What a year for Laois Handball
What a year for Laois Handball
Laois Handball 2014
Following on from the success of last year, 2014 proved to be another fantastic year for Laois handball with a number of Leinster and All-Ireland titles returning to the county. This year also saw the opening of Cullohill’s brand new state-of-the-art handball facilities, the installation of a new glass backwall in Monavea and the continued growth of the newly established club in Ballacolla. These clubs worked tirelessly in 2014 promoting the game of handball and with the improvement in handball facilities within the county it is envisaged that our players will continue to develop and showcase their talents for many years to come.
40 x 20 Season
The 40 x 20 handball season began brightly for Laois handball with Joe Brennan reaching the Golden Masters B Leinster final and Eddie Dunne progressing to the Emerald Masters B Leinster final. However, there was no joy for either player with Joe narrowly defeated in a three game thriller against Andy Mulligan of Westmeath and Eddie Dunne losing out to Charlie Kelly of Louth.
In the Leinster Team of Four, Monavea reached both the Leinster Junior B and Leinster Junior Finals. The Monavea Junior B team of Joe Brennan, Eamon Brennan, Michael Donovan and Pauric Buggy were victorious in their final against Leixlip on a scoreline of 121 to 69 aces whereas the Monavea Junior team of Ray Fogarty, Andrew Dowling, Tómas Lennon and Peter Whelan lost out to Tinryland by 97 aces to 59. In the All-Ireland Junior B semi-final, the team produced a remarkable display to defeat St. Gall’s of Antrim 86-29. However, in the final against Broadford of Limerick they were unable to replicate their earlier performance going down 105 aces to 61.
In the 2nd Level Colleges Championships, Niamh Dunne tasted Leinster success when she defeated Kate Dagg of Kildare in the Leinster final. In the All-Ireland final she unfortunately lost out to the excellent Maeve McElduff of Tyrone.
The Martin Mealy Cup Final went the way of David Mulhall and Peter Whelan who defeated Tómas Lennon and Larry Brennan.
60 x 30 Season
Despite having no 60 x 30 facilities within the county, Laois had phenomenal success in this code in 2014.
Monavea were crowned All-Ireland Junior B Team of Four champions after overcoming Broadford of Limerick on a scoreline of 106 to 75 aces. In the semi-final, they recorded an emphatic 126-25 ace victory over St. Patrick’s of Cavan. The Leinster final was a closer affair with the team of Andrew Dowling, Ray Fogarty, Tómas Lennon, Michael Donovan and Peter Whelan prevailing against a strong Kells (Meath) team by a mere 3 aces.
In the Leinster 60×30 championships, Tómas Lennon lost out in the Junior B final to Miley Connors of Wexford. Tómas was to taste further disappointment when he and his playing partner Ray Fogarty were defeated in the Junior B doubles final by Miley Connors and Michael Goggins 11-21 21-10 21-2.
In the Ladies Junior B championships, Laois were to claim two historic All-Ireland titles thanks to the exploits of Niamh Dunne and Ciara Dowling. Niamh was to achieve a remarkable double when she defeated Janet Connaughton of Galway 21-5 21-17 in the All-Ireland Junior B singles final and then partnered Ciara Dowling to overcome Janet Connaughton and Karen Finnegan on a scoreline of 21-13 21-16 in the Ladies Junior B All-Ireland doubles final.
Another success for Laois handball.
In addition to this success, the girls were also victorious in the plate final at the 60×30 Nationals where they defeated Kate and Hannah Dagg of Kildare.
On May Bank Holiday Monday, the inaugural Laois Wall-Ball Championships were played in the newly established courts in Ballacolla. The prize for the overall winner on the day was the Mick Dunne Cup named after the former RTÉ sports presenter. This Cup commemorates the memory of a great Laois GAA man who was RTÉ’S first Gaelic games correspondent and someone who pioneered television coverage in the 1970s of GAA sports including handball.
The Final was to be a father and son affair with Michael Donovan (Monavea) defeating his father Paddy (Monavea) in a tense tie-breaker. The Division 2 title was won by Kevin Brennan (Ballacolla) with the Division 3 honours going to Seán Kelly (Monavea).
In the Leinster Wall-Ball Championships hosted by Ballacolla and Cullohill, Laois collected two titles with Paddy Donovan prevailing in the Men’s Masters and Niamh Dunne collecting the Ladies Wall-Ball title. Laois were to reach three further finals with Michael Donovan losing out in the Junior B final, Peter Whelan falling short in the Junior final and Eddie Dunne unable to replicate his daughter’s success going down in the Men’s B Masters final.
In the Leinster Wall-Ball Doubles Championships, Andrew Dowling and Peter Whelan were to finish runners-up to Noel Murphy and David Hope of Offaly.
2014 was another marvellous year at juvenile level for Laois with further provincial success to add to that of 2013.
In the Leinster Cumann na mBunscol finals, Josh and Jonah Kelly of Mayo N.S. played fantastic handball to win the U11 doubles section. They had a very successful outing at the National Cumann na mBunscol finals played in Cavan where they won four of their six games while representing Leinster.
In the Leinster 40×20 juvenile championships, Laois walked away with two Leinster titles. In the Boys U14 doubles final, Eoghan Doheny and Padraig Dunne recorded an impressive victory over Wexford while Molly O’Connor and Lauren McGuigan played superb handball to win the Girls U13 doubles. A third title narrowly escaped Laois when Tiernach Doheny and Conor Delaney were defeated in the Boys U12 doubles final after a tense tie-breaker against Wexford. Padraig Delaney was very unlucky in the Boys U15 final losing out to Ben Devlin of Louth.
Cullohill once again flew the flag for Laois handball at Féile na nGael finals, entering three teams. The girls’ team reached the Division 2 final where they were eventually defeated by a strong Loughmacrory team from Tyrone. The team comprised of Molly O’Connor, Maeve Bergin, Maeve McNeill, Lauren McGuigan and Eimear Fitzpatrick.
The Leinster Juvenile Wall-Ball Championships brought more success to the county with Molly O’Connor being crowned Girls U13 Leinster champion, Padraig Delaney Boys U15 Leinster champion and Maeve McNeill and Maeve Bergin teaming up to become Girls U14 doubles champions.
On Easter Monday, Laois held the biggest juvenile Wall-Ball tournament yet within the county with 55 children participating and almost 100 games of handball played on the day. These games were spread over three venues with Durrow, Cullohill and Ballacolla playing host to the action. For a number of the children taking part this was their first time being involved in a competitive handball tournament. The Boys Division 1 title was won by David Doheny who edged a close game against Pauric Delaney. In the Girls Division 1 Final, Avril Deegan prevailed against Eimear Dunphy.