St. Coman’s’ Carragh Kennedy is the new 60×30 Ladies Minor All-Ireland champion. She overcame the gallant challenge of Clare’s Leah Minogue in an excellent encounter in Carragh’s home court last Saturday.
These two met previously in an U-16 All-Ireland semi-final in Leah’s home court of Tuamgreaney with Carragh prevailing in a three-game thriller, so another tough match was expected – and it certainly lived up to expectations.
Carragh was a little sluggish at the start and went 0-8 down, but once she started volleying the Banner girl’s serve she started making inroads. Carragh also began to make more use of her excellent power and soon the scores were level at 9-9.
However, true to form, the athletic Minogue never let Carragh pull away and there was never more than two points in it for the remainder of the game. Thankfully Carragh pulled a game that could have gone either way out of the bag and nicked it 21-20.
Carragh started the second superbly and went 9-0 up, but a change of tactics from Minogue, where she served straight and low down the left, reaped instant dividends. Though Carragh was returning the serve the returns weren’t as effective as before and Minogue was able to take advantage and got back level at 11-11.
The next few minutes were evenly fought before Carragh’s constant power finally began to wear down the brave challenge of Minogue. Some superb volleying and round the wall shots punctuated with a few classy kills finished the game off 21-13 for a great win and a fitting reward for a player who has worked very hard on improving her skills and composure over the last few years.
Earlier on the same bill, Siobhan Treacy lost out in her bid to become 60×30 Ladies Junior ‘B’ champion when she was beaten by Wexford’s strong Cliodhna O’Connell. Siobhan’s preparation wasn’t as thorough as normal, but it certainly didn’t show in the first game as she went toe to toe with the powerful Slaneysider and showed her now famous coolness under pressure to come from behind and take a tight first game 21-19.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for Siobhan, as Cliodhna increased the tempo and power and even Siobhan’s excellent court coverage couldn’t deal with her opponent’s precise ball placement. O’Connell played with a lovely Wexford big alley style and the longer the game went on the more dominant she became. The Wexford girl won the second 21-7 and was a decisive 11-4 winner in the tie-breaker.
St. Coman’s’ Glen Walsh was the unlucky loser in the tightest match of the weekend when he was agonisingly beaten by Tipperary’s Paddy Delaney in the 60×30 Masters ‘B’ singles final.
Played in the famous old court in Crinkle, Co. Offaly this match was as close as it gets and on another day Glen could have emerged victorious. The two players were very well matched and right throughout there was never more than a few aces between them, but when the dust settled, the Tipp man emerged victorious, 21-19, 19-21, 11-6.
Lisacul’s Denis Creaton faced very strong opposition in his 60×30 Masters ‘A’ final in the shape of Offaly’s David Hope. Hope is a very fit, experienced player and his left-handed style gave Denis problems from the off. It must be said that Denis had chances to make it slightly closer but on the day nothing he tried seemed to come off. As is his nature, Denis kept trying to the bitter end, but Hope won quite comfortably, 21-2, 21-9.