The legendary Paddy Walsh
Walsh’s wizardry to win handball title
Sligo’s greatest ever handball player Paddy Walsh is back in an All-Ireland final and it may prove to be his sweetest yet, writes Michael McGee
Legendary Sligo handball player Paddy Walsh contests the Over 70’s singles final in Tuamgraney on Saturday. His opponent is Cork’s Pat O’Brien. Walsh won’t have happy memories of his last visit to Tuamgraney to play O’Brien. It was the Cork man who defeated Walsh in the 40 x 20 singles final last April by 21-11, 21-11. Amazingly Walsh reached the 60 x 30 final without having to play a competitive game in the Championships.
Veteran Walsh won his first All-Ireland title back in 1974 and thirty nine years later he is aiming for his twenty ninth title in an amazing career. The St. Mary’s star is reportedly going well in practice games and is training in the Drumkeeran handball alley this week ahead of his trip to Clare. Walsh’s last All-Ireland win was 3 years ago when winning the Ruby Masters doubles with Mick Kelly. Walsh has also won 7 Senior County GAA titles with Collooney/Ballisodare in the 1970’s and 1 title with St. Mary’s. The septuagenarian is a hungry as ever to win another coveted All-Ireland title. The maestro with the heart of a lion his vast experience should be enough to earn him another historic handball title. It’s a long way from Clare to Sligo but the return journey for Walsh may turn out to be the shortest and the sweetest ever for Sligo’s herculean handball hero
Martin Donnelly sponsored All-Ireland 60 x 30 championships finals
Saturday 14th September in Tuamgraney, Clare at 4pm
Over 70 Singles: Sligo (Paddy Walsh) v Cork (Pat O’Brien)
Earlis, Harte & Fox’s cuteness to tame the cats
Sligo Juvenile players make the long journey to Kilfane in Co. Kilkenny for the All-Ireland Juvenile 60 x 30 championships semi-finals. Jason Earlis Boys U-17 singles & Stanley Harte & Patrick Fox are all up against Kilkenny opponents. Earlis from the Castleconnor club has made huge strides in handball in the last twelve months. In July the Sligo teenager helped the Castleconnor club to an historic first provincial Interclub handball title at Junior B level and followed this up two weeks ago when winning the Boys U-17 singles Connacht title. Earlis defeated Mayo’s Patrick Cummins in straight games in an impressive display. His opponent on Sunday J.J. English defeated Wexford’s Bryan Kehoe in the Leinster final. If Earlis can maintain his great form this year and keep mistakes down to the minimum he has every chance of advancing to the final.
For Patrick Fox & Stanley Harte both from the Collooney club have also arrived at the semi-final stage following an inspiring Connacht campaign at U-17 doubles. Fox & Harte accounted for Mayo’s Nathan Massey & Alan Kenny in the provincial final. The duo have the ability of progressing further but will have to be more clinical when opportunities arise. In the Connacht final they allowed their Mayo opponents back into it especially in the first game but managed to regain their composure to take the opening game. In the second Fox & Harte produced moments of magic before seeing out the game in fine style. In Kilkenny’s Darragh O’Shea & Mark Dowling there won’t be any second chances and Fox & Harte will have to keep their composure and perform to the standards the duo are well capable off. Sligo Juvenile players have been starved of success at Juvenile level for the past number of years but Jason Earlis, Patrick Fox & Stanley Harte are all talented handballers and have the skill and determination to reach the finals.
Sunday 15th September in Kilfane Co.Kilkenny at 11 a.m.
Boys U-17 singles: Jason Earlis (Sligo) v J. J. English (Kilkenny)
Boys U-17 Doubles: Stanley Harte & Patrick Fox (Sligo) v Darragh O’Shea & Mark Dowling (Kilkenny)
Jason Earlis Boys U-17 Singles
Patrick Fox & Stanley Harte Boys U-17 doubles