O’Loughlins Kilkenny was the venue for last Friday’s Leinster Cumann na mBunscol Finals with Laois taking part for the first time in a number of years.
There were four separate competitions; U-11 singles and doubles as well as U-13 singles and doubles with Laois represented in all four sections.
In the U-11 singles Laois were represented by Ciaran Burke from Ballyadams NS. In the opening game Ciaran lost to Wexford opposition and then went on to play Kilkenny where both players won one game each with Ciaran losing out on the total count of aces. In his final game, Ciaran had a comfortable victory over Kildare. With Wexford winning all games in this section they won this competition.
In the U-11 doubles, Tiarnach Doheny and Conor Delaney – both Cullohill NS – represented Laois and in their opening game had a comfortable victory over Kildare and went forward to meet Kilkenny in the semi final. After a tight game the Laois pair came out on top. In the final Wexford provided the opposition and in a close tie Laois lost out on an 11–9, 11–8 score line.
Conor Mulhall from Mayo NS took part in the U-13 singles competition and after victory over Kildare, Conor lost out when defeated by strong opposition from both Kilkenny and Wexford.
Pride of place goes to Eoghan Doheny and Pauric Dunne from Cullohill NS who were in the U-13 doubles section and went on to win the final. In the preliminary rounds they beat Kilkenny and Kildare and went on to defeat Carlow in the semi final. This qualified them for the final where once again they met Kilkenny’s Jack Barcoe and Jack Holden and as in the earlier round, they once again came out on top on an 11–6, 11–9 score line.
All six Laois players acquitted themselves very well giving Laois handball a great boost in the process. For Laois to win a Leinster Final is a great achievement and augers well for the game in the county. Eoghan Doheny and Pauric Dunne now go on to represent Laois/Leinster in Kingscourt, Cavan.
A similar competition for girls is scheduled for next Wednesday (March 6) in Leixlip. Here Molly O’Connor will be taking part in the U-13 singles, Maeve McNeill and Maeve Bergin in the U-13 doubles with Eimear Fitzpatrick and Lauren McGuigen competing in the U-11 doubles. All girls are from Cullohill NS and we again wish the team well in Leixlip next week.