Eugene Quinn’s Megan McCann and St. Killian’s Fíachra ÓDúill both secured titles at the 40×20 Nationals this weekend.
Megan lead the way in the G19&U blue riband grade. The 2018 World 4wall silver medallist was seeded at number one. Played on Saturday in Tydavnet, Co. Monaghan the Eugene Quinn player overcame her world doubles partner, the talented Cora Doyle from Wexford in the semi-final in two straight games: 15-7 15-12.
The current and two time All-Ireland minor Champion, Leah Doyle of Kildare had advanced through the other side of the draw to set up a mouth-watering clash.
The final, played yesterday in Beragh, Co . Tyrone did not disappoint, it was such a fine advertisement for the ladies game.
The two tied on a number of occasions in game one before the Kildare teenager claimed it: 15-13.
Game two was also nip and tuck, this time in the favour of McCann, taking the match to a tie-breaker. The large crowd were delighted to witness more of the two finely tuned athletes as they both craved victory.
In the deciding tie-breaker, McCann stormed to 6-3, then 7-5 up before the lilywhite found her footing and tied the game at 7-7. The orchard star then changed to a ‘z serve’ and executed fantastic shots, scoring two points in a row to lead 9-7. Doyle then availed of a time-out before Megan, showing all her experience, wrapped up the match and retained her Nationals title: 13-15 15-12 11-7.
In the B15&UB grade, it was number two seed, Fíachra ÓDúill from the Whitecross club who claimed the title.
He then faced Connor Hession of Galway in the quarter final. The South Armagh player had taken game one 15-10 and at 14-10 up in the second, it looked like a two game victory. However, a shoulder injury occured and the tribesman took every opportunity, forcing a deciding tie-breaker.
ÓDúill changed his game slightly in the tie-breaker and desite the gallant effort of Hession, Fíachra never looked in doubt of going through to the semi-final stages, winning: 15-10 14-15 11-6.
The semi-final which was played yesterday morning in Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone saw ÓDúill face Tipperary’s Evan Carey. Carey had came through a titanic battle the previous evening against Cork’s Eric ÓDúláine and looked to be in impressive form.
Battling shoulder pain, it took ÓDúill a while to settle and warm up in the first game against the hard hitting premier county player, but managed to do enough in game one to take it: 15-9. ÓDúill did little wrong and a lot right in game two, securing his place in the final: 15-9 15-2.
Shane Whyte of Westmeath came through the other half of the draw and was in stunning form. Carrying injury, ÓDúill again took time to warm up and quickly found himself 11-3 in arrears, he managed to claw his way back to 11 points, but the deificit was too large to close as the lake county player executed his shots with power and precision to go one game up.
The Orchard man used the time between games wisely and started game two in the form he had finished game one, taking the game 15-1 to set up a tie-breaker.
The tie-breaker was full of great serves, kill shots and passing shots by both players. It was the Armagh man however that took an early 9-4 lead and although the brave Whyte did score five more aces, it was ÓDúill who went on to regain composure and claim the National title: 11-15 15-1 11-9.
Massive congratulations to both Megan and Fíachra on your Nationals victories.
The G11&U fun event provided matches for the younger children in a non-competitive fashion. All children were divided up in groups of 4-5-6. Clann Éireann’s Claragh Laverty and Clare O’Hagan played some excellent handball both of whom won two matches each. Great work girls!
Mól an óige agus tiocfaidh sí.