Another comprehensive series of GAA Handball O’Neills All Ireland Championship action is set to unfold this weekend as the various provincial champions take centre stage in their respective categories.
A total of sixteen venues will host key games in the race for All Ireland 40×20 gold and in particular the Mens and Ladies Open grades will have top quality ties on view on Saturday and Sunday.
The cream of the Ladies code will be vying for semi-final places throughout Saturday in what has been deemed the most competitive Ladies championship ever staged. Reigning champion, Maria Daly (Kerry), is bidding for a three-in-a-row in the blue ribband event and will come face to face with highly experience Kildare star, Anna Spence, who recently captured the Leinster crown in impressive fashion. Daly enters the proceedings on the back of an impressive run of form which also netted her the Ladies All Star Handballer of the Year in 2011 and her silky skills will make her difficult to deny in that challenge again.
US Open champion, Fiona Shannon, is also returning to best form in the World Championship season and recently enjoyed a narrow Ulster final win over fellow Antrim colleague, Aisling Reilly. Both players come next in the rankings and in Marianna Rushe (Roscommon) and newly crowned US Collegiates champion, Catriona Casey (Cork), Ashley Prendiville (Kerry) and rising Down star, Lorraine Havern, this weekend’s matches will attract huge interest.
In the Mens Open doubles championships, all eyes will be on reigning champions, Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan (Cavan), who are chasing a 7th win but there are again a host of major contenders in the race for the 2012 title. Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann (Mayo), winners in 2009, have an interesting test against Wexford while last year’s finalists, Brian Carroll and Tom Sheridan (Meath), take on the 2011 Intermediate champions, Diarmaid Nash and Niall Malone (Clare).
Elsewhere this weekend, there are some other intriguing ties on offer with Martin Mulkerrins (Galway), fresh from his US Open Collegiates title win, facing Tyrone’ Caolan Daly, and the winners of the All Ireland minor titles in 2010 and 2009 respectively, will provide an absorbing contest in Moycullen in the Intermediate SIngles championship. Ger Coonan (Tipperary) came through a very tough Munster campaign in the same series and takes on 2008 Minor champion, Gary McConnell (Meath) in Nenagh.
At minor level, Leitrim’s Donal Wrynn will be eager to make a massive breakthrough for the county when he takes on former Under 16 All Ireland champion, Darren Doherty (Monaghan), in the All Ireland semi final at Ballaghadereen, while Cork’s Patrick Herlihy and Wexford’s Galen Riordain will clash in the other semi-final for the right to be part of the major televised All Ireland Senior Final programme in Roscommon on 24th March.
GAA Handball O’Neill’s All Ireland 40×20 Championships 2012
Mens Open Doubles Championship
Round 2: Saturday 3rd MARCH 2012
1. Cavan (P Brady/M Finnegan) v Kilkenny (P Funchion/P Funchion) in Leixlip, Kildare, 4.15pm 2. Limerick (S O’Carroll/CJ Fitzpatrick) v Cavan (J Brady/P Clerkin) in Crinkle, Offaly, 5.30pm 3. Wexford (B Goff/C Keeling) v Kilkenny (N Anthony/B Manogue) in Garryhill, Carlow, 5pm 4. Wicklow (M Gregan/J Willoughby) v Tyrone (D Daly/S O’Neill) in Leixlip, Kildare, 5.15pm 6. Cork (B Fleming/K Carroll) v Antrim (R McCann/S O’Tuama) in Mullingar, 3pm
Round 2: Sunday 4th MARCH 2012
7. Tipperary (G Coonan/F Collins) v Antrim (S Devine/P Graham) in St.Coman’s, Rosc, 2.15pm 5. Mayo (D Keegan/J McCann) v Wexford (G Buggy/P Lambert) in Crinkle, Offaly, 6.30pm 8. Meath (T Sheridan/B Carroll) v Clare (D Nash/N Malone) in Crinkle, Offaly, 5pm
Quarter-Final: Monday 5th MARCH 2012
AA. Winner Match 1 v Winner Match 2 in St.Coman’s, Roscommon, 3.30pm
Ladies Open Singles Championship
LOS, Round 2: Saturday 3rd March 2012
C. Ashley Prendiville (Kerry) v Deirdre Donohoe (Roscommon) Cappagh, Limerick, 4pm
LOS, Quarter-Finals: Saturday 3rd March 2012
CC. Aisling Reilly (Antrim) v Catriona Casey (Cork) in Leixlip, Kildare, 3pm DD. Lorraine Havern (Down) v Fiona Shannon (Antrim) in Gort na Mona, Antrim, 4pm
LOS, Quarter-Final: Saturday 3rd March 2012
AA. Maria Daly (Kerry) v Anna Spence (Kildare) in Crinkle, Offaly, 4.15pm
Leinster v Munster: Singles Semi Finals Weekend 1
Saturday March 3rd, in O’Loughlins, Kilkenny, 6.00pm Diamond Masters B Singles: Kilkenny (Michael Dalton) v Cork (Dave Stack) Ruby Masters Singles: Kilkenny (Paddy Reilly) v Tipperary (Jim Ryan)
Saturday March 3rd, in Saint Joseph’s, Wexford, 3.00pm Over 35A Singles: Wexford (Gavin Buggy) v Kerry (Dominic Lynch) Silver Masters B Singles: Wexford (Mick Armstrong) v Tipperary (Jim O Brien) Junior Singles: Wicklow (Pat O’Donnell) v Clare (Cathal Hannon)
Saturday March 3rd, in Crinkle, Offaly, 3.00pm Emerald Masters A Singles: Offaly (Billy Mullins) v Limerick (Tom O Brien) Golden Masters A Singles: Kildare (Michael Dowling) v Cork (John Herlihy)
Sunday March 4th, in O’Loughlin’s, Kilkenny, 2.00pm Ladies Junior B Singles Kilkenny (Rachel Hogan) v Clare (Ashling Fitzgerald) Under 21 Singles Kilkenny (Patrick Funchion) v Cork (Arthur O’Neill) Masters A Singles Kilkenny (Michael Walsh) v Cork (Stephen Palmer)
Saturday March 3rd, in Mallow, Cork, 1pm (OIC P Buckley/D Cusack) Minor Singles: Cork (Patrick Herlihy) v Wexford (Galen Riordan) Masters B Singles: Cork (John Kiersey) v Offaly (Sean Ryan) Diamond Masters A Singles: Cork (Dave O Riordan) v Carlow (John Rossiter)
Saturday March 3rd, in Shannon, Clare, 4pm (OIC T Hegarty/J Cawley) Golden Masters B Singles: Clare (John Cawley) v Kilkenny (Eamonn Purcell) Emerald Masters B Singles: Clare (Stephen McInerney) v Louth (John Kelly)
Saturday March 3rd, in Nenagh, Tipperary, 1pm (OIC E Spillane/P Collins) Intermediate Singles: Tipperary (Ger Coonan) v Meath (Gary McConnell) Junior B Singles: Tipperary (John Ferncombe) v Kilkenny (Brendan Burke) Silver Masters A Singles: Tipperary (Paul McGrath) v Kilkenny (Billy Bourke)
Sunday March 4th, in Cappagh, 2pm (OIC D Hayes/T Hayes) Ladies Minor Singles: Limerick (Martina McMahon) v Kilkenny (Mary Phelan) Over 35B Singles: Limerick (Paul Hedderman) v Kilkenny (Stephen Barcoe)
Connacht v Ulster: Singles Semi Finals Weekend 1
Sunday 4th March, in Ballaghaderreen, 1pm Minor Singles Leitrim (Donal Wrynn) v Monaghan (Darren Doherty) Silver Masters A Singles: Mayo (Joe Dowling) v Antrim (Ciaran O Hare) Ladies Intermediate Singles: Mayo (Pauline Gallagher) v Tyrone (Lisa McAleer)
Sunday 4th March, in Bofield, 2pm Junior B Singles: Mayo (Gearoid Hughes) v Antrim (Brendan Herron) Emerald Masters B Singles: Mayo (Joe Neary) v Antrim (John McManus) Diamond Masters A Singles: Mayo (Martin Cronin) v Monaghan (Michael McCarron/Micky Todd)
Sunday 4th March, in Moycullen, 12.30pm Golden Masters B Singles: Galway (Denis Phelan) v Monaghan (Conor McDonnell) Masters B Singles: Galway (Morgan Duggan) v Antrim (Kevin McParland) Over 35B Singles: Galway (Trevor Hannon) v Tyrone (Seamus McCrory) Intermediate Singles: Galway (Martin Mulkerrins) v Tyrone (Caolan Daly)
Saturday 3rd March, in St. Mellan’s, Truagh, Monaghan, 1pm: Diamond Masters B Singles Cavan (John Dillon) v Galway (Gerry Ó Fátharta) Junior Singles Monaghan (Terry Kiernan) v Mayo (Ciaran Burke) Under 21 Singles Monaghan (Terry McElvaney) v Mayo (Ian McLoughlin) OR Roscommon (Darren Beattie)
Saturday 3rd March, in Gort na Mona (Ct 1/2), Antrim, 2.30pm: Emerald Masters A Singles: Antrim (Anthony Caddell) v Mayo (Kevin Geraghty) Ruby Masters Singles: Antrim (Seamus Graham) v Galway (Morgan Darcy) Over 35A Singles: Antrim (Sean Devine) v Mayo (Campbell Brennan)
Sunday 4th March, in Gort na Mona, Antrim, 2.30pm: Golden Masters A Singles: Antrim (Thomas Maguire) v Sligo (Francis McCann) Masters A Singles: Antrim (Paddy Crothers) v Roscommon (Aengus Cunningham)
Sunday 4th March, Eugene Quinn, Armagh, 1pm: Silver Masters B Singles: Down (Sean McNally) v Mayo (John Coyne) Ladies Junior B Singles: Armagh (Sionnain McConville) v Mayo (Jennifer Fahy) Ladies Junior Singles: Down (Anna Madine) v Mayo (Clodagh McMenamin)