The All Ireland Horseshoe Pitching Inter County, Club and Pairs Competitions took place in Spiddal, Co Galway recently.
The first competition of the week-end was the All Ireland Club Championship. This was a great competition with marvellous pitching throughout. Some of the earlier rounds were very close with a number of the top teams just scraping through by the skin of their teeth.
The semi finals were as follows: Dorans Bridge (Wexford) versus Gouleyduff (Kildare) and the Woodsmen (Wexford) versus Innishowen (Donegal).
The first semi final between Dorans Bridge and Gouleyduff was a real thriller with neither side giving anything away soft.
After the first two pairs the Bridge had two aces up going in with their last pair and they needed it as the Gouleyduff pair of Jim Kelly and Brendan Hosey put it up to Harry Kinch and partner John Doyle Jnr.
The game swayed to and fro up to the three quarter stage when the Bridge lads got a grip on the game and went on to win 21-17 to reach the final.
The other semi final between the Woodsmen and Innishowen was a cracker as well with both sets of pitchers going at it hammer and tongs.
Their last pair of Michael Redmond and John Joe Byrne held their nerve to reach the final.
The final was between the Woodsmen and Dorans Bridge with no quarter asked or given. The Woodsmen took an early lead in the first two sets but were pegged back by the Dorans Bridge lads, it was ‘even steven’, but Woodsmen would go on to win it for the second year in a row.
Teams: Woodsmen; Michael Redmond (Capt), John Joe Byrne, Paddy Connors, Phil Mahon, John Giltrap, Tom Connors, Liam Bond, Chris McDonald and Sean Redmond.
Dorans Bridge; Richard Collier (Capt), Noel Redmond, Brendan Earle, Willie Redmond, Harry Kinch, John Doyle (Jun), Billy Maguire and Denis Fitzgerald.
All Ireland Inter County Competitions
The All Ireland Inter County ‘A’ final was fought out between Wexford and Donegal ‘A’. The Wexford lads had the edge in this one winning four sets to one. In the ‘B’ final Donegal came out on top over a very gallant Galway side beating them three sets to two to take this title.
All Ireland Pairs Competition
The last competition of the weekend was the All Ireland Pairs. There was tremendous interest in this event with the pitchers more relaxed after the major competitions were over. Division 1
In this Division the Wexford lads were in top form and it looked like they would take another Cup home with them but every game is different and so it happened out as favourite after favourite bit the dust, the Gouleyduff pair of Paddy Byrne and Denis Ryan the cause of most of them going, as they drove on to the final.
The final between the two Kildare lads and the Wexford pair of Paddy Connors and Phil Mahon was a real humdinger with ace for ace all the way to the finish, the Gouleyduff pair just edging out the Wexford lads 21-19 to take the All Ireland Pairs title for 2013.
Midland Horseshoe Pitching League
After six evenings of pitching the Midland Horseshoe League came to a close. On each of the evenings the pitching was top notch from all the pitchers, with the result there was a three way tie for first place and a tie for fourth place an example of how keen the competition was.
The playoffs were between last years winner Gerry Hyland, Pat Ward and Sean O’Connor. After the play off for first place Gerry Hyland came out on top with Sean O’Connor taking second place in third place was Pat Ward.
The play off for fourth was between Paddy Byrne and James Hosey this going to Paddy Byrne after a close game.
McDonald Brothers Perpetual Cup
The McDonald Brothers Perpetual Cup was played for recently and after some marvellous pitching the winners were Paddy Byrne and Sean O’Connor who beat Pat Ward and James Hosey in the final to take the Cup.