|World Doubles teams decided|
|Written by Chris Curran, CEO|
|Sunday, 29 April 2012 20:18|
The Mens and Ladies Open Doubles trials to represent Ireland at the 2012 World Handball Championships reached a climax in Kingscourt, Cavan, on Sunday with the semi finals and finals of both events providing a usual high standard of play.
The Ladies Open doubles semi finals got proceedings underway with the number one and two seeds both emerging in the end with convincing victories. Reigning World and All Ireland senior doubles champions, Fiona Shannon and Sibeal Gallagher (Antrim), faced the Roscommon and Kildare combination of Marianna Rushe and Anna Spence in the opening contest on the card. That duo's authority around centre court proved decisive too as they controlled much of the game from that area with very precise pass and killshots. In the end they ran out winners by 21-6, 21-8 to set up a semi final showdown with Kerry's Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville. That duo, who had lost out in this year's All Ireland senior doubles decider, while going for three in a row in that series, were also impressive semi final winners against Cork's Catriona Casey and Aisling O'Keefe. Those combinations enjoyed some epic battles in the past couple of seasons in Munster but on this occasion, the Ballymcelligot pairing held all the aces and powered their ways through to the final by 21-6, 21-13.
The Mens Open Doubles trials started out with twelve contenders and came down to four teams on Sunday morning. First up were All Ireland Senior Doubles champions, Cavan's Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan, and that pairing immediately tore into the Tyrone partnership of Padraig McGlinchey and Darragh Daly. Brady's power serving, low merciless drives down both sidewalls and his excellent corner kills had McGlinchey and Daly in trouble early ion and Finnegan also delivered with a series of fine serves and corner kills. The home team ran out convincing winners by 21-3, 21-6 to secure another final place and retain their three year unbeaten run.
In the other half of the draw, the second semi final came down to a straight test between the Westmeath and Meath combination of Robbie McCarthy and Brian Carroll and the Armagh and Tyrone partnership of Charly Shanks and Ciaran Curran. The opening game proved to be finely balanced in the early part before McCarthy produced some brilliant serve and kills to see them power ahead by 13-5. Shanks and Curran battled hard to close the gap and they did cut the deficit to just one point when they served at 13-14. However, Carroll's speed around front-court and McCarthy's silky smooth finishing were decisive elements of this game and they ran out winners by 21-14 and went on to book their final ticket with a 21-9 win in the second.
The Ladies Open Doubles Trials Final was always expected to be another riveting battle between two partnerships who have enjoyed phenomenal battles over the past few years. They had seen an incredible struggle develop in the All Ireland final three weeks ago, which Shannon and Gallagher had won, but in the opening game of their latest meeting, Daly and Prendiville were in superb form. Both players were all out on the offensive from an early stage and served up some fantastic killshots which had the world champions in trouble. The Kerry girls opened up a 15-6 lead and, despite a valiant rally from Antrim, they ran out winners by 21-13 in that opening game. The match then saw a dramatic turnaround however as Shannon and Galagher siezed control of proceedings to run out winners in the second by 21-7. The Kerry girls did regain their composure to lead 4-0 in the tie-break but with Shannon hunting every ball and Gallagher showing excellent finishing quality around the front they stormed ahead to win 11-5.
The Mens Open doubles trial final proved to be an absorbing contest with Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan looking in fluent and unstoppable form early on as they powered to a 21-8 victory. It looked very good for the Cavan pair too when they opened up a 5-0 advantage in the second but all changed from there. They shot ahead by 17-8 and despite another rally from the Cavan men to make it 15-18, McCarthy and Carroll hit the decisive aces to win 21-15. The tie-break was equally compelling and the large crowd were engrossed when they stood level at 8-8. McCarthy and Carroll then went 10-8 ahead before Finnegan and Brady regained serve but they added just a solitary ace to make it 10-9. McCarthy then delivered a fantastic winning kill to end an enthralling contest and secure the Open Doubles spot on the Official Irish Team for the Worlds 2012.
Full details of the Irish Team and launch for the 2012 World Handball Championships will follow...
Team Ireland World Open Handball Doubles trials
Sunday 29th April, in Kingscourt, Cavan:
11am: Ladies Open Doubles Trials Semi Finals: Fiona Shannon and Sibeal Gallagher (Antrim) dft Marianna Rushe (Roscommon) and Anna Spence (Kildare) 21-6, 21-8; Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville (Kerry) dft Catriona Casey and Aisling O'Keefe (Cork) 21-6, 21-13
12.15pm: Mens Open Doubles Trials Semi Finals: Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan (Cavan) dft Padraig McGlinchey and Darragh Daly (Tyrone) 21-3, 21-6; Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath) and Brian Carroll (Meath) dft Charly Shanks (Armagh) and Ciaran Curran (Tyrone) 21-14, 21-9.
2.15pm: Ladies Open Doubles Trials Final: Fiona Shannon and Sibeal Gallagher (Antrim) dft Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville (Kerry) 13-21, 21-7, 11-5
3.30pm: Mens Open Doubles Trials Final: Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath) and Brian Carroll (Meath) dft Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan (Cavan) 9-21, 21-15, 11-9
|Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2012 20:32|