Tuesday 27 September 2016

McCarthy and Kennedy renew epic rivalry

Paul Fitzpatrick

Published 10/09/2016 | 02:30

13 September 2014; Robbie McCarthy, Westmeath. M Donnelly All-Ireland 60x30 GAA Handball Men's Open Senior Singles Final, Robbie McCarthy, Westmeath v Eoin Kennedy, Dublin. Abbeylara, Co. Longford. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
13 September 2014; Robbie McCarthy, Westmeath. M Donnelly All-Ireland 60x30 GAA Handball Men's Open Senior Singles Final, Robbie McCarthy, Westmeath v Eoin Kennedy, Dublin. Abbeylara, Co. Longford. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

Robbie McCarthy puts his MyClubShop.ie All-Ireland 60x30 senior singles title on the line this evening at Croke Park when he meets Eoin Kennedy.

  • Go To

And while the pair have met in seven successive finals already, this year's decider is no less appealing for handball fans, who are expected to turn out in large numbers as the final returns to HQ for the first time since 2010.

Theirs has been the most engaging rivalry on the handball scene in recent years.

Dubliner Kennedy (37), the nine-time champion, defeated McCarthy - eight years his junior - in the 2009 and 2010 finals, before the Mullingar naval recruit gained the upper hand in the following three championships.

The duo traded titles in 2014 and 2015 but McCarthy (pictured) goes in tonight as hot favourite, having shown impressive form when dismantling former Limerick footballer Seamus O'Carroll in straight games in the semi-final.

Kennedy, who dashed from the court to hospital as he had just become a father for the first time, held off a late rally from Brian Carroll of Meath in his semi-final.

But the Dubliner has rarely been beaten in his home alley.

The programme begins at 3.0 with Kilkenny's Shane Dunne talking on Galway's Diarmuid Mulkerrins in the minor singles final, with Dunne vying to win a title his late county man Michael 'Ducksie' Walsh won three years in succession in the early 1980s.

Poignantly, Walsh was on top of his game before his sudden death last month and defeated Kennedy in the final of the Irish Nationals, a pre-championship warm-up tournament, just weeks before his untimely passing.

Meanwhile, Cork's Catriona Casey will meet Limerick left-hander Martina McMahon in the ladies' senior singles final in the curtain-raiser to the main event.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport