Tyrone GAA Handball to contest 4 finals in All Ireland 40×20 Doubles Festival Weekend
The 2017 All-Ireland 40×20 championships will reach an exciting climax this weekend with a packed programme of adult doubles finals in Kingscourt.
The men’s senior doubles final will be a Cavan v Clare affair but Tyrone will feature in two of the big matches on Saturday’s programme, the intermediate and under-21 deciders.
The county will take part in four finals altogether in Kingscourt this weekend, including three on Saturday and one more on Sunday.
Tyrone have a great chance of retaining the intermediate doubles title that was captured last year by Conor McElduff and Johnny Woods, with Breacach duo Shane O’Neill and Sean Kerr aiming for the county’s third doubles title in this grade when they face experienced Kilkenny pairing, Ciaran Neary and Brendan Burke.
For many years the only Tyrone winners of the intermediate doubles title were Niall Kerr and Darragh Daly but now the county is on the verge of claiming two in a row, although the Kilkenny challenge on Saturday is a formidable one.
The Leinster champions actually defeated Shane O’Neill and Johnny Woods in the All-Ireland semi-final two years ago in a close contest, which probably makes them slight favourites. But incredibly, this will be their third intermediate doubles final in a row as they lost the last two finals narrowly, including last year’s showdown against Johnny Woods and Conor McElduff.
The Kilkenny pair will be desperate to make it third time lucky but Shane O’Neill will be just as determined to get his hands on an All-Ireland intermediate gold medal after a lot of near misses in recent years. Shane would be very deserving of an intermediate title at this stage, while Sean Kerr is hoping for an All-Ireland intermediate winner’s medal at the first attempt after stepping up impressively as minor champion this season.
Ryan Mullan and Johnny Woods will be favourites to take the All-Ireland under-21 doubles title back to Tyrone for a third time on Saturday when they also face Kilkenny, the Tyrone combination having produced a brilliant semi-final win over the title favourites from Clare. Ryan and Johnny were outstanding winners of the All-Ireland minor doubles title three years ago and will be keen to end their under-21 campaign as champions. They are two outstanding players in their own right and have always clicked superbly together, and they should have too much talent for Kilkenny’s Brian Mahon & Emmet Landy on Saturday in Kingscourt.
Breacach will also be involved in one of the ladies doubles finals on Saturday as Michelle Warren and Cloideach Donaghy go for the ladies junior b doubles title against Kilkenny or Roscommon. It will be a difficult task for the Tyrone girls but Michelle will be so determined to make up for her cruel defeat in the singles decider recently when she suffered a 21-20 tiebreaker defeat. Michelle and Cloideach are in with a good chance of victory if they can produce their best form on the day.
On Sunday, Tyrone will be represented in the silver masters category by Finbarr Fullen and Kenny Curran who will also find themselves up against a strong Kilkenny doubles team. Willie Holden and David Bourke will set out as favourites but the Tyrone partnership have been playing well this season and have built up a lot of doubles experience in recent years, with their recent semi-final win down in Cork showing how much they are determined to go all the way this time. The Loughmacrory men can be guaranteed to push the Leinster champions all the way and it certainly has the makings of a close battle.
After this weekend the 40×20 season reaches a big climax the following weekend in Galway with Tyrone in the running for some of the big prizes at the Irish junior nationals event. That action will conclude the 40×20 action for the 2017 campaign.
- Click Here for a Review of the GAA Handball All Ireland Singles 40×20 Championships
- Click Here for Review of Tyrone GAA Handball Juvenile Singles 40×20 Championships
ALL-IRELAND 40×20 DOUBLES FINALS 2017
Saturday 22nd April Kingscourt at 10am
Intermediate doubles: Tyrone (Shane O Neill & Sean Kerr) V Kilkenny (Ciaran Neary & Brendan Burke)
Under-21 doubles: Tyrone (Johnny Woods & Ryan Mullan) V Kilkenny (Brian Mahon & Emmet Landy)
Ladies junior b doubles: Tyrone (Michelle Warren & Cloideach Donaghy) v Roscommon (Siobhan Tully & Linda Connolly) or Kilkenny (Aoife Walsh & Margaret Purcell)
Sunday 23rd April in Kingscourt @ 10am
Silver masters b doubles: Tyrone (Kenny Curran & Finbarr Fullen) v Kilkenny (Willie Holden & David Bourke)