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Senior Softball Singles serves off this weekend

The All-Ireland 60x30 Softball Men’s and Ladies Senior Singles serve off this weekend at venues around the country.

First up in the Men’s championship is the meeting of left-handers Chris Doyle and Brian Mahon. Wicklow man Doyle won the Intermediate Singles last year, a title which Kilkenny’s Mahon landed in 2018.

The prize for the winner is a shot at reigning champion Robbie McCarthy, who warmed up for the defence of his title with a victory in the Michael Black Memorial Doubles tournament in Kells, Co Meath last weekend, where he teamed up with Offaly’s David Hope.

Hope meets Gavin Buggy, who last year won the Senior Doubles in tandem with Galen Riordan, in the second of the quadruple-header at Croke Park.

Ciaran Neary, the fourth citeog in the nine-man field, meets the decorated Brian Carroll in what should be an interesting clash. The hard-hitting Neary had a good run to the semi-final of the Irish Nationals recently but will get nothing easy against the Kells speedster.

Carroll’s clubmate Gary McConnell, who reached the final last year and also made it to the decider of the Nationals, takes on former finalist Martin Mulkerrins of Galway, who just arrived home in mid-week following his brilliant win in the US Nationals/World Invitational in Minneapolis.

The ladies Senior Singles, played on the new She’s Ace format which has a dropdown element and ensures more matches for ladies, will see a bumper weekend of action across various levels.

In the Senior/Intermediate grade, Catriona Casey, fresh from her heroics in the States, takes on Ciara Mahon in Croke Park, with Meadhbh Ní Dhálaigh from Dublin meeting Mayo’s Cuileann Burke.

On Sunday in Mullingar, recently-crowned Nationals champion Aoife McCarthy will face Kilkenny’s Noelle Dowling, with the vastly experienced Aishling O’Keeffe, winner of the Open Doubles in Minneapolis with Casey, facing Sligo’s Laura Finn.

View fixtures here.