The All Ireland Horseshoe Pitching Singles and Ringers Competitions were held in Tegral Sportsfield Athy recently.
There was a very big turnout of pitchers for both events. In the Singles the pitching was the highest standard we have seen for many years with pitchers from around the country taking part and every one of them fighting fit and and rearing to take the title. The Singles Competition was run in two Divisions.
In Division One there were ten or twelve of the top pitchers in the country taking part so whoever came out on top in this one would certainly deserve their victory. Last years winner Dinny Ryan (Goulyduff Club) would be in this top group and he didn’t disappoint either as he overcame player after player to reach the final for the third year in a row. On the other side of the draw John Giltrap (Woodsmen Club) Wexford was pitching great shoes hroughout the day and he had a couple of spectacular games one of which was against John Crossan (Donegal). In the semi final there was marvellous pitching from both players with ace for ace all the way to the finish John Giltrap just sneaked it at the death 21-20 to reach the final.
The two pitchers gave their all in the final with the game swinging one way then the other Ryan first taking the lead then Giltrap coming back at him and so it see-sawed up to the finish with Ryan getting through by three aces 21-18 to take the Mickey Connors Perpetual Cup for the third year in a row.
In Division Two again there was great pitching and one would have to say there was very little difference in the standard of pitching between the First and Second Divisions as was shown by the pitchers in this one. Jim Sludds (Jun) from the Ballyroe Club (Wexford) gave an exhibition of pitching throughout the day and he reached the final with a bit in hand over all his opponents.
The other side of the draw saw Goulyduff man Sean O’Connor progressing steadily through the rounds pitching consistently he overcame all his opponents some by the narrowest of margins. The final was a real corker with neither pitcher giving anything away softly it finished up on 20 all with Jim Sludds (Jun) getting the last ace to deny Sean O’Connor making it a double for the Goulyduff Club.
All Ireland Ringers Competition
The ringers Competition was won by another Goulyduff man namely Jimmy Mackey. In Division One took the title outright after a pitch off with Michael Redmond from Dublin. Both of them had 34 Ringers with Mackey out scoring Redmond in the pitch off. Jimmy Mackey was in devastating form 34 Ringers is a great score and he was cool enough in the pitch off to seal victory over Michael Redmond.
In Division Two the winner of this Division was Denis Larkin (Snr) on 18 Ringers with the Runner up Pa O’Brien on 14 Ringers (both from Wexford).
The winner was John McKeown on 30 Ringers with the Runner up Tom Cash on 12 Ringers again both from Wexford.