The stage is set for a massive weekend of action in Kingscourt this Saturday and Sunday, with All-Ireland semi-finals and finals down for decision in all adult and minor grades, with Masters and juvenile finals pencilled in for the following weekends.
In Minor Singles, Armagh’s Fíachra Ó Dhúill, who beat Tyrone’s Gary McAleer in impressive fashion in the Ulster final, takes on Tomás O’Connor of Cork. On the other side of the draw, Kilkenny’s Noah Manogue meets Roscommon man Rory Carthy, winner of the USHA 17&U title at Christmas.
Manogue defeated Wexford’s Conor Horan in the Leinster final, with Carthy getting the better of Mayo’s Alan Gilmartin.
The Ladies Minor Singles will be contested by Emma Kinnane (Galway), Hannah Grace (Tipperary), Jodie Keeling (Wexford) and Dearbhail Fox (Tyrone).
Keeling, who has been on a tremendous run of form, edged Abbeyknockmoy’s Kinnane in the She’s Ace final in January. Dearbhail is looking to become the fourth Tyrone player to win this title, following on from Maeve McElduff (2014), Dearbhail’s sister Mairead (2020) and Clodagh Munroe (2022).
The talented Grace saw off Aine Lenihan from Clare in the Munster final while Emma defeated Alannah Coggeran (Roscommon).
The Junior and Intermediate Men’s grades look extremely competitive as ever. In the Intermediate, last year’s junior champion Kevin Diggins (Kildare) takes on 2015 All-Ireland Minor champion Niall Joyce of Mayo.
In the other semi-final, Cork’s David Walsh, who has shown impressive form in senior ranking events, meets Monaghan’s Gavin Coyle, who had good wins over Jordan O’Neill and Ryan Mullen in the Ulster Championship last weekend.
At junior level, Cavan’s Joe Dillon and Galway’s Peter Donohue retained their provincial titles and are on opposite sides of the draw. Former Breffni footballer Dillon meets Cork’s Conor Walsh, who showed his class at the USHA Collegiates last week, and powerful Inis Mor man Donohue faces Jack Holden of Kilkenny, who beat Eoin Brennan in the Leinster decider.
The U21 Singles will be contested between last year’s Minor champion Cormac Finn (Sligo), Monaghan footballer Tiarnan O’Rourke, Tipperary’s Rory Grace (the 2020 Minor Softball runner-up) and Wexford’s Joe Devereux, who had an eye-catching victory over the in-form Kyle Jordan in a tiebreaker in the Leinster final.
At Junior B level, the last four standing are Shane Lawless (Galway), Ciaran Brennan (Monaghan), Ned Reilly (Tipperary) and Shane Birney (Wexford).
In the O35AS, Gavin Buggy, winner of the Wexford Senior Singles last night against Galen Riordan, plays the winner of Kerry’s Jack O’Shea and Tyrone’s Darragh Daly.
The O35BS will be contested by Jonathan Conroy, Myles Carroll, Niall Quinn and Conor Flynn of Mayo, Kildare, Tipperary and Antrim respectively.
The ladies Junior C is between Carlow (Farrah Ryan), Dublin (Nolwenn Even), Tipperary (Sile Spain) and Kilkenny/Roscommon.
The ladies Junior B will see Sabrina Hughes (Dublin) and Roisin O’Keeffe (Kilkenny) in action against Tyrone/Cork and Limerick/Roscommon.
The Ladies Junior Singles is Laois (Aoife Brophy), Sligo (Laura Finn), Clare (Chloe Philpott) and Wexford or Mayo opposition.
Finally, the Ladies Intermediate Singles last four consists of Patricia Doyle (Wicklow), Caitriona Millane (Clare), Aoife Holden (Kilkenny) and Noelle Dowling (Kilkenny).
The highlight of the weekend will be the Senior Singles finals on Sunday – previews later in the week.