Laois Handball Scene
Laois Handball One-Wall Championships 2016
The Laois Juvenile One-Wall Championships were played recently with close to 100 players taking part across a number of grades. The competition proved exciting throughout with many fantastic games of handball enjoyed by those in attendance.
The Girls U11 Final was an all Cullohill affair with Caoimhe Doheny facing Eva Dunphy. Caoimhe claimed the victory with an excellent service game that helped her to build up an insurmountable lead. In the Boys U11 Final, Clough-Ballacolla provided both finalists with Kevin Hyland defeating Tommy Brennan 20-8 in a thrilling match which was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests.
The Girls U12 Final produced another thrilling game of handball with Lucy O’Connor eventually winning out by beating Emma Delaney 22-6. The Boys U12 Final had some fantastic rallies with both players playing at an exceptionally high level. In the end Rory Dunne won the crucial aces to edge his opponent Lorcan McGuigan 16-6.
Ruby McEvoy faced a strong opponent in Emily Duggan in the Girls U13 Final. It proved to be an absorbing game with Ruby overcoming Emily’s challenge on a 26-10 scoreline. The Boys U13 championship proved to be the most competitive grade on the day with a number of thrilling finishes between some very talented handballers. Jim O’Connor and Luke Dunphy eventually made it through to the final and it was Jim who gave the performance of the day to take the title on a scoreline of 26-3.
In the Boys U14 final, Cullohill’s Mikey Monahan faced Darragh Hogan of Clough-Ballacolla. This was a highly anticipated game as both players had been impressive in qualifying for the final. After a breath-taking encounter it was the Cullohill handballer who claimed the title 20-12. The Boys U15 Final pitted two of the most talented juvenile handballers in the county in opposition. Conor Delaney produced a fantastic display to beat his clubmate Tiarnach Doheny 21-3.
The last final played on the day was the Girls U17 Doubles Final. All four girls have contributed greatly to Laois’ success in Leinster competitions over the last couple of years and a final of high quality was anticipated. The final certainly lived up to expectation with excellent kill shots, passing shots and serving throughout. Emily McGuigan and Molly O’Connor eventually beat the younger pairing of Lauren McGuigan and Eimear Fitzpatrick 20-10 to take the title.
These finals once again showcased that Laois handball has a bright future and that the tremendous work being done at juvenile level is bearing fruit. Hopefully some of our exciting young handballers will go on and bring further provincial and All-Ireland success to the county in 2017.
Mick Dunne Cup 2016
The Mick Dunne Cup Finals were played last weekend in Ballacolla with action in two divisions. Division One proved highly competitive with Andrew Dowling, Pauric Buggy and Kevin Brennan all finishing level on points after the group stage round-robin games. With aces won the deciding factor in who progressed to the final, it was Kevin Brennan who found himself unluckily eliminated having only amassed 46 aces compared to Andrew Dowling’s 51 aces and Pauric Buggy’s 58 aces.
The final proved a nip and tuck affair with never more than one or two aces separating both players throughout. Despite an unbelievable effort by Dowling, it was his Monavea club mate Buggy who prevailed 16-14. This was a tremendous achievement by Buggy who adds the Mick Dunne Cup to the Kathleen Burke Cup he won earlier in the year. This success firmly establishes Buggy as the number one men’s player in the county for 2016.
The Division Two Final pitted Cullohill’s Eoghan Doheny against Clough-Ballacolla’s Willie Hyland. In the group stages it was Doheny who had prevailed on a scoreline of 22-7 but many expected the final to be a much closer encounter. This proved the case with Hyland keenly contesting every ace in the final. Despite the former Laois hurler’s best efforts, Doheny maintained his composure and showcased his huge potential with an array of impressive kill shots that ultimately proved the difference allowing him to take the Division Two title 21-12.