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Tyrone handballers continue to challenge for honours in ‘big court’

By tyronepro Tue 26th Aug

Tyrone handballers continue to challenge for honours in ‘big court’
Tyrone handballers continue to challenge for honours in ‘big court’

Tyrone players celebrated Ulster 60×30 Championship success at the weekend as the latter stages of the ‘big alley’ softball season kicks into gear. It was an all Tyrone final in the provincial 60×30 minor division as 40×20 All Ireland doubles champions, Johnny Woods (Breacach) and Ryan Mullan (Carrickmore), went face to face at Loughmacrory.
Woods, having already picked up the All Ireland Minor singles and Irish Nationals 17 & Under in the 40×20 court and the 19 & Under national crown in one wall is fancied by many to add the 60×30 crown to his honours in the coming month. However, Johnny was given a major test in the Ulster final on Monday night. Ryan Mullan delivered some fantastic corner kills and, following a series of terrific rallies, Mullan edged the opening game by 21-19. Woods took a grip on the second game and did lead by 9-2 and then 18-9 but a spirited fightback from Mullan saw him close the gap to 16-19 before Woods levelled the match at 1-1, with a 21-16 win. The third game was finely balanced throughout and the Carrickmore player was looking in poll position to cause an upset when he lead by 16-12 but Woods finished very strongly and went ion to claim the title with a 21-16 win in the third game. He will now meet Kilkenny’s JJ English in the All Ireland Minor singles semi final on Saturday 6th September. Woods and Mullan will also now team up in the all Ireland Minor doubles semi final, also against Kilkenny.
In the Intermediate Singles Championship final, Breacach’s Shane O’Neill served up a strong signal that he will be very hard to beat in this event. O’Neill, an All Ireland Junior Singles champion in 2011, took on Cavan’s James Brady in the provincial final at St. Macartan’s, Monaghan, and took control of the proceedings from an early stage. Having opened up a commanding lead in the op[ening game he went on to run out the title winner by 21-11, 21-9 and thus set up an All Ireland semi final showdown with Meath’s Gary McConnell. That duo met a fortnight ago in the Mens Open series with McConnell winning in a third game but O’Neill will go into the All Ireland race with a major chance of securing the prestigious honours.
Breacach’s Conor McElduff has enjoyed one of the best seasons by any Tyrone player for a while and he continues his charge for further major honours in the All Ireland Junior Championships in the big court. McElduff took on Cavan’s Cormac McMahon in Monaghan at the weekend in the Ulster Junior Singles decider and his strong centre-court presence, retrieving and power play deep in court were key facets in his impressive title win. The Breacach player maintained his winning streak as he claimed the honours on a 21-14, 21-11 scoreline to set up an All Ireland semi final date in two weeks time. Niall Kerr, in the Silver Masters Singles, and Tony McElduff, in the Silver Masters B Singles, will contest their provincial championship finals later this week.
Meanwhile, a number of doubles provincial deciders will go ahead this weekend with Tyrone again holding big claims for potential honours again. In the Intermediate Doubles championship, Shane O’Neill will go in search of a doubles in the grade when he teams up with Niall Kerr to face Cavan’s James Brady and Patrick Clerkin in Monaghan on Saturday. Kerr has been an All Ireland winner in this grade in the 40×20 and has contested the All Ireland Intermediate doubles final in the past so his experience and O’Neill’s continued fine form will see them go in with big ambitions of glory in this event in the weekend and month ahead.
On Friday evening (7pm) in Loughmacrory, there will be an all-Tyrone final in the Ulster Junior Doubles Championship. Carrickmore’s Ryan Daly and Darragh Daly recently captured the Irish Nationals Mens B doubles title and will be in a confident mood that they can potentially add ulster and All Ireland honours in the junior doubles grade in September. They face a major test though against the 2013 All Ireland Junior B Doubles champions, Conor McElduff and Pól Clarke. That duo have been in impressive form again this year and had a solid win over Donegal’s Mark Magowan and Mark Marley last weekend. Either way this will be a tough encounter at Loughmacrory on Friday evening. Tony McElduff and Conor Kerr will travel to Monaghan on Saturday to take on Cavan’s Brendan Gargan and Phil Reilly in the Silver Masters B Doubles final, following their semi final win over Kenny Curran and Finbarr Fullen. McElduff and Kerr will be hard to beat in that contest and it could be another good weekend for the Breacach club as Seamus McCrory and Spillane Martin team up in the Ulster Junior B Doubles Championship final at the same venue where they will take on Cavan’s Brian Reilly and Declan Smith.
The Ulster 60×30 Juvenile Championship action will take place over the weekend of 13th September with the Tyrone team to be finalised next weekend.
Ulster 60×30 Championship Finals
Friday August 29th, Loughmacrory, 7pm:
Junior Doubles Final: Darragh Daly/Ryan Daly v Conor McElduff/Pol Clarke
Saturday August 30th, St. McCartans Monaghan
EMBD: P O Feeley / J P Feeley V Dermot Dolan/Partner (Cavan) 1pm
Intermediate Doubles Final: Shane O Neill/Niall Kerr v James Brady/Patrick Clerkin (Cavan) 2pm
Silver Masters B Doubles Final: Brendan Gargan/Phil Reilly )Cavan) v Tony McElduff/Conor Kerr (Tyrone) 3pm
Sunday August 31st in St McCartans
Junior B Doubles Final: Brian Reilly/Declan Smith (Cavan) v Spillane Martin/Seamus McCrory (Tyrone) 5pm
Ryan Mullan Johnny Woods double winners

By tyronepro Tue 26th Aug

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