CLG Mhuineacháin - Official Monaghan GAA Website

Handball Weekly News

February 15th, 2012

GAA Handball All Ireland O’Neills Open Championships


All Ireland senior titles top Daly and Brady agenda

Kerry’s Maria Daly and Cavan’s Paul Brady will both lay their respective GAA Handball titles on the line in the coming weeks as the duo get ready to battle against Ireland’s elite players.


Ballymacelligott star, Daly captured both the 60×30 and 40×20 crowns in 2011 while Mullaghoran’s Brady is endeavouring to secure an unequalled eighth consecutive men’s honour.


Both senior brackets look certain to be hotly contested with the women’s game looking particularly competitive with genuine contenders coming from right across the country.


Possibly the greatest female player to have graced the 40×20 court, three time world champion, Antrim’s Fiona Shannon is many people’s favourite as is her fellow St. Paul’s club star, Aisling Reilly.


Daly’s double’s partner, Ashley Prendiville, Roscommon’s Marianna Rushe, Cork’s rising young starlet, Catriona Casey, Mayo’s Pauline Gallagher and Down’s Lorraine Havern are others who can reach the promised land.


The affable Daly who possesses two of the silkiest hands in the business was hampered in her preparations this time around due to injury but remains hopeful that she’ll be ready to do a repeat of twelve months ago. “My preparations are going ok at the minute. I started back training later this year due to injury so it’s taking a bit longer to get back up to speed. I hope I can improve in time for the championship and see how far I can get,” said Daly.


In early January, Daly collected the Munster title as she edged Casey in a thrilling three game victory 9-21, 21-12, 21-17. Casey has since controlled one of the strongest third level competitions representing UL in her first attempt which indicates the standards in the most southerly province at present. Daly believes that the standards are continually improving across the board.“The standard of ladies handball is very good at the minute and I think everyone wants to be playing their best and pushing themselves to improve all the time now. Also there are always younger girls coming up and they are improving so much every year.”


“I think Aisling Reilly and Fiona Shannon are the favourites as they are always so strong and are at such a high standard. Marianna Rushe is also very good and a difficult opponent.” Number one seed, Daly will meet the victor of Patricia Doyle (Wicklow) and Ciara Mahon (Kilkenny) who collide in Garyhill, Carlow this weekend. Number two ranked, Shannon, will meet either Amy Corrigan (Mayo) or Hilary Rushe (Roscommon) in round two.


The men’s field has been dominated by one man, Paul Brady for the past decade with the Cavan man scooping a spectacular eight wins in the last nine attempts. Since the turn of the century, only three men have revelled in All-Ireland 40×20 singles glory. Cork’s Tony Healy enjoyed four wins while Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy topped the charts in 2002. With both former champions absent from the draw, Brady remains the only former winner left in the series.


With twice runner up, Armagh’s Charlie Shanks in 2010 and 2011 currently residing in New York and competing successfully in the American circuit, there looks to be only one player who can end Brady’s rock-solid grip on the cup and that is Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy.


A very old and famous trophy has been recently installed as the new senior 40×20 trophy – The Gael Linn Cup. Great players and household handball names from the 1960’s and 70’s like Clare’s Pat Kirby, Louth’s Joey Maher and Wexford’s Dick Lyng have all raised it aloft. Its return to proceedings will also add further sparkle to the 2012 championship.


The eight time champion will meet the winner of Kilkenny’s Peter Funchion and Wexford’s Peter Hughes this weekend in the round of 32.

Second favourite to bag the only senior title which currently eludes him, Mullingar’s McCarthy will be hoping to add the 40×20 gong to his Irish Nationals and senior hardball and softball medals that he claimed in 2011.


The 23 year old became Ireland’s third ever player to win the USA Open of handball last October and just a few weeks back at the first ranking event of the 2012 calendar, he controlled an impressive field at the third annual John Gaffney memorial tournament.

Others to look out for in the draw are recently crowned Munster and Intervarsity’s champion, Limerick’s Seamus O’Carroll  and Cork’s rising young star and current USA 19 and under holder, Killian Carroll.


Cappagh’s O’Carroll meets Tipperary’s Ger Coonan in Cashel while Mallow’s Carroll has a tricky assignment when he travels to Moycullen, Galway to go head to head with Mayo’s Vinny Moran.


In the west, Ballaghaderreen’s Joe McCann has jumped into the third spot on the senior ladder and clashes with Tyrone’s Shane OʼNeill at St. Comanʼs, Roscommon.


Some of the more experienced senior campaigners in the draw including Meath’s Tom Sheridan will meet Fergal Collins (Tipperary), Cavan’s Michael Finnegan plays Niall Malone (Clare), Antrim’s Ricky McCann versus Rikki OʼGara (Roscommon), Mayo’s Dessie Keegan meets CJ Fitzpatrick (Limerick) and Wicklow’s Michael Gregan should prevail over Cavan’s Patrick Clerkin.


Both the ladies and men’s divisions will be whittled down to the last eight after the weekend’s encounters as the round one winners will challenge for quarter final slots on Sunday.



GAA Handball All Ireland O’Neills 40×20 Mens Open SS Championships


Round 1: Saturday 18th February, in Leixlip (Kildare):

3pm: M. Michael Gregan (Wicklow)  v Patrick Clerkin (Cavan)

4pm: A. Paul Brady (Cavan) v Peter Funchion (Kilkenny)

Round 2: Sunday 19th February, in Leixlip (Kildare):

2pm: Q. Winner Match A v Winner Match B

3pm: S. Winner Match E v Winner Match F


Round 1: Saturday 18th February, in Cashel, Tipperary:

2pm: B. Johnny Willoughby (Wicklow) v Brendan Fleming (Cork)

3pm: G. Seamus O’Carroll (Limerick) v Ger Coonan (Tipperary)

4pm: L. Nicholas Anthony (Kilkenny) v Dominick Lynch (Kerry)


Round 1: Saturday 18th February, in Moycullen, Galway:

2pm: LSS – Leona Doolin (Roscommon) v Aisling O’Keefe (Cork)

3pm: C. Killian Carroll (Cork) v Vinnie Moran (Mayo)


Round 1: Saturday 18th February, in St. Coman’s, Roscommon:

1pm: LSS – Amy Corrigan (Mayo) v Hilary Rushe (Roscommon)

2pm: D. Niall Malone (Clare) v Michael Finnegan (Cavan)

3pm: K. Diarmaid Nash (Clare) v Chris Doolin (Roscommon)

4pm: I. Joe McCann (Mayo) v Shane O’Neill (Tyrone)

Round 2: Sunday 19th February, in St. Coman’s, Roscommon:

2pm: R. Winner Match C v Winner Match D

3pm: X. Winner Match O v Winner Match P


Round 1: Saturday 18th February, in Ballymore Eustace, Kildare:

3pm: E. Gavin Buggy (Wexford) v Ian Griffin (Dublin)

4pm: P. Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath) v David Hope (Offaly) or Patrick Funchion (Kilkenny)


Round 1: Saturday 18th February, in Crinkle, Offaly:

2pm: N. CJ Fitzpatrick (Limerick) v Dessie Keegan (Mayo)

3pm: O. Stephen Cooney (Mayo) v Colm Jordan (Cork)

4pm: J. Tom Sheridan (Meath) v Fergal Collins (Tipperary)

Round 2: Sunday 19th February, in Crinkle, Offaly:

2pm: V. Winner Match K v Winner Match L Crinkle, Offaly

3pm: W. Winner Match M v Winner Match N Crinkle, Offaly


Round 1: Saturday 18th February, in Crinkle, Offaly:

3pm: F. Darragh Daly (Tyrone) v Brian Carroll (Meath) St. Mellan’s, Truagh

4pm: H. Rikki O’Gara (Roscommon)  v Ricky McCann (Antrim)


Round 2: Sunday 19th February, in Kingscourt, Cavan:

2pm: T. Winner Match G v Winner Match H

3pm: U. Winner Match I v Winner Match J


Round 1 LSS: Saturday 18th February, in Garryhill, Carlow:4pm: Patricia Doyle (Wicklow) v Ciara Mahon (Kilkenny)

3pm: Shauna Hilley (Wicklow) v Mary Phelan (Kilkenny)

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