/ GAA

Cavan's Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan, booked their place in the Men's Open Senior Doubles handball final

Updated: Sunday, 01 Apr 2012 10:08

Review of handball semi-finals

Defending champions and top seeds, Cavan’s Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan, booked their place in the Men's Open Senior Doubles final of this year's GAA/O'Neill's All-Ireland 40x20 Championships.

They defeated Wexford aces Barry Goff (Castlebridge) and Colin Keeling (St. Mary's), in a hard-fought semi-final clash over three games at Cappagh, Co Limerick on Saturday.

Brady and Finnegan were the hot pre-match favourites to advance to this year's decider, but they were forced to pull out all the stops to overcome a stern challenge from the Model men.

In the first game, the score was level on several occasions before Brady and Finnegan hit their stride and forged ahead to close out on a decisive scoreline of 21-12.

The second game proved to be a much closer affair. Again, the score was level numerous times.

Goff and Keeling dug deep though, hitting a purple patch and despite the best efforts of Brady and Finnegan, the Wexford duo edged ahead to close out on a narrow scoreline of 19-21.

In the third game (tiebreaker), the scoring sequence followed a similar pattern to the first game, with the score level several times.

But then Brady and Finnegan began to display their full array of lethal kill shots and silken passing shots, allied to their trademark "rocket-like" serve, as they surged ahead to close out on an equally-decisive scoreline of 21-13 and claim a deserved victory.

In the second Men's Open Senior Doubles semi-finals last year's beaten finalists and second seeds, Meath aces Tom Sheridan and Brian Carroll (both Kells) defeated Mayo kingpins Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann (both Ballaghaderreen) over two games.

Sheridan and Carroll won the first by 21-14 and added the second on a scoreline of 21-20 to deservedly secure their berth in this year's final.

In the first of the Women's Open Senior Singles semi-finals, defending champion and top seed, Kerry starlet Maria Daly (Ballymacelligott), defeated young Roscommon ace Marianna Rushe (St. Coman's, Roscommon Town) over two games at Cappagh, Co. Limerick.

Daly took the first game on a scoreline of 21-15 but was then forced to pull out all the stops in the second game to overcome some stern resistence from a determined Rushe. She eventually edged ahead to clinch it on a narrow scoreline of 21-18.

In the second Women's Open Senior Singles semi-finals, Fiona Shannon (St. Paul's, Belfast) defeated clubmate Aisling Reilly in a thrilling encounter over three games at St. Paul's, Belfast, Co. Antrim.

Reilly edged the first game on a narrow scoreline of 19-21 before Shannon hit her stride and claimed the second and third (tiebreaker) games, on identical scorelines of 21-13, 21-13.