Masters handball titles for eight counties:
By Paul Fitzpatrick
Eight different counties claimed silverware on a packed weekend of All-Ireland Masters Singles finals at Kingscourt, Co Cavan.
The semi-finals took place on Saturday, with finals down for decision on Sunday. Pride of place went to Wexford with three titles while Meath and Dublin won two each. There were also victories for Cork, Tipperary, Limerick, Antrim and Kildare.
The Masters A Singles final was a particularly high standard as always, with Cork’s Brendan Fleming edging out Offaly’s David Hope in a tiebreaker.
The Ballydesmond man, a former leading senior player with wins over Robbie McCarthy and Eoin Kennedy on his resumé, had a good lead in game one, opening up 10-3 and 15-6 advantages and looked the likely winner at 18-12 but Fahy’s Cross left-hander Hope came storming back to win 21-18.
Fleming responded well, however, winning the second game 21-5. The Cork right-hander opened a 6-2 lead in the tiebreaker, Hope rallied to level at 6-6 but Fleming finished strongly to take the title on an 11-6 scoreline.
Kieran Cooper, Pat Murphy and Mick Dowling also came through in tiebreakers, as did Stephen Murphy of Wexford, who won 11-10 in the deciding set in a brilliant match against Limerick’s Stephen McInerney.
The semi-finals were played on Saturday for the first time, wrapping up the overage singles finals over one weekend. This weekend coming, the focus turns to the juvenile (U14 to U17) semi-finals and finals, also at Kingscourt.
Masters A Final: Brendan Fleming (Cork) dft. David Hope (Offaly) 18-21, 21-5, 11-6
Masters B Final: Paddy Delaney (Tipperary) dft. James Stanners (Wexford) 21-15, 21-18
Silver Masters A Final: Conor Maxwell (Dublin) dft. Paul Graham (Antrim) 21-13, 21-15
Silver Masters B Final: David Stanners (Wexford) dft. Gary Byrne (Cavan) 21-7, 21-10
Golden Masters A Final: Michael Sheridan (Meath) dft. John Kennedy (Tipperary) 21-12, 21-6
Golden Masters B Final: Pat Murphy (Limerick) dft. Seamus Maughan (Mayo) 4-21, 21-19, 11-6
Emerald Masters A Final: Tom Sheridan (Meath) dft. Tomas Donegan (Limerick) 21-9, 21-1
Emerald Masters B Final: Kieran Cooper (Antrim) dft. Kevin Doyle (Wexford) 8-21, 21-20, 11-4
Diamond Masters A Final: Mick Dowling (Kildare) dft. John Herlihy (Cork) 18-21, 21-16, 11-8
Diamond Masters B Final: Stephen Murphy (Wexford) dft. Stephen McInerney (Limerick) 21-20, 14-21, 11-10
Ruby Masters Final: Michael Rossiter (Wexford) dft. Jerry Spillane (Tipperary) 21-1, 21-6
O70s Final: Eugene Kennedy (Dublin) dft. Paddy Collins (Tipperary) 21-10, 21-9