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Handball success for Laois at Leinster Level
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Handball success for Laois at Leinster Level

Leinster Junior C Title for Laois Handballers

The Men’s Junior C Leinster 40×20 Championships proved a thrilling competition this year with Laois heavily involved at the business end of these championships with the pairings of Eamon Brennan and Brian Brennan of St. Brigid’s, Monavea and Conor Walsh and Padraic Walsh of Cullohill both progressing to the semi-final stages. In the opening semi-final, Conor and Padraic Walsh faced a more experienced partnership in John Murphy and Jack Jones of Offaly. The Cullohill handballers were slow to find their rhythm and allowed the Offaly pairing to build up an insurmountable lead in the opening game. Having lost the opening game 21-08, the Laois pairing regrouped brilliantly in the second game and contributed to a thoroughly exciting and close fought second game. There was little to separate either pairing throughout but the extra experience of the Offaly handballers proved telling as they won the vital aces needed at the end of the second game to progress to the Leinster Final on a 21-08, 21-18 scoreline. Despite the loss, the level of performance produced by Conor and Padraic Walsh suggests that this pairing is on the right trajectory and will enter these championships in 2025 as one of the favourites to capture the title.    

In the second semi-final, Eamon Brennan and Brian Brennan also faced Offaly opposition in Darren Madden and Alan Guinan. This semi-final proved a competitive affair between two evenly matched pairings. The first game went the way of the St. Brigid, Monavea handballers on a 21-13 scoreline but in reality the game was a much closer affair than the scoreline suggested. The second game was equally as tight and competitive as the opening game with neither pairing able to gain a stranglehold on proceedings. The Laois handballers kept their nerve as the second game reached an exciting conclusion and to win the decisive aces needed to book their place in the Leinster Junior C Final on a 21-13, 21-19 scoreline. 

Leinster Junior C Champions with fathers and coaches Joe Brennan and Tom Brennan.

The Leinster Final was a brilliant advertisement for the game of handball between two competitive and skilled pairings. The Laois pairing made a fast start to the final, building up an early lead through a combination of good kill shots and strong serving. The Offaly handballers of Murphy and Jones showed glimpses of their potential in the opening game but they were unable to reel in the Laois pairing’s lead losing the opening game 21-9. The second game saw the Offaly handballers gain a greater foothold in the final and turn the tables on their opponents to take the second game 21-16 and set up a tie-breaker to determine who would win the 2024 Junior C Leinster Title. 

With the momentum firmly with the Offaly pairing going into the tie-breaker it required remarkable resilience from the Laois handballers to not let the title slip from their grasp. They produced some superb handball in the tie-breaker that enabled them to regain control of the final. Having built up a commanding lead and with the finishing line insight, they maintained their composure to see out the game and deservedly capture the Leinster Junior C title on a 21-9, 16-21, 11-02 scoreline.  This is a fantastic achievement by the St. Brigid’s, Monavea handballers who have steadily improved their game over the last year and this title is a well-earned reward for those efforts. 

Men’s Junior C Leinster 40×20 Final Result:

Laois (Eamon Brennan & Brian Brennan) defeated Offaly (John Murphy and Jack Jones) 21-9, 16-21, 11-2.

Men’s 2024 Junior C Leinster 40×20 Champions Brian Brennan and Eamon Brennan

Men’s Junior C Leinster 40×20 semi-finalists: Conor & Padraic Walsh (Laois) and John Murphy & Jack Jones (Offaly)