A First For Monaghan
History was made on Saturday, March 23rd 2019 in Kingscourt, County Cavan, when Eoghan McGinnity from the Monaghan Harps Handball Club became the first and only Monaghan player to win the All-Ireland Minor title.
Monaghan handballers will look back to the mid 1960’s to the Junior and Senior titles of the legendary Clones player, Seamus McCabe and to the more recent successes of Paudi McKenna, Terry Kiernan, Darren Doherty and Gavin Coyle. However no Monaghan player has ever won the Minor title. Until now.
Considering the extraordinary standard of today’s modern players, this victory is all the more remarkable and was the culmination of an exceptional past two years when Eoghan won practically every competition he entered. This included the U16 All-Ireland 40×20, The Colleges All-Ireland, the Irish Nationals All-Ireland, a place on Team Ireland for the 2018 Worlds and of course the World title itself in Minnesota in August.
A huge group of Monaghan players and supporters both past and present from the Bawn, Carrick, Corduff, Emyvale, St Mellan’s and Tydavnet clubs witnessed this historic moment. Of course it was a very proud moment for Eoghan’s club “the Harps” and especially a certain coach who first introduced him to “the lifelong game” at seven years of age.
Eoghan’s opponent, Mark Rodgers, from County Clare, deserves much praise for contributing to an exciting final where a tie-break was needed to produce a winner. Indeed Mark had his homework done as he played a slow lob serve from the outset. However Eoghan served right and left and, with the addition of a Z-serve, he quickly imposed his superiority in game one which he deservedly won 21-10.
Game two went to the Clare player who found his range with kill shots following a successful spell of lob serves to Eoghan’s left. He won this game 21-14 thus ensuring a nail-biting decider.
A joyful presentation by Handball President, Joe Masterson followed. A delighted Eoghan accepted the Minor Cup and of course the coveted All-Ireland medal.
Deivydas Kaklauskas lost out in the U-17 Singles final. His opponent, Dean O’Neill from Wexford, proved a worthy winner. The Harps player got off to slow start against the left- handed player and lost game 1 on the score of 21-8.
However the second game was much closer and Deivydas came within 2 points of forcing a tie-break. This was due mainly to a change of serve that forced errors from his opponent. Dean held on for a deserved win on the score of 21-19.
All-Ireland Minor Champion Eoghan McGinnity (Harps)