Kells claim another All-Ireland handball crown
The men from Kells in Co Meath are putting the All-Ireland 60x30 Senior Club Championship in danger as they have dominated the competition for almost a decade, as they have won the competition for the seventh season in a row and the 12th time in all.
At Crinkle, Co Offaly, the Kells team defeated a brave Hospital quad from Co Limerick but it was close as the contest went to a shootout.
Possibly, that will give other clubs hope that the Kells' reign may be coming to an end.
The scores were level at 74 aces each after the first three matches before the 2017 Softball Doubles winners Brian Carroll and Tom Sheridan partnership convincingly won the tiebreaker 15-1 to secure the title, at 89-75, for the 12fh time in total, for the Meath club.
In the first singles match, Brian Carroll played Paudi Quish over two games. Carroll took the first 15-11 but Quish took the second 15-12 for Kells to lead by one ace going into the doubles.
In that doubles clash veteran and multi-winner Tom Sheridan and Robert Fox defeated the Hospital pair JP O'Connor and Kerry Hennessy over two games on a score of 15-7, 15-12 to extend the Kells lead to 57-45.
Michael Sheridan (Kells) played Mike O'Toole (Hospital) in the closing singles battle with the title on the line and it turned out to be quite a contest. O'Toole put in a super performance in his efforts to take the crown from Kells.
He won the first match 15-2 to launch Hospital into a slender 60-59 lead going into the last clash of the regular contest..
The final singles game turned out to be a nail-biting affair with neither player able to take control. O'Toole was in the lead and only needed one more point to win the title but the experienced Michael Sheridan finished strongly to snatch the final few important points and take the game 15-14, levelling the final at 74 each.
That set up a Doubles tie-breaker with Brian Carroll and Tom Sheridan facing Paudi Quish and JP O'Connor.
The excitement of before didn't really materialise in the shootout, however, as the Kells pair proved too strong and won 15-1 to take the title back to the Royal County 89-75. A somewhat disappointing finale after the high octane action that had gone before.
The Junior title was won by Broadford, for a second year in a row, giving Limerick fans some consolation, as the holders overcame Kilfane (Kilkenny) 88-65 after a tight match.
In the Junior B competition, Tinryland (Carlow) defeated Kingscourt (Cavan) in the semi-final, while Williamstown (Galway) received a bye into the decider. In the final the Carlow team overcame the Galwegians on a 62-20 ticket.
All-Ireland GAA Handball Club Finals
At Crinkle, Co Offaly - Senior Semi-finals: Hospital (Limerick) w.o Williamstown (Galway) scr; Kells (Meath) Bye.
Final: Kells (Meath) dft Hospital (Limerick) 89-75.
At Mullingar – Junior Semi-finals: Broadford (Limerick) w.o Fenagh (Leitrim) scr; Kilfane (Kilkenny) Bye.
Final: Broadford (Limerick) dft Kilfane (Kilkenny) 88-65.
At Clogh, Kilkenny – Junior B Semi-finals: Williamstown (Galway) w.o Friary/Abbeyside (Waterford) scr; Tinryland Carlow) dft Kingscourt (Cavan).
Final: Tinryland Carlow) dft Williamstown (Galway) 62-20.