Cork starlet Catriona Casey will make her first appearance in a senior ladies final next month after an inspiring display to oust former 60x30 champion, Kerry’s Ashley Prendiville in mid-week.
Teenager Casey has won every possible honour in the game through the junior ranks which includes the USA 19 and under title and has been making her mark in the highest echelons ever since.
She easily accounted for Amy Corrigan (Mayo) 21-3, 21-3 in the quarters before overwhelming former singles and doubles winner, Prendiville in three games at Broadford, Limerick.
The silky smooth Casey showed all her class in the opening exchanges and grabbed the first game 21-13 but her Kerry opponent then proved why she has a couple of senior singles and doubles titles safely tucked away and levelled affairs after securing game two 21-16.
That didn’t deter the talented Casey though who was then able to control the third, winning 21-9 and advance to her first senior ladies final.
Casey said: “I'm delighted to reach my first senior final and I'm really looking forward to it. No doubt it will be great experience, which will hopefully stand to me in the years to come.
“Obviously Ashley (Prendiville), as a previous winner, was a big obstacle in the semi-final but my quarter final performance gave me confidence and I felt I didn't have much to lose going in to the game. I was happy enough with how I played in the semi, however there is definitely room for improvement before the final and I hope to learn from my mistakes, particularly in the second game.”
She now can look forward to the 2012 GAA Handball Ladies open final in Thurles in August when she will meet with the winner of Wicklow’s Shauna Hille,y who clashes with Mayo’s Pauline Gallagher this weekend.
Casey will now switch her attention to the doubles code this Saturday when she teams up with Aishling O'Keefe to take on Roscommon pair Leona Doolin and Katie Costello in the quarter final. A win for the ladies from the Rebel County would pit Casey against Prendiville once more as Kerry’s Ashley and Cornelia Prendiville lie ahead for the victors in the last four.
Action also gets underway in the 2012 GAA Handball men’s open doubles this weekend and favourites to retain their title, Wexford’s Barry Goff and Colin Keeling, have already booked their quarter final places. Ironically they will meet fellow county colleagues Gavin Buggy and Paul Lambert in that encounter next month.
Four sides currently in the draw have previously lifted the most coveted softball doubles prize but Limerick’s Seamus O’Carroll and CJ Fitzpatrick are one side that has never done so but they may be the ones to emerge victorious in September.
The Cappagh club men have both progressed to the men’s open quarters showing first-rate form in recent weeks and have already tasted success in the big alley back in June when they won their first senior titles in the hardball.
O’Carroll won both men’s open hardball singles and doubles and looks like he will provide a severe test to eight time singles winner, Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy, when they match up in the quarters.
Alongside Fitzpatrick, who enjoyed a huge win over Kilkenny legend Ducksy Walsh last weekend, the Limerick side should progress at Thurles over Kilkenny’s Nicholas Anthony and Brian Manogue.
Former champions, Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy and Egin Jensen, have a tricky assignment against Tipperary’s Ger Coonan and Fergal Collins in Talbots Inch, while Walsh will be hoping to make amends for his early exit in the singles when Kilkenny go head to head with Limerick’s Paul Hedderman and Paul Herr in Cashel.