Laois Handball News
‘Off the Wall’: Laois Handball News
Leinster Wall-Ball Doubles Championship
The Leinster One-Wall doubles finals were staged in Ballacolla at the end of October with Laois having two entries in the competition. In the Men’s ‘A’ competition, David Hope and Noel Murphy of Offaly started the competition as strong favourites having captured the All-Ireland intermediate 60×30 doubles title the week before.
The Laois pairing of Andrew Dowling and Peter Whelan faced Martin and Fergal Lalor of Kilkenny in the semi-final. The first game was a nervy affair with both sets of players making a number of uncharacteristic errors. Gradually, Dowling and Whelan were to find their rhythm and finished the first game strongly taking it on a score line of 21-14. The second game was to follow a similar pattern to the first, with the Laois pairing edging the encounter 21-15 to progress to the final where they would face Offaly.
The final proved to be a close-fought affair with little separating the two sets of players. Hope and Murphy were to make the better start, building up a 12-8 lead. However, the Laois handballers were playing with huge determination and confidence and reduced the deficit with some excellent tactical play. Dowling and Whelan were then to take an 18-17 lead when Dowling found the bottom of the wall with an impressive kill shot. Unfortunately, despite having chances to add to their tally, the Laois pairing failed to register another ace allowing Hope and Murphy capture the first game 21-18.
Both pairings were to up their performance at the start of the second game. With the score tied at 8 aces apiece, the Offaly handballers then made the decisive move by forging 14-8 ahead with Hope hitting a number of excellent kill-shots. Dowling and Whelan tried to muster a response but they were powerless to prevent their opponents from taking the Leinster title on a 21-18 21-8 score line.
In the Men’s D competition, Kevin and Seamus Brennan were hoping that home-court advantage would stand to them when they faced Eamonn and James Purcell of Kilkenny. The Ballacolla handballers battled bravely put unfortunately lost out to their more experienced opponents 21-6 21-7. There was some consolation for the Laois players however when they recorded an impressive victory over Paddy and John Kelly of Louth in their remaining round-robin game.