Laois handball hits new heights
Laois Handballers advance in Leinster 60×30 Championships
The Leinster 60×30 handball championships began in early June with Laois represented by a number of players with realistic ambitions of capturing provincial titles.
Our two main hopes of Leinster success in the Men’s Junior B championships remain firmly in the hunt after Tómas Lennon and Michael Donovan recorded impressive opening round victories. Lennon proved far too strong for Stephen Smullen of Kildare winning their encounter on a score line of 21-4 21-3. Similarly, Michael Donovan played superb handball to overcome a dangerous opponent in Johnny Westlake of Wexford in two games. Lennon was to follow up his opening round victory by defeating John O’Neill of Kilkenny in a three game encounter. After narrowly losing the first game, Lennon dominated the next two games to progress to the quarter-finals where he now faces Padraig Roberts of Wexford. For Donovan, the talented Chris Doyle of Wicklow awaits him in the quarter-finals.
In the Men’s Junior B doubles, Laois remain on track for Leinster success thanks to the exploits of Tómas Lennon and Ray Fogarty. In their first round game they easily overcame the challenge of Cathal McNamee and Eoin Hickey of Offaly 21-5 21-4. The quarter-final encounter with Dan Breen and Anthony Martin of Kilkenny proved to be a much sterner test for the two Laois handballers. Thankfully from a Laois perspective, Lennon and Fogarty showed the greater resolve to progress after edging a tight third game tie-breaker. There was however disappointment for Andrew Dowling and Peter Whelan who lost out in their first round tie with Miley Connors and Michael Goggins of Wexford. After reaching last year’s Leinster 60×30 final, the two Laois players were hopeful of going one step further this year but disappointingly failed to perform losing out 21-10 21-13.
In the Ladies Junior B championships, Ciara Dowling began her quest for provincial success with a hard fought 21-12 21-18 victory over Kristy Maher of Kilkenny.
Feile na Gael
Last weekend’s Feile na Gael proved to be an exceptional weekend of handball with Cullohill flying the flag for Laois at this year’s competition. After the completion of all the group games, Cullohill’s girls’ team found themselves through to the Division Two final where they faced Loughmacrory of Tyrone. The team of Molly O’ Connor, Maeve Bergin, Maeve McNeill, Lauren McGuigan and Eimear Fitzpatrick performed heroically in the final but were unfortunately to lose out to their Tyrone counterparts on a scoreline of 40-21. Despite the loss, this was a fantastic achievement by the girls who did their club and county proud in reaching the final.