Riordan partnered local player Cyril Fitzsimons to beat John & Vinny Farrell. The 1st quarter final proved very close with Jamie Murray & Martin Raftery just holding on against Peter Reilly & Joe Cummins from Kells. Jimmy Reilly & Anthony McConnell beat Galway’s Pat Conway & Declan Connaughton 31-21. Evan Sheridan & Robert Fox outclassed Dan Riordan & Chris Fitzsimons in straight games. However their great run ended at the hands of Murray & Raftery at the semi-final stage. Ciaran Neary & Peter Hughes had a surprisingly comfortable win over Jimmy Reilly & Anthony McConnell in the second semi final. In the plate final Leitrim’s Eddie Lee & Donal Wrynn took on Kells men Peter Reilly & Joe Cummins. The Meath men took an 11-3 lead and were cruising at this stage. However 17 y.o. Donal Wrynn playing on the right and the left handed Eddie Lee fought back in accomplished fashion drawing level at 11 and again at 12. Leitrim then surged well clear to take game 1 by 21-12. The second game was thoroughly enjoyable with both teams level on 4 occasions at 12,13,16 & 18. Reilly this year’s Intermediate doubles runner up using all his experience got important winners to Lee’s left side with some rasping passing shots. Wrynn gave a wonderful display throughout. The Leitrim minor footballer displaying high octane levels as he covered every inch of the Crossakiel court. Despite this the Kells men took game 2 by 21-18. In the tie breaker Reilly & Cummins broke the Leitrim pair’s resolve when striding to a 21-5 win. Just before the McDermott Cup the final of the U17 doubles took place James Baugh & John McGovern were successful wining in 2 games over John Reilly & Ricky McDermott.

Neary & Hughes hold off a determined Leitrim fightback

In the final of the McDermott Cup Ciaran Neary & Peter Hughes faced Leitrim’s Jamie Murray & Martin Raftery who recently won the All-Ireland Junior B doubles title. Neary the natural left handed player was outstanding and with Hughes playing solidly on the right they tore Leitrim apart winning by 21-7 in the opening game. Murray & Raftery battled hardened from their successful doubles campaign threw down the gauntlet in the second and brought the fight to Neary & Hughes. Raftery the “ Ray Houghton” in stature played with spirited passion and Murray a man mountain on the right determined, mixing drive with a gutsy performance. The Leitrim lions roared back into contention no corner was given or asked as both teams worked hard. In a battling contest both teams were level at 8,13 & 15. Raftery played superbly on the left and on many occasions went over to help out the overworked Murray on the right. In an absorbing 2nd game Leitrim had the strength to hold off a dogged fight back from the Kilkenny/Wexford duo to win by 21-17. In the tie breaker Leitrim went into an 6-2 lead. Neary as cool as they come, from the famous Talbot’s Inch Club stamped his authority on the game when drawing the teams level at 10-10. He was deadly accurate close to the front wall time and time again rolled out winners in the left corner. Raftery was full of running and he expelled every ounce of energy to keep the Leitrim men in it. Murray was put under pressure with Hughes pinning him in the right corner with accurate winners on a number of occasions. Luck finally ran out on the Leitrim men with the inspired Neary and Hughes putting points on the board. There was nothing that Murray & Raftery could do to stop them. The tide turned in Neary’s & Hughes favour before pressing on to win a memorable final by 21-11.
The Presentations took place soon after and club chairman Steven Quinn thanked the support of the Committee and players & Kells Handball Club. Fergal McCabe was also thanked for the refreshments for the Juveniles. Fenian Reilly for his sponsorship and to Jacquie, Valerie & Lisa Quinn for providing the food and refreshments on the day. Neary’s & Hughes success in Crossakiel was a fitting end to an excellent year in the 60 x 30 courts.
McDermott Cup final: Ciaran Neary & Peter Hughes Kilkenny/Wexford) dft Jamie Murray & Martin Raftery (Leitrim) 21-7, 17-21, 21-11
Plate final: Peter Reilly & Joe Cummins (Meath) dft Eddie Lee & Donal Wrynn (Leitrim) 21-12, 19-21, 21-5

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