Belfast, Northern Ireland, WPH Press, 10/30/17- The St. Paul’s Club hosted the 2017 FonaCab Golden Gloves Titles on the last weekend in October, with Ireland’s top men’s and women’s senior stars battling for valuable GAA Senior 40×20 ranking points and the prestigious Golden Gloves Titles.
The Golden Gloves Women’s Singles featured WR48 #1 Catriona Casey, WR48 #2 Martina McMahon, and two-time defending world champion Aisling Reilly. Casey cruised to the final in the top half of the draw, while McMahon and Reilly met in a scintillating matchup in the bottom half semifinal. Reilly was making her first tournament start in more than a year after shoulder surgery, while McMahon has firmly established herself as the world’s #2 women’s handball star in Reilly’s absence. McMahon was too powerful for the world champion, pushing Reilly from side to side and executing offensive opportunities with both hands, cruising in two games to meet her rival Catriona Casey in the final.
The top two women in the sport found themselves tied at 12 in the first game of the final going to 15 when Casey found another gear. “Casey was as ruthless as ever,” reported the GAA. “Catriona responded to everything Martina McMahon threw at her to prevail in the first game before stamping her authority in the second.”
“I guess seeing out the first game, after being tied at 12, gave me a bit of a boost, whereas it might have had the opposite effect on Martina,” stated Casey. “Just happy to get the 40×20 season off to a good start.”
Final: Casey def McMahon 15-13, 15-3
Current All Ireland 40×20 Senior Champion Charly Shanks entered the Golden Gloves as the top seed in a stellar field that included Martin Mulkerrins, Robbie McCarthy, Diarmaid Nash, Colin Crehan, the Funchion brothers, and Irish superstar Tony Healy.
Shanks advanced to the semifinals with an emotional win against Tony Healy, while second-seeded Mulkerrins was upset by fellow nextgen star Colin Crehan. Third-seeded Robbie McCarthy cruised past Patrick Funchion, while Diarmaid Nash defeated Irish junior sensation Sean Kerr to book his spot in the semifinals.
Shanks and Nash faced off in the upper bracket semifinal, continuing a rivalry that has gone back and forth since their first meeting nearly seven years ago. Shanks survived his second consecutive 15-14 game to take game one and advanced to the final by winning game two, 15-11.
McCarthy continued to dominate in the semifinals, building big leads in both games against Colin Crehan and booking his spot against Shanks in the final, 15-7, 15-8.
McCarthy was seeking revenge for his 2017 All Ireland 40×20 finals loss to Shanks in the Golden Gloves final and was clinical in taking down the former R48 #1. “Robbie is just so efficient in his movement,” stated Tony Healy during the final. “Robbie is able to cover the angles with one step, whereas most players would need a number of steps.”
McCarthy never allowed Shanks into the match, outscoring him 30-15 in the final and announcing that he is back in top form. “McCarthy was in irresistible form all weekend and his ability to conserve energy in grueling weekend tournament formats whilst maintaining incredibly high levels of play continues to astound fans,” reported the GAA.
Final: McCarthy def Shanks 15-7, 15-8
For more information on the 2017 Golden Gloves, like GAA Handball on Facebook or go to the home of GAA Handball here
Photos will the Golden Gloves trophy courtesy of GAA Handball
WPH Senior Writer