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Robbie McCarthy takes third All-Ireland handball title on bounce

Updated: Sunday, 20 Mar 2016 16:07 | Comments

Robbie McCarthy prevailed once again in Cavan
Robbie McCarthy prevailed once again in Cavan

Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy bagged his third All-Ireland 40x20 senior singles title in a row when he defeated Armagh's Charly Shanks before a record crowd at Kingscourt, Co Cavan.

McCarthy (28) was in sensational form as he ran out a 21-13, 21-7 winner against the Lurgan man whom he had beaten just 21-20 in the third game in last year's final.

“It was always going to be about controlling the front of the court. I think last year I let him drive me back a bit; this time, I wanted to attack more, to serve and shoot. I missed a good few as well but I got a lot of good ones,” said McCarthy afterwards.

"It feels great to retain the title, to still be at the top with all these younger lads coming through. This year we put in a lot more work, physically and mentally, and we were better prepared. I was really up for it."

Elsewhere, Cork's Catriona Casey showed tremendous heart to wrestle the ladies' crown back from her great rival, current world champion Aisling Reilly of Antrim.

Reilly actually scored more points over the three games but the gutsy Casey timed her run to perfection and closed the match out in style.

Casey, who had lost both the All-Ireland and World Championships finals to Reilly last year, was on the back foot for most of the first game but stole it 21-20 and recovered from a 4-21 second-game loss to win the deciding set 21-9.

“When I heard during the week that it was my fourth final in a row, it only dawned on me that to lose three-in-a-row would be very hard to take. I tried not to over-think it but I was still nervous once the game started, but thankfully it worked out in the end,” said Casey, 22.

In the minor singles, Tyrone's Sean Kerr atoned for losing last year's final to see off Tadhg O'Neill of Cork in straight games.

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