Belfast, Northern Ireland, WPH Press, 11/17/18- The GAA hosted its first ranking event of the 2019/20 GAA 40×20 men’s and women’s ranking season at the St. Paul’s Handball Club in Belfast, as Ireland’s best traveled north for one of the Ireland’s most prestigious titles.
The Men’s Open field was loaded with sensation talent, as top-seeded Diarmaid Nash headed a draw that featured Irish superstar Robbie McCarthy, 2019 R48 Memorial champion Martin Mulkerrins, Irish collegiate national champion Colin Crehan and a number of other top players.
Crehan upset Nash in the upper bracket semifinals, while McCarthy rallied from a 4-15 first game loss and two points from elimination in game two to win the third and advance to the final in the bottom bracket. “That was a tough one,” lamented Mulkerrins.
The final was one-way traffic, as “The Buzzsaw” had an answer for everything Crehan attempted. “Colin just did not perform (in the final) and had no plan B,” stated Gloves tournament director Paul Graham. “The final was anticlimactic, as Colin just played into Robbie’s strengths.”
Crehan def Nash 15-14, 15-11
McCarthy def Mulkerrins 4-15, 15-13, 11-7
Final: McCarthy def Crehan 15-1, 15-3
WR48 #1 Catriona Casey played two-time world champion Aisling Reilly for the first time in four years in the upper bracket semifinals and dominated her rival in two decisive games. Current world champion Martina McMahon was even more ruthless in the bottom bracket, holding WR48 #4 Fiona Tully scoreless in a two-game route.
The final was sensational, as the top two ladies in the sport dazzled several hundred in the packed St. Paul’s gallery and thousands more on the live GAA broadcast.
Casey stood just two points from the match in game two but could not climb over the line. Casey bounced back in the tiebreaker, taking a 9-5 lead, once again two points from the title, but could not close out the match, as McMahon scored the final six points of the match.
“The ladies final was fabulous,” stated Graham. “Both ladies demonstrated a serious will to win. Catriona appeared to have the match won but Martina took massive risks and made the big shots and finished it.”
Casey def Reilly 15-3, 15-4
McMahon def Tully 15-0, 15-0
Final: McMahon def Casey 8-15, 15-13, 11-9
For much more on the 2019 Golden Gloves, go to the home of GAA Handball HERE
To watch the men’s and women’s semifinal and finals matches, go to GAA Handball on Facebook HERE
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WPH Senior Writer