After a very successful 40x20 season where Laois handballers captured four Leinster titles, hope is high in the county that further success can be achieved in the 60x30 championships.
The season got off to an encouraging start when St. Brigid’s, Monavea reached the Leinster Team Junior B final against Kells of Kilkenny.
The final proved a tight affair with never more than a couple of aces between the two sides. Michael Donovan gave Monavea a strong start, winning the opening match 36-34.
In the doubles match, Andrew Dowling and Peter Whelan made a slow start and despite a late recovery were defeated 42-32.
This left Monavea trailing by eight aces heading into the final game. Unfortunately for the Laois side, Tomás Lennon was unable to complete the fight back losing his game 40-33.
Despite the setback of not capturing the team title, Laois handballers have made a positive start to the Leinster championships.
In the singles competition both Michael Donovan and Peter Whelan remain in contention after comfortable first round wins over Wexford and Westmeath respectively.
In the doubles competition, Andrew Dowling and Peter Whelan team up once again looking to add the Junior B 60x30 title to the 40x20 title they captured earlier in the year.
Ray Fogarty (Cullohill) and Tomás Lennon will also be serious contenders at this grade following their hard fought victory over a strong Wicklow pair in the first round. Everyone in Laois handball circles is delighted to see Ray back playing competitively for the county again.
In the 90s Ray captured a number of major honours including a Leinster U21 40x20 singles title.
In the Ladies championship, Ciara Dowling made an impressive start to her bid for Leinster glory when defeating Denise Love of Kilkenny in her opening game.
Ciara will also team up with All-Ireland 40x20 U17 champion, Niamh Dunne for the doubles competition. Niamh was very unfortunate to lose to the experienced Sabrina Hughes (Dublin) in a thrilling first round encounter.
In the Men’s Silver Masters, Paddy Donovan will start as a strong contender for Leinster glory.