/ GAA

Antrim pair set for semi-final showdown

Updated: Thursday, 29 Mar 2012 12:25

Several big clashes are scheduled for this weekend
Several big clashes are scheduled for this weekend

Aisling Reilly and Fiona Shannon, two of Antrim’s best hanball exponents, will go head to head this weekend for a place in the 2012 GAA Handball senior final in early April.

An eight-time doubles and three-time singles champion, Shannon will be in buoyant form after regaining the doubles gong just seven days ago.

She collected an impressive sixth GAA Handball 40x20 senior doubles title alongside her sister, Sibeal Gallagher in Roscommon when they edged the 2011 victors, Kerry’s Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville, 21-17, 17-21, 21-16.

This weekend’s opponent and club mate, Reilly is still chasing her first All-Ireland senior singles medal but has scooped up nearly every other major honour within the game, including victories at the Irish Nationals in 2008 and the US Nationals and US Open in California in 2010.

Like Shannon, Reilly also enters the arena in confident form after ousting Cork’s Catriona Casey in three games 12-21, 21-14, 21-9 in the quarter finals.

Aisling Reilly and Fiona Shannon, two of Antrim’s best hanball exponents, will go head to head this weekend for a place in the 2012 GAA Handball senior final in early April.

An eight-time doubles and three-time singles champion, Shannon will be in buoyant form after regaining the doubles gong just seven days ago.

She collected an impressive sixth GAA Handball 40x20 senior doubles title alongside her sister, Sibeal Gallagher in Roscommon when they edged the 2011 victors, Kerry’s Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville, 21-17, 17-21, 21-16.

This weekend’s opponent and club mate, Reilly is still chasing her first All-Ireland senior singles medal but has scooped up nearly every other major honour within the game, including victories at the Irish Nationals in 2008 and the US Nationals and US Open in California in 2010.

Like Shannon, Reilly also enters the arena in confident form after ousting Cork’s Catriona Casey in three games 12-21, 21-14, 21-9 in the quarter finals.

The winner of the Reilly/Shannon encounter will then advance for a final meeting with either current champion Maria Daly of Kerry, who is chasing a three-in-a-row in the event. or Roscommon’s rapidly improving star, Marianna Rushe. That duo opening an intriguing Senior semi finals triple bill in Cappagh, Limerick.

The Mens Open Doubles semi-finals will then complete that programme with all eyes on Cavan’s Paul Brady after his incredible singles triumph last weekend.

He will be hot favourite alongside Michael Finnegan to progress to the men’s open doubles final when they collide with 2011 senior softball champions, Wexford’s Barry Goff and Colin Keeling.

Just seven days ago, Brady exhibited yet again why most handballing pundits regard him as the greatest Irish player to have graced the 40x20 alley.

Last Saturday afternoon, he captured his ninth senior singles gold medal in total and eighth in succession when he obliterated the highly gifted and talented Robbie McCarthy.


GAA Handball 40x20 All Ireland Open Semi-Finals:

Saturday 31 March, in Cappagh, Limerick:
1.30pm: LSS SF1: Kerry (Maria Daly) v Roscommon (Marianna Rushe)

2.45pm: MSD SF1: Cavan (Paul Brady/Michael Finnegan) v Wexford (Barry Goff/Colin Keeling)

4.00pm: MSD SF2: Meath (Brian Carroll/Tom Sheridan) v Mayo (Dessie Keegan/Joe McCann)

Saturday 31 March 2012, in St. Paul’s, Antrim:

5pm: LSS SF2: Aisling Reilly (Antrim) v Fiona Shannon (Antrim)