The Ladies were up first in the bumper event that was the Super Saturday Semi-Finals Showdown in the 2018 O’Neills 40x20 Singles Championship.
Both games started at 2:00pm sharp so we will look at the Cork v Kilkenny showdown first. This game saw the ice-cool reigning champ, Cork’s Catriona Casey, take on Kilkenny’s Ciara Mahon.
In a game that was cloaked in clinical perfection on the part of Casey, Mahon never seemed to get going. The Ballydesmod star soared to a very comfortable victory in the first game overcoming Mahon with a score of 21-1. Of this game, Casey noted that;
“I feel good after that game, I was happy with how my shots came off and I was comfortable throughout, but Ciara is a great player the score line doesn’t reflect the game.”
In the second, she kept her hawk-eye reflexes razor sharp as she steamrolled Mahon to take a 21-0 win. GAA Handball asked Casey just how she keeps her foot so firmly on the accelerator;
“I have seen loads of ‘leads’ disappear in games, it has happened to me, and I have seen it happen to others – I never take a score line for granted, I keep my foot on the accelerator at all times and I never let up.”
With such a comprehensive win at the Semi-Final stage, surely Casey is feeling exceptionally confident moving to the All-Ireland decider and preparation will be key;
“I will treat it the same as every game – Martina and I have played a good few times by now so we each know what to expect, I just look to find the balance between rest, training and nutrition.”
The second of the two outings was the much anticipated showdown between the two big hitters, Limerick’s Martina McMahon and Antrim’s Aisling Reilly.
The first game started as the crowd hoped – fast, furious and ferocious. These two titans of the game battled every rally and chased every ball like it was their last. The scores were neck in neck all the way up to the double digits. Around the 15/16 point mark, McMahon seemed to settle and began to pull away. She stated;
“I have never felt fully comfortable playing here in Kingscourt, but today, half way through the first game, I really settled and felt confident.”
A confidence McMahon clearly held on to as she took the first game 21-16. In the second, it appeared McMahon could do no wrong – she began to pull away from Reilly quite early. However, she did note that;
“I thought I played well, however, I became complacent in the latter half of the second game and I made a few errors that let Aisling come back.”
However, ensuring her place in an All-Ireland final, McMahon took the second game 21-12. On preparing for the final GAA Handball asked McMahon how she felt. Though she did say that she will rest, as less is more when preparing for a big game – she will be using the incentive of the World Championships & All-Ireland glory as motivation for her gold medal pursuit.
Whatever the outcome, this game is sure to be a sell-out and will be one that is not to be missed. To avoid disappointment, make sure to purchase your tickets today by clicking the button below: