Peter Chambers & Stanley Harte contesting the Golden Masters B doubles final on Saturday
Mick McMorrow & Hugh McGarry contesting the Connacht 60 x 30 Championships Emerald Masters A doubles final on Saturday
Cooney & McCann are Connacht Champions
Two Connacht handball titles won, five more in the shake up for Sligo players, writes Michael McGee
There was mixed results for Sligo handball players in Connacht singles finals last weekend. Peter Chambers was first into action against Mayo’s John Conroy. Chambers expected to do well but never got going against an inform Conroy. The Mayo man dominated right from the start and ran out a comfortable winner in the end in straight games. Castleconnor’s Mark Murphy put up strong resistance against the favourite Michael Ginley in the Masters B singles final. Murphy pushed Ginley all the way in game one but Ginley finished the stronger taking it by 21-15. Murphy could not keep up the momentum going into the second and Ginley over ran a tiring Murphy in the second winning out by 21-5. The consistent Francis McCann again had a big win this time over Mayo’s Kevin Macken in the Golden Masters A singles decider storming home by 21-5, 21-8 while Castleconnor’s Martin Cooney was given a fright against Mayo’s George Miller in the Silver Masters B singles. Cooney was given a stern test by the Charlestown club man before winning through by 21-20, 21-14
Results Connacht handball 60 x 30 Championships finals
Masters B singles: Mark Murphy lost to Michael Ginley 15-21, 5-21
Silver Master B singles: Martin Cooney dft George Miller 21-20-, 21-14
Golden Masters A singles: Francis McCann dft Kevin Macken (Mayo) 21-5, 21-8
Golden Masters B singles: Peter Chambers lost to John Conroy (Mayo) 7-21, 7-21
Sligo handball pairs in 5 more Connacht finals
There is a double header in Williamstown on Saturday involving Sligo doubles pairings with the Junior B & Golden Masters A doubles in action. Appearing in their first provincial final is the Collooney duo of Martin Brannigan & Simon Kavanagh. Both players impressed in the local Collooney 60 x 30 tournament back in May. The Sligo players scored an exciting 21-19, 21-5 win over Galway Joe Connell & John Walsh. Two of the County’s new stars will be eager to win Connacht championship medals at their first attempt.
Ballymote’s Francis McCann & Martin Golden will be out to put matters straight in the 60 x 30 Connacht final as back in February the Sligo men lost in straight games to the Roscommon men in the 40 x 20 final. The Sligo men received a bye to the final while Walsh & Doolin had a good 21-4, 21-10 win over Mayo’s Martin Vahey & Kevin Macken in their semi-final clash. Golden & McCann will be hoping it will be Connacht title number eight together.
St. Coman’s in Roscommon town will be venue for 3 more exciting ties on Saturday involving Sligo doubles pairings in Connacht finals. First into action will be the Golden Masters B doubles of Peter Chambers & Stanley Harte Snr. Chambers & Harte had a thrilling victory over Galway’s Willie Corcoran & Pierce Lalor in their Golden Masters B doubles semi-final. Both players displayed commendable battling qualities to stay in contention for the Connacht championship doubles title. Trailing 14-2 to Galway in the tie breaker final game the Sligo men staged a remarkable recovery from the jaws of defeat to win an incredible contest by 20-21, 21-9, 21-15. Chambers will be disappointed following last week’s singles loss to Conroy and it could prove the perfect riposte for Chambers to make amends in the doubles. The Sligo men are meeting their final opponents in the repeat of last year’s Connacht final. That match went to 3 games before Conroy & Cummins edged it. Chambers & Harte reached the All-Ireland semi-finals 3 years ago and if they can repeat their semi- final heroics anything is possible.
Hugh McGarry has been starved of success having won the All-Ireland Masters B doubles title with Connell Cannon back in 1995 while Mick McMorrow won the Emerald Masters B doubles title with John McLoughlin 2 years ago. The Sligo men face the formidable Kevin Geraghty & Pat Hokins. The Mayo men will start as red hot favourites but the Sligo duo if they can build up momentum could shock Geraghty & Hopkins. McGarry & McMorrow reached this year’s All-Ireland 40 x 20 Emerald Masters B doubles All-Ireland semi-final and can count themselves a shade unlucky not to have reached the final. The Sligo men will need to step up their game considerably if they want to send the reigning Connacht champions packing in the Provincial decider.
In the final game on the St. Coman’s programme see’s the Silver Masters B pairing of Tom Foody & Martin Cooney in action against Mayo’s George Miller & Kevin Cox. Cooney got a real test in the singles final against Miller last weekend but the Sligo pairing looked to be the more balanced and threatening of the two pairs. Cooney is aiming for his 4th Connacht title of the year. Both Cooney & Foody starred in the Castleconnor club’s Connacht Interclub triumph and who were narrowly beaten by the Kells club (Kilkenny)the eventual champions at the semi-finals stage in Crossakiel Co. Meath 3 weeks ago. Cooney & Miller will yet again be the chief protagonist but Foody could turn out to be the real match winner. Foody is a very dependable player under pressure and it is this that should swing the contest in Sligo’s favour.
Connacht Championships 60 x 30 finals:
Saturday 3rd August in Williamstown at 6 pm.
Junior B doubles: Martin Brannigan & Simon Kavanagh (Sligo) v Liam O’ Ceallagh & Joe Fallon (Roscommon)
Golden Masters A doubles: Francis McCann & Martin Golden (Sligo) v Ger Walsh & Dermot Doolin (Roscommon)
Saturday 3rd August in St. Coman’s Roscommon at 5 p.m.
Golden Masters B doubles: Stanley Harte & Peter Chambers (Sligo) v John Conroy & Joe Cummins (Mayo)
Emerald Masters A doubles: Hugh McGarry & Michael McMorrow (Sligo) v Kevin Geraghty & Pat Hopkins (Mayo)Silver Masters B doubles: Martin Cooney & Tom Foody (Sligo) v George Miller & Kevin Cox (Mayo)