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Ulster players in strong contention for All-Ireland handball honours

18/11/2018 Clares Con Collins Picture Seamus Loughran

Nine All-Ireland Softball Championship titles will be decided at three venues in county Kilkenny this weekend.

And there's the possibility of a number of honours coming to Ulster as seven competitions involve Red Hand players in the semi-finals.

Among them is All-Ireland minor 40x20 champion Eoghan McGinnity from Monaghan, who goes for his second singles title of the season, as he faces Michael Clifford from Kilkenny Christian Brothers School, at Talbot's Inch. It is quite an exiting season for St MacCartan's student McGinnity who will debut in the FonaCAB Golden Gloves tournament next month.

St MacCartan's pupils are also seeking double success at Talbot's Inch as Tiernan O'Rourke and Aidan Cunningham will battle in the Boys' Intermediate Doubles semi-final against Joe Devereux and David Doyle, representing St Peter's College Wexford.

It has been a good season for handball at St MacCartan's as a third title could arrive at the Monaghan college over the weekend. At Clogh, Co Kilkenny, Justas Dambinskas and Niall McKenna will play in the Boys' Senior Doubles semi-finals against Castlecomer Community School pair Kyle Dunne and Billy O'Neill.

Also at Clogh, Tyrone players will fight for two crowns, starting with Cloda McNamee from Dean Maguirc College against Castlecomer student Amy Brennan in the Girls' Junior Singles semi-finals while Omagh CBS battler Jack Darcy plays Mark Doyle (Wexford CBS) in the Boys' Intermediate semis.

At Kilfane, Co Kilkenny, Ulster players will contest two competitions. Fiarca O Dhuill from St Paul's Armagh will play Kyle Jordan (Greenan College, Kilkenny) in the Boys' Junior Singles semi-finals with Gary McAleer and Thomas Duff (Dean Maguirc) also facing Greenan College opposition in David Holden and Simon O'Keeffe.

All semi-finals and finals will be completed today, Saturday.

Softball All-Ireland Championships

At Clogh, Kilkenny - GJS SF1: Amy Brennan (Castlecomer CS) v Cloda McNamee (Dean Maguirc, Tyrone); BIS SF1: Mark Doyle (Wexford CBS) v Jack Darcy (Omagh CBS); BSD SF1: Kyle Dunne/Billy O'Neill (Castlecomer CS, Kilk) v Justas Dambinskas/Niall McKenna (St. Macartan's, Monaghan);

At Kilfane, Kilkenny - BJS SF1: Kyle Jordan (Greenan College, Kilk.) v Fiarca O Dhuill (St Paul's, Armagh); BJD SF1: David Holden/Simon O'Keeffe (Greenan College, Kilk.) v Gary McAleer/Thomas Duff (Dean Maguirc, Tyrone);

At Talbot's Inch - BID SF1: Joe Devereux/David Doyle (St. Peter's College, Wex.) v Tiarnan O'Rourke/Aidan Cunningham (St. Macartan's, Monaghan); BSS SF1: Michael Clifford (Kilkenny CBS) v Eoghan McGinnity (St. Macartan's, Monaghan).

THIS year's Handball Allstar Awards function, the third annual of the revamped awards, will be held in Croke Park on November 30.

The outstanding achievements of the players and the fantastic work been done by the network of volunteers, in a number of categories, will be celebrated.

Nominations are open to the Handball public and once the finalists have been decided voting will be by online secret ballot with the winner being announced on the night.

The categories are: Club of the Year, Club Person of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Venue of the Year, Volunteer of the Year Award and Media Award.

For these awards Online Nominations are sought from Counties, Clubs and the General Handball Public with the closing date for nominations being October 30.

Once the final four nominees are announced voting will re-open for public votes up until the night of the Awards.

As always, there will be an inductee into the GAA Handball Hall of Fame as, once more, one of the greats of GAA Handball will be recognised.

This is decided on a rota basis with the 2020 recipient being nominated by Connacht.

On the night, guests will be treated to a three-course meal and entertainment. Ticket and other details will be announced later.

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