There is no time for rest after last weekends Singles Finals in the 2017 Softball Championship, with the focus now turning to the Doubles, with four QF's down for decision in the Mens Championship over the next few days.
First up is a potentially cracking contest tomorrow night in Crinkle as Roscommon's Damian Martin & Rikki O'Gara take on Limerick's CJ Fitzpatrick & Seamas O'Carroll. Both Martin & O'Carroll were serious players when coming through the juvenile grades but haven't played as much Handball as adults as Handball fans would maybe have liked to see given their exceptional talent!
Martin has reached the Softball Doubles SF's with O'Gara before, and a few years they came within a tiebreak defeat to Mayo from reaching the Final. O'Gara has established himself as a top quality right sided player, and even reached the World Final in the small court with Joe McCann in Calgary in 2015.
O'Carroll showed his talent by reaching the Softball Singles SF last year, but never got the chance to build on that by playing this years Championship due to Football commitments. Fitzpatrick is widely regarded as a player with a big future in the big alley and is one of the best around the front court with his control of both hands.
On Saturday as part of a double header in Mullingar, it will be hard to look past Meath's reigning champions Brian Carroll & Tom Sheridan. As a partnership they have amassed 7 Doubles Titles including 4 in the last 5 years. They take on Tipperary's Ger Coonan & David Hickey at 2pm.
That is followed by Mayo's big hitters Joe McCann & Dessie Keegan v Kilkenny's Ciaran Neary & Nicholas Anthony. Mayo will start as favourites given their vast collection of big game experience, which includes 6 appearances on Finals Day.
In Garryhill at 4pm the last of the QF's is another interesting tussle between 2015 champions Eoin Kennedy & Carl Browne (Dublin) & Gavin Buggy & Daniel Kavanagh (Wexford). Dublin will be expected to come through as they bid to reach their 3rd consecutive Final, but Buggy has already shown this year he can compete with the best, whilst teenager Kavanagh is a player with great promise in the big court.
Thursday 7th September
Crinkle, Offaly OIC Kevin Cooke (087 6423846) At 7.30pm
- MSD QF B: Roscommon (Rikki O’Gara/Damien Martin) v Limerick (CJ Fitzpatrick/Seamus O’Carroll)
Saturday 9th September
Mullingar, Westmeath OIC Robert McCarthy (087 6998085) At 2.00pm
- MSD QF A: Meath (Brian Carroll/Tom Sheridan) v Tipperary (Ger Coonan/David Hickey)
- MSD QF C: Mayo (Joe McCann/Dessie Keegan) v Kilkenny (Ciaran Neary/Nicholas Anthony)
Garryhill, Carlow OIC Daniel Fenlon (086 0889376) At 4.00pm
- MSD QF D: Wexford (Gavin Buggy/Daniel Kavanagh) v Dublin (Eoin Kennedy/Carl Browne)