Handball Success for Laois
Ladies All-Ireland Handball Championship success for Laois
The All-Ireland 40×20 Handball Championship Finals were played last weekend in O’Loughlin’s, Kilkenny with Laois represented in the Ladies Junior Final by the Ciara Dowling (Monavea) and Niamh Dunne (Cullohill). The Laois girls showed impressive form in qualifying for the final, especially in their 21-6 21-9 defeat of Dublin’s Audrey McCormack and Sabrina Hughes in their Leinster Final encounter. Their opponents on the day were the talented pairing of Ella Donnellan and Natasha Coughlan of Clare. The match-up promised to be an exciting affair as little separate either pairing in terms of skill and commitment.
The opening game proved riveting viewing for those in attendance. The Laois girls gained the early initiative and deservingly built up a commanding lead. Despite dominating the opening exchanges, they failed to see out the game and allowed the Clare handballers stage an improbable comeback. Having trailed 20-12, the girls from Clare reeled off nine aces in a row to clinch the opening game 21-20.
Despite this setback, Ciara Dowling and Niamh Dunne showed great resilience and determination to bring the All-Ireland Final to a tie-breaker by winning the next game 21-14. The tie-breaker itself was to prove a thriller and a fantastic advertisement for the game of handball with all four girls giving everything in their pursuit of All-Ireland glory.
Remarkably, the Laois girls found themselves in a similar situation to last year’s All-Ireland Junior B Final with the scores tied at 19 apiece. Having come through a close encounter twelve months previously, Ciara and Niamh were to repeat the trick once more winning the crucial aces to take the All-Ireland Ladies Junior Doubles Title on a score-line of 20-21 21-14 21-19. This victory will see the girls move up to the intermediate ranks for next year where they will prove serious contenders for further championship success.