Robbie McCarthy retains All-Ireland handball crown

Martina McMahon beats Catriona Casey in epic women’s final at Croke Park

Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy in action against Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy in the final of the MyClubShop.ie All-Ireland 60x30 senior singles title at Croke Park on Saturday. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/actionshots.ie

Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy in action against Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy in the final of the MyClubShop.ie All-Ireland 60x30 senior singles title at Croke Park on Saturday. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/actionshots.ie

 

Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy retained his MyClubShop.ie All-Ireland 60x30 senior singles title at Croke Park on Saturday evening when he overcame Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy on a 21-19, 21-14 scoreline.

Early on, the Mullingar maestro looked stronger, despite some notably aggressive play from Kennedy, nine years his senior. McCarthy built up a 20-12 lead and while Kennedy came roaring back to 19, a flat rollout from the backwall saw McCarthy return to service box and he closed it out after a dramatic rally.

Game two followed a similar pattern. The early exchanges were close but McCarthy surged into a 16-7 lead with some deft front-court play.

After patient play, he buried another for 18 and was soon serving for the match before Kennedy again turned it on, getting back to 14 before McCarthy sealed his seventh title with a sweetly-struck kill in the left corner.

Limerick’s Martina McMahon celebrates after winning the women’s senior title against Cork’s Catriona Casey at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/actionshots.ie
Limerick’s Martina McMahon celebrates after winning the women’s senior title against Cork’s Catriona Casey at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/actionshots.ie

Meanwhile, in the women’s final, Limerick’s Martina McMahon toppled holder Catriona Casey of Cork in an epic decider which finished 21-20 in the third game, the closest possible result.

The Broadford woman lost the first 21-14 but came back to win a pair of 21-20, 21-20 sets. In the third, the duo were level an astonishing nine times, with both playing aggressively.

McMahon went 20-17 up with an unreturned serve but 2017 champ Casey wasn’t going away and drew level at 20-all.

She had two chances to win it but eventually McMahon closed it out with a right-corner kill. The players were awarded a rare standing ovation from the crowd after another astonishingly close battle in what must surely rank as the most gripping rivalry in Irish female sport at present.

Earlier, in the minor singles final, Kilkenny’s Jack Holden beat Kerry’s Daire Keane 21-12, 21-18.

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