ANOTHER busy week looms in the handball courts with a heavy programme of Munster 40x20 adult championship, together with first round games in the O'Neills sponsored All-Ireland Mens and Ladies Open singles and also heralds the opening rounds of Munster 40x20 Juvenile championship with Cork facing a first round clash with Kerry.
We start this week's preview of our involvement with Mens and Ladies Open Singles championship, in Mens Open Colm Jordan, Fermoy, opens his championship campaign with a clash with Clare player Niall Malone in Cappagh on Saturday at 4pm. Should he win that encounter he then faces fellow county man Ballydesmond's Brendan Fleming, again in Cappagh, on Sunday at 2pm. The winner here goes into the last 16 draw, which takes place next Monday, February 18.
On Sunday in Ladies Open Singles Aishling O'Keeffe will fly the flag when she travels to Offaly venue Crinkle to take on Wicklow's Patricia Doyle with the winner going into the hat for the ladies quarter-final draw, which is also scheduled for Monday next.
In Mens Open Doubles the Brendan Fleming/ Killian Carroll combination had a good win over Antirm's Owen McKenna/ Sean Devine at Leixlip last Sunday which ensures their place in the quarter-final draw which also takes place on Monday.
In Ladies Open Doubles Ballydesmond's Catriona Casey/Aishling O'Keeffe pairing are into the semi-final where they will face another joust with Kerry ladies Ashley Prendiville and Maria Daly on Saturday April 6.
Catriona and Ashley will be quietly confident going into that game following their facile victory over their great rivals last Friday in Broadford in Munster Ladies Senior Doubles Final, a win that will further boost their confidence.
Moving back to next Saturday in Mallow at 12 noon our Mallow Credit Union sponsored players open their Munster championship account with Kerry.
The full list of games in Mallow on Saturday is: Girls U12S: Sarah Kelly (Ballydesmond) v Danielle O'Donoghue, GU16S: Katie Fleming (Boherbue) v Aileen Twomey, Boys U12S: Cian O'Driscoll (Mallow) v Ruadhri O Beaglaoich, Boys U12D: Sean Murphy (Ballydesmond)/ Anthony O Connell (Mallow) v Tommy Quirke/ Con O'Riogain, Boys U13S: Jerry O'Sullivan (Boherbue) v Dara Keane, Boys U13D: Conor Walsh/Michael O'Malley (Mallow) v Daniel Kelly/ Conor O Cinneide, Boys U15S: Oisin Hickey (Kilworth) v Keelan Brosnan.
Cork players in following (boys) age groups are through to a semi-final meeting with Waterford U14S, U14D, U15D, U16S, U16D, U17S, U17D.
We are facing a busy week as well in Munster 40x20 adult championship with a big programme of games as all grades of championship reach the business end, players who have reached Munster semi-finals and finals are now putting in that special effort to get over the line win a Munster title and with it a place in the All-Ireland semi-final, but at this stage opposition is tougher and there is no easy game.
Cork's involvement for the coming week starts this Thursday in Galbally - all games have a 7.30 start - and the opening game is Diamond Masters A Doubles semi-final in which Paddy Buckley, Mallow, teams up with Conna player Chris Hurley to take on Tipperary Paddy Collins/Jim Quinn. This will be followed by Over-70 Singles Final in which Pat O'Brien, Liscarroll, plays Waterford's Mossy Butler.
On Friday spotlight switches to Cashel with both semi-finals of Silver Masters B Doubles, which feature Conna pair Pat Clancy/ Barry O'Regan against Clare Michael Hogan/Kevin O'Brien and Ballydesmond/Boherbue pairing Paul Kerins/Danny Lenihan taking on Tipperary's Anthony Robinson/ Paul Keane.
On Saturday the spotlight switches to Kerry venue Glenbeigh for a game at 2pm Ballydesmond pair John Casey/Denis Quinn take on Kerry Jack O'Shea/Rory O'Connor in Junior B Doubles semi-final.
On Sunday in Mallow another afternoon fixture features both semi-finals of Junior Doubles opening with the meeting of Cork pair Shane Hedigan, Liscarroll/ Donnacha O'Dea, Ballydesmond with Clare Seamus Lawlor/Jimmy close, the second semi-final in Mallow is the clash of Waterford v Tipperary.
On Monday evening we have dual involvement at the Galbally and Broadford venues, Galbally hosts a double header of two Munster Finals with Cork interest in the second game in which Ray Norris, Mallow and Sean Daly, Liscarroll team up to take on Tipperary Eamonn Spillane/Gerry Foley in Emerald Mas B Doubles.
In Broadford Danny Lenihan, Boherbue plays Denis McCarthy, Limerick in Silver Masters B Singles Final.
On Tuesday evening we are doubly involved and could have a third engagement depending on results. Starting with Broadford in Golden Masters A Doubles Final John Hedigan, Liscarroll and John Herlihy, St Finbarrs face Tipperary or Clare. In Nenagh in Ruby Mas Doubles semi-final Liscarroll pair Dan O'Brien/Pat O'Brien take on Clare Jimmy Walsh / PJ Counihan.
In Enda Ahern, Boherbue and Ken O'Neill, Mallow win their Over 35 B Doubles semi-final v Limerick 2 pair then they will face Limerick 1's John Noonan/Pat Doody in Cappagh on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday evening in Fermoy in Ruby Mas Singles semi-final Michael Jordan faces Tipperary's Jim Ryan. We could also be involved on Wednesday evening in Minor Singles Final that of course depends on how Mallow's Ryan Harkin and Liscarroll's Michael Hedigan fare against Clare in the semi-finals.