/ GAA

Robbie McCarthy wins Men's Open Singles

Updated: Monday, 23 Apr 2012 16:06

Robbie McCarthy claimed back-to-back Men's Open Singles titles
Robbie McCarthy claimed back-to-back Men's Open Singles titles

The Official Team Ireland Squad for the 2012 World Handball Championships was decided after a hectic weekend of Irish National finals.

The Men's Open Singles had it's share of surprises over a frenetic weekend of action which culminated in an impressive back-to-back title win for Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy.

The 2011 champion followed up this time around as he powered his way past Dessie Keegan (Mayo) and Brian Carroll (Meath) to set up a final test with Wicklow's Michael Gregan.

The Coolboy player had endured three tough encounters to make his first Open final, winning 11-3 in a tie-break against Killian Carroll (Cork), denying number 2 seed Joe McCann (Mayo) and then again going to a tie-break to defeat Cavan's Michael Finnegan 11-5 in the semis.

McCarthy really held all the aces in the final with precision serving and shooting, albeit Gregan was evidently not showing the same sharpness he had displayed in his previous round displays.

The US Open of Handball champion, thus took the honours on a 21-9, 21-9 scoreline on a day when both players were announced on the Official Team Ireland Squad in October.

In The Ladies Open, Antrim's Fiona Shannon had appeared in unstoppable form in the last twelve months, winning every major title both in Ireland and in the USA.

The St Paul's player had emphatic wins over Anna Spence (Kildare) and Marianna Rushe (Roscommon) to reach the final again but her county colleague, Aisling Reilly, was exhibiting the best form of her career to date in the other half of the draw.

Reilly served up devastating form to defeat Kerry's Ashley Prendiville and a 21-3, 21-15 semi-final win over Maria Daly suggested that the 2010 winner may well claim the 2012 honours.

In the final, Reilly was in devastating form and her incredible power and killshots had the All Ireland senior champion in trouble from an early stage, as she opened up a 15-3 lead.

Shannon did rally and claw her way back into contention to make it 14-18 before Reilly closed out the opening game.

The second game was all about the power passing and inch-perfect killshots being delivered by Aisling Reilly. She lead by 5-2 and from there never conceded another ace as she produced 16 unanswered points to claim the game, match and title on a 21-2 scoreline.

Elsewhere, Ducksy Walsh is back on the Official Team Ireland squad after his 21-12, 21-12 win over Meath's Tom Sheridan in the Masters Final.

Cork's John Herlihy secured his place on an Irish team for the first time when he denied Kildare's Michael Dowling in a very exciting Golden Masters Final, winning 11-6 in the tie break game.

The 23 & Under grades saw victories for Mayo's Stephen Cooney, who was forced to pull out all the stops in an epic encounter with Limerick's CJ Fitzpatrick, also winning 11-6 in the tie-break while Down's Lorraine Havern defeated teenager Martina McMahon (Limerick) in the Ladies 23 and Under final 21-15, 21-13.