A new name has been added to the list of senior champions in Munster after Limerick’s Seamus O’Carroll toppled one of the strongest senior campaigners in the southern province.
O’ Carroll, who represented his county in all three GAA codes in 2011 secured his first Munster 40x20 victory at senior level without dropping a game as he ousted Cork’s Colm Jordan 21-18 21-9 in the quarters before accounting for Kerry’s Dominic Lynch 21-13 21-14.
The deciding match up brought O’Carroll together with Ireland’s most promising junior talent, Mallow’s Killian Carroll.
The Cork star, who recently claimed his third USHA Junior National gong in Tucson in December, had also reached the final of the third annual John Gaffney senior event in January.
That didn’t deter the Cappagh club man whose intense winter training programme paid dividends at the conclusion of his Munster crusade.
The Cork teenager dominated the early proceedings and jumped into a 7-1 lead but O’Carroll then took 20 of the next 29 points to win the opening game 21-16.
After the restart, the Limerick man continued to utilise his power and accurate offensive attack to good effect which ensured his first Munster 40x20 senior championship, winning game two 21-10.
O’Carroll said: “In the final I was up against Killian Carroll of Cork and this guy is definitely one to watch out for in the future.
“He’s a great athlete and a brilliant player for his age as has been proven from his recent results in the states at the US Juniors, the Ballaghaderreen tournament and last weekend’s Munster Championship.
“In the first game I started very slow and was 7-1 down. I knew I just had to stay in touch at the start because I knew as the game went on that my power and the fitness from the winter training with the Limerick Senior Footballers would kick in.
“I won a tough first game 21-16 and in the second game I got more into my rhythm and got my serving going and that along with my power and kill shots won out 21-10.”
O’Carroll tasted senior glory in 2011 in the senior hardball code when he reached the singles and doubles finals but faltered to the hands of Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy and Dublin respectively.
He is relishing the upcoming 40x20 senior series but believes that no one will stop Cavan’s Paul Brady from bagging his eighth successive senior GAA Handball crown.
O’Carroll added: “I was over the moon when the final ended and especially after last year’s disappointment I wanted to come back better this year and win my first senior singles title. I have won the Munster senior doubles this past two years and it was nice to finally get that single’s accolade.
“This is my first senior Munster title and hopefully it’s not the last. It’s probably been my main aim since I grew up watching the likes of Tony Healy, John Herlihy and Dominick Lynch competing for the title.
“Looking forward I feel confident heading into the All-Ireland Championship and I think anyone outside of Paul Brady is beatable on the day and there seems to be no stopping that man yet.”
In Ulster last weekend, Cavan’s Brady controlled his final opponent, Antrim’s Ricky McCann 21-7 21-6. This was the current world champion’s first outing in singles competitive action since his final win last April.
In Connaught, Mayo’s Joe McCann took the honours with victories over Roscommon’s Chris Doolin and Galway’s Martin Mulkerrins before beating fellow Ballaghaderreen club man, Stephen Cooney in the final 21-3 21-15.
In Leinster, the 2011 senior softball champion, Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy is favourite to prevail and he is recognised as the key challenger to Brady’s throne in the coming months.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in Atlanta last weekend, Armagh’s Charlie Shanks, now based in New York, continued his rise in the USA standings after reaching the semi-final with wins over Emmett Peixoto (Boston, MA) and nine times USA Open winner, David Chapman (Weldon Spring, MO).
The 2010 and 2011 40x20 senior runner up, then fell short against California’s Naty Alvarado in the last four.