Saturday, 21 February 2015

Bruen & Walsh to reach finals

Paddy Walsh Over 70's  & Shane Bruen Masters B singles in All-Ireland semi-finals

Collooney club players Shane Bruen & Paddy Walsh have home advantage for their All-Ireland handball  40 x 20 singles semi-finals, writes Michael McGee

Over 70 Singles: Paddy Walsh (Sligo) v Pat O’Brien (Cork)

The legendary Paddy Walsh is first into action when he takes on Cork’s Pat O’Brien for a place in this year’s final.  Walsh, who had a stunning victory over Galway’s Peter Mulryan in the Connacht final will go in as slight favourite.  Walsh had to battle through a painful shoulder injury to reach the last four.  Having won the first game the Galwegian came back strongly to take the second. Walsh’s greater reserves of energy and his relentless workrate blitzed Mulryan in the deciding third game.

Walsh, the Sligo handball wizard will have another battle royal in hand as faces the Munster champion. The last time these two players met was in the 2013 All-Ireland 60 x 30 finals with the Sligo man coming out on top by 21-6, 21-13. Walsh is Sligo’s most decorated player of all time is the holder of an astonishing 30 All-Ireland titles. He won his 1st All-Ireland title in 1974 and won doubles titles with Mick Kelly & Padraig Maye. Walsh has the heart of a lion and with the Collooney faithful roaring, willing him home he should pounce and reach another decider for Sligo's greatest ever handball statesman

Masters B singles
Shane Bruen (Sligo) v Tom Kirby (Clare)

Years ago the Kirby name would strike fear into hearts of handballers throughout Ireland with the legendary brothers Dan, John & Pat Kirby All-Ireland and World champions.

Shane Bruen is from another era and is unfazed by the Clare's man famous historic pedigree.
Bruen was victorious in last year's All-Ireland Masters B 60 x 30 singles and doubles titles and is aiming for more success in the 40 x 20 court 2015. In the Connacht final Bruen defeated his great rival Mayo's Michael Ginely 21-8, 21-14 while Kirby defeated Tipperary's David Tobin 21-18, 21-8 in the Munster final. Bruen is already having a great season as last weekend on the provincial doubles crown to that of the singles he won two weeks ago.

The Collooney man is out to stamp his authority on the match and has set his sights firmly on reaching this years decider. His great work rate is one of his hallmarks and it will be needed against Kirby

With Sligo's fervent supporters firmly behind Bruen it should be enough to propel him to victory.

All-Ireland 40 x 20 championships semi-finals
Saturday 28th February in Collooney at 3 p.m.
Over 70 Singles: Paddy Walsh (Sligo) v Pat O’Brien (Cork)
Masters B Singles: Shane Bruen (Sligo) v Tom Kirby (Cork)

In last weekend’s Connacht handball 40 x 20 championships doubles finals only the Masters A doubles pairing of Shane Bruen & Martin Cooney were successful. The duo had a titanic struggle with Mayo’s Jason Judge & Pat Foy. The Sligo men just edging it 21-20, 21-18 in a fantastic doubles final. Sligo other pairings Michael Bruen & Gerry Coleman Junior C and  Mick McMorrow & Michael Murphy Emerald Masters B doubles were beaten at the Provinical final stage.

Results Connacht handball 40  x 20 championships finals 

Junior C doubles:  Gerry Coleman & Michael Bruen (Sligo)  lost to  11-21, 18-21 Michael O’ Rianne & Chris Connaughton (Galway)
Emerald Masters B  doubles: Michael McMorrow & Michael Murphy (Sligo) lost to Frank Macken & John O’Malley (Mayo) 4-212, 5-21

Masters B doubles:  Shane Bruen & Martin Cooney (Sligo) dft Jason Judge & Pat Foy (Mayo) 21-20, 21-18

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