The finals of the Laois Cumann na mBunscol handball took place on bank holiday Monday, May 7, in Cullohill Community Cente.
Killeshin, Mayo, Ballyadams, Newtown, Cullohill and Our Lady’s Meadow Durrow were all represented with the competition divided into three sections – Boys 5th and 6th class, boys 3rd and 4th class and girls. The younger boys section had fifteen competitors - Ben Dunphy, Mark Holland, Tiarnach Doheny, James Delahunty, Conor Delaney, James Duggan, Mark Deegan, Lorcan Fitzpatrick, Billy McEvoy, Thomas Walsh and Jim Kirby (all Cullohill), Mikey Monaghan (Durrow), Brian Brennan (Newtown), Ciaran Burke (Ballyadams) and Josh Kelly (Mayo).
It was a knockout competition and after some great games Tiarnach Doheny and Ciaran Burke emerged to contest the final. This too was a very exciting game with Ciaran Burke representing Ballyadams NS winning on an 11-6, 11-7 score line.
The girls was an all Cullohill affair with Amy Foyle, Maeve McNeill, Maeve Bergin, Molly O’Connor, Maebh Deegan, Lauren McGuigan and Eimear Fitzpatrick all taking part. In the final Molly O’Connor had a narrow victory over Maebh Deegan.
The boys senior section had ten competitors - Rory Deegan, Pauric Dunne, Eoin Doheny, Adam Whyte, Evan Deegan and Padraig Delaney (all Cullohill), Matt Kelly (Newtown), Conor Mulhall, David Brennan (both Mayo) and Cian Kelly (Killeshin). All games were tight throughout with probably the game of the day played in this section – the semi final involving Pauric Dunne and Padraig Delaney.
Padraig Delaney went in as slight favourite but Pauric Dunne took the first game on an 11-8 score line. The second game was close throughout and with the game tied at 8 each Pauric Dunne only needed one more ace to clinch victory. However, Padraig Delaney held his nerve to win the next three scores to force a playoff.
In the third and deciding game Padraig Delaney got the upper hand to progress into the final where he faced Matt Kelly from Newtown. This game also had some excellent handball with Padraig eventually coming out on top winning 11-7, 11-8.
To conclude the morning’s handball presentations were made by Noel Delaney (competition coordinator), Eamon Doheny and Patsy Dowling (Chairman and secretary of Laois Handball). They complimented all competitors on the standard of play displayed and encouraged all to keep playing the game. Handball at Cumann na mBunscol level within Laois hasn’t been played for a number of the years but the hope is that it can a regular feature on the yearly calendar.