Ulster 60x30 Singles title for McManus
It was a week of mixed fortunes on the local handball scene, with a few close defeats and one championship title coming back to the county.
Pride of place went to St Pat’s right-hander Cian McManus, who claimed the Ulster Junior B Singles crown against Monaghan’s Stephen Shanahan in Kingscourt on Saturday.
Former Fermanagh senior footballer McManus lost to the Bawn clubman, a native of Limerick, in an agonising 11-10 tiebreaker in the Ulster 40x20 singles championship. On this occasion, Cian made amends to lift his first adult provincial singles title.
McManus found himself facing gameball in the first as the skilful Shanahan led 20-17 but the St Pat’s man clawed it back and finished out the game 21-20.
In game two, he played great stuff as his fitness came to the fore, running out a 21-4 winner. He will now face Connacht opposition in the All-Ireland semi-final.
McManus had a very tough semi-final against Virginia’s Paddy O’Reilly the previous Tuesday. O’Reilly won the first game 21-5 and was well ahead in the second before McManus ground it out 21-18 and the younger man was that bit fresher in the tiebreaker.
In the other semi-final, Michael Smith played superbly against Shanahan. The Killinkere footballer has been in fine form lately; he took the opener and competed strongly in the second, opening a 14-13 lead, before Shanahan found a winning serve and managed to get over the line.
In Junior A Singles, Conor Owens ran into Tyrone’s Conor McElduff, a terrific all-round handballer who generally concentrates on the One Wall code. Owens started well but McElduff took charge and ran out a straight games winner; he subsequently won the final with ease.
Meanwhile, Cormac McMahon and Paul Fitzpatrick were both out of luck in Intermediate Singles semi-finals.
McMahon lost 21-15, 21-12 to Tyrone’s Ryan Mullan, a former All-Ireland finalist in this grade, while Fitzpatrick lost in an 11-4 tiebreaker to Tyrone’s Sean Kerr, winning the first 21-15 and losing the second 21-17.