Lisacul’s Denis Creaton claimed hardball glory at the All-Ireland Masters Series, played at the new state-of-the-art courts in Croke Park on Saturday last.
Hardball is played on a 60×30 court with a small, resilient ball crafted from cork and leather, which has a stark white hue. The balls were once handcrafted by Vincent Brennan in Ballaghaderreen, a process which took hours of labour.
Such is the ferocity of the game that players are obliged to pad their hands as the ball is said to travel at speeds exceeding 100mph.
In a captivating display of sportsmanship, Denis met fellow Lisacul man Sean Jennings in the opening round with the former coming out on top on a 25-6 scoreline.
Sean then went on to face Mick Dowling of Kildare and Michael O’Toole of Limerick, losing both, 25-11 and 25-5 respectively.
Denis’ journey continued, however, as he defeated the aforementioned Dowling on a score of 25-18 before tasting defeat to O’Toole, 25-15.
The tournament reached its climax on Sunday when Creaton met O’Toole in a rematch for the title. It looked ominous after the first with O’Toole coming out on top 21-19 but Denis hit back in style, winning the second 21-9.
The tiebreaker saw Denis storm to an 11-4 win, clinching a remarkable All-Ireland victory. Denis Creaton’s remarkable journey through the All-Ireland Hardball Masters Series stands as a testament to his indomitable spirit and unwavering dedication to this ancient Irish sport.
Recently, Denis and Sean paired up in the All-Ireland Doubles, but lost out in the final to a Dublin pairing in two straight games.