Laois juveniles were involved in plenty of handball action over the last week with both the Leinster Team of Six and the Irish Junior Nationals qualifiers taking place.
On Wednesday night in Monavea, the Laois U-12/U-13 team faced a very strong Wexford side in the Team of Six.
In the first match Matt Kelly and Conor Mulhall found the going tough beaten by Kieran Power and Glen Murphy 15-1 15-5. The Laois team fought back impressively in the next match with Eoghan Doheny and Padraic Dunne playing superb handball to dispose of Todd Hynes and Colm Kiely 15-3 15-9. This left Laois trailing by only six aces going into the last game. Despite making a good start, Tiernach Doheny and Ciaran Burke were unable to complete the fight back going down to Colm Parnell and Richie Browne 15-5 15-4 leaving the final score 72-45 in favour of Wexford.
The Laois U-14/U-15 squad had the unenviable task of playing pre-tournament favourites Kilkenny in their first round game in Cullohill on Friday. The Laois team were to make a flying start with Podge Delaney and Tommy Whyte winning the opening match by a single ace 14-15 15-13. Rory Deegan and Andrew Dunphy were next into the alley and despite their best efforts were unfortunately beaten 4-15 4-15. This left Laois trailing by 21 aces heading into the final game. Unfortunately, Evan Deegan and Liam McNeill were to find themselves facing two very skilful Kilkenny handballers who took the game 3-15 4-15. This result gave Kilkenny victory on a scoreline of 88-44.
Laois GAA handball would like to acknowledge and thank the efforts being made by the juvenile handball coaches in both Monavea and Cullohill. The strength of the game at underage level is ever improving within the county and this has been evident in the excellent performances given by our juveniles in both Leinster and national competitions so far this year.
A number of Laois handballers were also in action in the Irish Junior Nationals qualifiers played over the weekend. The results of these games were as follows.
B13&UB: Andrew Dunphy lost to Devlin Courtney (Tipperary); B13&UB: Matt Kelly lost to Patrick Murphy (Mayo); B13&UB: Padraic Dunne defeated Konrad Kowal (Monaghan); B13&UB: Eoghan Doheny defeated Shane Murtagh (Offaly); G13&UB: Maeve McNeill lost to Alannah Ryan (Clare); G13&UB: Molly O’Connor defeated Méabh Mc Elroy (Tyrone); B15&UB: Liam McNeill lost James Prentice (Tipperary); B15&UB: Tommy Whyte lost to Jordan Hart (Offaly); B15&UB: David Doheny lost to Eoin Quinn (Tyrone)