All Guns Blazing in Tydavnet as Eoghan McGinnity Shines Through
More than 100 spectators attended the Scotstown venue last Friday to witness a thrilling Senior Singles Final between the holder, Bawn’s Gavin Coyle and the Harps player, Eoghan McGinnity, who was playing in his first-ever Senior final. Many others watched live coverage on the Internet. Nobody was disappointed.
The spectators witnessed an incredible exhibition of handball with numerous spin serves, unbelievable retrievals, spectacular kill shots and numerous long rallies. After two hours of nail-biting handball a new champion emerged. Eoghan McGinnity, at 17 years of age, is the youngest Senior champion following in the footsteps of previous great champions James Woods, Anthony Cadden, Cathal Higgins, Michael McCarron, Raymond Leonard, Darren Doherty, Terry Kiernan and Gavin Coyle among others. Eoghan is in fact the first and only Harps players to win the Senior title.
Having led from the beginning with amazing spin serves and flat roll kill shots, Eoghan was pegged back to 16-16 in game one, Gavin then produced what everyone expected from a true champion. Two unreturnable serves down to his opponent’s left put him into the lead for the first time and he proceeded to serve out the game winning 21-16.
Was this the turning point in the match? Would the young pretender collapse from the weight of expectation on his young shoulders? Certainly not. Eoghan, in game two, played as he began in game one. This time he took an early lead and stayed in the ascendancy, winning by 21-12 and setting up an intriguing tie-break to 21 points.
The referee, Paul Cassidy, had an excellent game and is to be congratulated on his calm attitude during a tense decider during which Gavin sustained a thigh injury in one of the many long rallies. An injury time-out ensued and was to have a bearing on the eventual outcome. With his All-Ireland Intermediate Semi-Final approaching, it was an injury that nobody wanted.
The Bawn player changed his serve upon resumption and still proved that he would not relinquish his title so easily. Eoghan stuck to his game plan, mixing his spin serves with a 3-wall Z serve. This proved crucial and he duly finished off many rallies with spectacular kills. He was now in an unassailable position and went on to win the decider by 21-11.
An incredible performance from both players and a worthy and much-anticipated County final. The Senior County cup is now firmly in the hands of Monaghan Harps Handball club for the first time in its history. ( Above report by M McEntee)
No rest for the 3 Harps players who must travel to Roscommon and Mayo this weekend to compete against the Connaught champions. Eoghan plays Lorcon Conlon in Bofield. Tiarnán plays in Abbeyknockmoy and has a very strong opponent Mikey Kelly. Deivydas plays Liam Egan in Roscommon.
Calum, Niamh and Ernesta enjoyed the experience of playing the other provincial winners in the National Cumann na mBunscol gathering last Saturday. They were left in no doubt as to the incredibly high standard of youth handball in Ireland.