Laois Handball News
Laois Handball News
Martin Mealy Cup Finals
The Martin Mealy Cup Finals were played on the June Bank Holiday Monday with some exciting handball played on the day. This is the most prestigious doubles competition in Laois handball and some of the best players in the county were in action as the sought to claim the highly coveted title.
In the Division Three final, Brian Brennan and Ivan Neale faced PJ Brennan and John Kealy and were firm favourites to take the title after some impressive performances in the group stages. The first game was to go according to form with Brian and Ivan dominating proceedings with an array of quality passing shots as their opponents failed to find their rhythm. Brian and Ivan eventually won out the opening game 21-3. The second game was a more competitive affair with PJ and John upping their game considerably to give their opponents a few nervous moments. However, despite their best efforts they were powerless to stop Brian and Ivan capturing the opening final of the day on a scoreline of 21-3 21-9.
The Division Two Final was expected to be a closely fought encounter where the experienced pairing of Larry and Kevin Brennan faced the equally talented partnership of Wesley Neale and Eamon Brennan. In the opening game it was Wesley and Eamon who were to play the superior handball taking control of the court and dictating proceedings. Eamon’s powerful serving and Wesley’s ability to kill the ball was proving the difference and they won the first game on a 21-9 scoreline. The second game was a thrilling affair with Larry and Kevin responding impressively to match their opponents ace for ace. With the scores tied at 19 aces apiece the game was firmly in the melting pot but it was Wesley and Eamon who showed the greater composure when it mattered the most to win out and take the Division Two title on a scoreline of 21-9 21-19.
After the excitement of the Division Two Final everyone was hopeful for more of the same in the Division One Final where the Martin Mealy Cup was on the line. Andrew Dowling and Tómas Lennon went into the final as slight favourites having defeated their opponents Peter Whelan and Michael Donovan comprehensively in the group stages of the competition. However, Michael Donovan went into the final brimming with confidence having captured both the Leinster Junior B singles and doubles titles in the lead up to the finals and Peter Whelan was hopeful of retaining the Cup he had won playing with David Mulhall the year previous.
Andrew and Tómas were to make a blistering start to the final with both players killing the ball with great aplomb allowing them to build up a sizeable lead. Despite the bad start, Peter and Michael responded brilliantly to claw their way back into the final and reduce the deficit to a solitary ace. However, Andrew and Tómas were to raise their game once again and by reeling off five consecutive aces they gained an insurmountable 18-12 advantage that they were not to relinquish. With the momentum now firmly behind them they finished the first game in style to take it on a 21-13 scoreline.
The second game proved an anti-climax with Peter and Michael totally outclassed as they failed to mount any sort of challenge. Andrew and Tómas were unrelenting and deservingly captured the Martin Mealy Cup after a largely one-sided final on a scoreline of 21-13 21-3. The two handballers will be hopeful that they can carry this good form into the summer when the 60×30 handball season kicks off in early June.