Withdrawals put a dampener on All Ireland Wall Ball Singles' Championships
A DISAPPOINTING aspect of the inaugural All-Ireland Wall Ball Singles' Championships, hosted by the Mount Talbot Club in Roscommon, was the number of withdrawals, for a variety of reasons, from the competitions.
Among those who had to pull-out was Beragh's Conor McElduff, who has been bothered with a knee complaint for quite some time. McElduff, the firm favourite to win the Men's Open title, has been troubled for some time with a knee problem and has had to curb his activity this season.
McElduff's Breacach colleague Sean Kerr was allowed to take the place in the semi-finals and reached the final with a three game tussle against Mayo's Niall Joyce, winning the shootout 11-9.
Munster winner Pádraig Quish (Limerick) got a walkover in the semis and proved just a little too strong for Kerr in the decider. Still, the Tyrone teenager can be very pleased with his showing, after a late call-up, as he fought his more experienced opponent all the way before losing 15-10, 15-11.
National champion Lorraine Havern, after an easy two games semi-final defeat of local Fiona Tully, opened her bid, in the final, for the double by defeating Catriona Casey 15-10 in the first game, but the Cork star warmed to the task second time on court to balance the scales and send the argument into extra time with at 15-6 win. Casey had waltzed past Leinster winner Niamh Dunne (Laois) at 1 and 5 in the semi-finals and then took the All-Ireland title with an impressive showing, defeating Havern 11-2.
There was success for Tyrone as Patrick McCrory had an easy day in the Men's B competition. After overcoming Galway's Seamus Conneely 15-3, 15-7, McCrory then disposed of Carlow man Kevin Barrett. The first clash was close before McCrory emerged a winner at 13 but he then upped his game to allow Barrett just one ace in the second clash.
The Men's C championship was also dominated by the Ulster winner, as Barry McCoy (Down) settled after losing the first game in thr final to Cathal McNamee (Offaly), 8-15. The Mourne man then showed his class levelling the battle at 2 and taking the honours at 1 in the rubber match.
Tyrone collected a second title when Niall Kerr, compensated for the defeat of Sean by collecting the Masters' award. He got a walkover in the semi-finals, after the injured Mike Dillon (Galway) scratched, and then defeated John Herlihy (Cork) 14-15, 15-13, 11-0 in the final.
Megan McCann made a brave effort to win the Girls' U17 championship but came up short in the play-off final, losing 11-4 to Leah Doyle (Kildare). Both girls had big wins in their semi-finals.