Sunday, July 21, 2013

Great weekend in Sligo handball - Chambers & Harte magnificent comeback to reach Connacht final

Electric performance from Peter Chambers & Stanley Harte to qualify for this years Connacht 60 x 30 Golden Masters B doubles final (read report below)

Chambers & McCann into Connacht handball finals

Sligo players survive the  heat to reach provincial deciders writes Michael McGee

With high temperatures soaring over the weekend on the playing fields.  There was also sweltering conditions facing Sligo handball players in the Connacht handball championships semi-finals. In Collooney on Friday evening Emmett Brannigan from the host club put up a brave bid to reach the Junior C singles final but was narrowly beaten by Galway’s Colin Mitchell. Brannigan making his debut in the championships can be happy with his first outing in the Sligo colours.

In the following match seasoned campaigner Peter Chambers had a hard fought win over Roscommon’s James Kilboy. In soaring heat in the Collooney court Chambers showed the greater resolve and was rewarded with a place in this year’s Connacht final.  On Saturday evening one of Sligo’s all time greats Francis McCann had home advantage against Leitrim’s Eddie Lee. There is never much between these players when they meet but McCann made light work of the Leitrim man’s challenge racing home with an 21-8, 21-9 victory. In Collooney on Sunday Hugh McGarry’s big challenge to Galway’s John Ward just fell short. Ward took the opening game by 21-9 but McGarry made the Galwegin fight all the way in the second. Ward was relieved to get out of Collooney with a narrow 21-19 win in game two.

Sensational comeback by Harte & Chambers 

 It proved an excellent weekend for Peter Chambers as on Sunday in Williamstown in the Golden Masters B doubles semi-final with partner Stanley Harte snr. The duo had to pull out all the stops to reach the final in an immense battle.  Chambers & Harte were leading 12-2 in the opening game against Galway’s Willie Corcoran & Pierce Lalor but somehow contrived to hand the opening game to the Galway men. In the second Chamber & Harte played the more composed handball totally nullifying the threat from the Galway men taking game two by 21-9.  In the tie breaker it looked all over for the Sligo men with Galway seemingly destined to qualify for the final forging well clear by 14-2. Somehow and from somewhere the Sligo men threw everything at it to get back into the championship and slowly they turned things around with a stunning comeback.  Harte was sensational in the last game with sublime finishing and with Chambers full of running and great support play the Sligo men roared back into contention. The Galway men looked shell shocked as Sligo rallied strongly.  Chambers & Harte comeback was simply inspirational. The Sligo men worked their magic were now infused. With their greater intensity they allowed the Galway men just one further score as the heroics of Harte & Chambers attitude of never giving up when all seemed lost proved the catalyst for an extraordinary victory in the end by 21-15. In the Junior C doubles semi-final there was another great win for the Sligo pairing of Martin Brannigan & Simon Kavanagh. Brannigan & Kavanagh fantastic, composed handball was enough to record an excellent 21-19, 21-5 win over Galway’s Joe O’Connell & John Walsh in the Junior C doubles.
Connacht handball 60 x 30 championships semi-finals
Golden Masters A Singles:  Francis McCann (Sligo)  dft  Eddie Lee (Leitrim) 21-8, 21-9.
Golden Masters B  singles:  Peter Chambers (Sligo)  dft James Kilboy (Roscommon) 21-12, 21-17
Junior C singles: Emmett Brannigan (Sligo)  lost to Colin Mitchell (Galway) 12-21, 14-21
Emerald Masters A singles:  Hugh McGarry (Sligo)   lost to John Ward (Galway) 9-21, 19-21
Golden Masters B doubles: Peter Chambers & Stanley Harte Snr (Sligo) dft Willie Corcoran & Pierce Lalor (Galway) 20-21, 21-9, 21-15.
Junior C singles: Martin Brannigan & Simon Kavanagh (Sligo)  dft Joe O’Connell & John Walsh (Galway) 21-19, 21-5

Sligo handball players aiming for Connacht Gold

Sligo players are involved in 5 provincial handball singles finals next weekend. Castleconnor’s Mark Murphy has a tough challenge ahead of him as he takes on the favourite Michael Ginley, representing Mayo from the nearby Bofield Club in the Masters B final. Ginley had a narrow win over Roscommon’s Seamus Connolly in the semi-final while Murphy received a bye into the final. Murphy will be pleased with his performances to date. Murphy a member of the Castleconnor team that won the recent Connacht Interclub 60 x 30 championships for the first time and were narrowly beaten by the Kells Club in the All-Ireland semi-final. Murphy will yet again have to produce the goods if he is to defeat the Mayo man.
 Murphy’s team mate Martin Cooney meets his old adversary in George Miller from the Charlestown Club in the Silver Masters B singles final. Whenever these two players meet there is little to separate them. In last year’s championships Cooney had a good win over Miller on the way to the All-Ireland final. Cooney will be hoping to win through in Connacht and reach the All-Ireland final for the second year in a row. Cooney’s displays have improved on last year and he should come through the Miller test and qualify for the All-Ireland series again.

Ballymote’s Francis McCann had a strong showing against Leitrim’s Eddie Lee in the Golden Masters A single semi-final last weekend and should also account for Mayo’s Kevin Mackin.  McCann like Cooney will be hoping to come through in Connacht and again challenge for All-Ireland honours this year. McCann last All-Ireland title win was 2 years ago and he will be eager to claim All-Ireland handball title number 18 in 2013.

Peter Chambers has the ability on turning on the style against more formidable opponents. Chambers is knocking on the door for the past number of seasons and if he can get the lucky break against Mayo’s John Conroy that he strives for, he can become Connacht champion after many years of perseverance. Coming into form at the right time the St. Mary’s clubman will be in buoyant mood following last weekend’s double success. Chambers the Newport native is determined to win the Golden Masters B Connacht title in his adopted County in the Sligo colours
Legendary Sligo player Paddy Walsh needs no introduction when it comes to handball. The St. Mary’s Club man is striving for an unprecedented 29th All-Ireland handball title. Walsh is up against Mayo’s John Kenny in the Connacht final in the Over 70’s category and is as hungry as ever for more success. Walsh who won his first All-Ireland title back in 1974 is aiming for another coveted Connacht title in an illustrious career

Connacht finals fixtures - 
Saturday July 27th in St. Comans at 5 p.m.
Golden Masters B singles:  Peter Chambers (Sligo) v John Conry (Mayo)

Sunday July 28th in St. Coman's at 3 p.m.
Golden Masters A singles: Francis McCann (Sligo) v Kevin Mackin (Mayo)

Sunday 28th July in Ballymoe at 3 p.m.
Silver Masters B singles:  Martin Cooney (Sligo) v George  Miller (Mayo)
Masters B singles:  Mark Murphy (Sligo) v  Michael Ginley (Mayo)

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