County Tyrone, IRE, WPH Press, 12/15/19- GAA Handball held its second ranking event of the 2019/20 GAA 40×20 season in County Tyrone at the Breacach Open, featuring the best men’s and women’s 40×20 stars in GAA Handball.
“They have built a fantastic new facility which includes a new 4-Wall court to go with their existing one and three 1-Wall courts,” stated 2019 Tucson Memorial champion Martin Mulkerrins.
With GAA #1 Robbie McCarthy not entered in Breacach, Breacach assured the second different men’s champion of the 2019/20 GAA 40×20 ranking season.
Top-seeded Diarmaid Nash was dominant en route to the final in the upper bracket, never allowing double digits in any of his six games en route to the final.
R48 Tucson Memorial champion and Breacach #2 seed Martin Mulkerrins matched Nash’s dominance in the bottom bracket, highlighted by a two-game sweep against former R48 and GAA #1 Charly Shanks in the semifinals.
Mulkerrins continued his tremendous play at the Breacach in the final, overcoming Nash’s craft and guile with power with offense. Mulkerrins continues an impressive second half of 2019 that has seen the Galway man defeat Killian Carroll, Daniel Cordova, Luis Cordova, Vic Perez, and many of the top players in the sport.
“I have been training hard and preparation has been good these past few weeks and months,” stated Breacach champion Martin Mulkerrins. “I have also played more tournaments than most of the players here too, which I am sure is a help too. The game yesterday was a positive for me, I played well throughout the tournament and thankfully I put in a good performance on the day which was enough yesterday. It is early in the season and all players will continue to improve and sharpen up as we lead into championship so that is the focus now, to continue to improve and be ready for that. It was a very well run tournament in a great facility with great hospitality and a full house to watch the semi finals and finals too.”
Round of 16
Diarmaid Nash dft Daniel Relihan 15-5, 15-6
Eoghan McGinnity dft Fergal Coughlin 10 -15, 15-5, 11-3
Peter Funchion dft Sean Kerr 13-15, 15-2, 11-4
Gavin Coyle dft Patrick Funchion 3-15, 15-10, 11-9
Colin Crehan dft Kevin Diggins 15-4, 8-15, 11-1
Charlie Shanks dft Ger Coonan 15-7, 13-15, 11-0
Michael Hedigan dft Jordan O’Neill 15-10, 15-12
Martin Mulkerrins dft Paul Moran 15-4, 15-9
Diarmaid Nash dft Michael Hedigan 15-3, 15-2
Gavin Coyle dft Peter Funchion 7-15, 15-14, 11-4
Charlie Shanks dft Colin Crehan 15-11, 15-8
Martin Mulkerrins dft Eoghan McGinnity 15-5, 15-3
Nash def Coyle 15-9, 15-3
Mulkerrins def Shanks 15-7, 15-6
Final: Mulkerrins def Nash 15-7, 15-11
WR48 and GAA #1 Catriona Casey cruised to the final with a systematic domination of rising star and WR48 #8 Megan McCann in the upper bracket semifinals, while current world champion Martina McMahon started slowly against two-time world champion Aisling Reilly in the bottom bracket semifinals, dropping a lopsided first game before bouncing back to win the next two convincingly.
Casey was prepared for McMahon’s firepower in the Breacach final, as the WR48 #1 controlled the center of the court and defended McMahon’s powerful strikes. McMahon converted a number of highlight reel kills but also committed a number of errors, mostly due to Casey’s pressure and shot placement. Casey relied on her impenetrable defense to keep her in rallies and found the corners when given opportunities to end rallies, knocking off her greatest rival in two games.
Catriona Casey bye
Aisling Reilly dft Mollie Dagg 15-1, 15-4
Megan McCann dft Fiona Tully 15-13, 15-14
Martina McMahon dft Eilise McCrory 15-10, 15-3
Martina McMahon def Aisling Reilly 4-15, 15-4, 15-5
Final: Casey def McMahon 15-11, 15-10
Watch matches from the Breacach Open on the GAA Handball Facebook page HERE
For more coverage of the Breacach Open and GAA Handball, go to HERE
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WPH Senior Writer