Roberts has made big impact since his return
HE MAY only have returned to the game in the past two years or so, but already Kilmyshall player Pádhraic Roberts has made an impact at both county and provincial levels with a series of fine performances since his comeback to the courts.
The latest came at Borris on Saturday night when he faced Larry Brennan (Laois) in the opening round of the Leinster Junior 'B' singles championship.
The midlander would have been the slight favourite to advance to round two but Roberts had other ideas. After he had edged out Brennan 21-17 in a really tight first game, he took command of the second to coast home 21-8 for an impressive victory.
The hard-working Roberts, who is also Secretary at the newly re-formed Kilmyshall club, now hopes for a good run in this perennially congested grade.
He will be joined in round two by David Kenny (Castlebridge) who accounted for Garry Delaney (Kilkenny) by a facile 21-8, 21-4, in the process laying down a marker to all with pretentions on this title.
Last year's Glen Fuels handballer of the year, Darren O'Toole (Coolgreany) has made a terrific start to his county Senior singles campaign with two fine victories in his opening league games. He began by coming from behind to beat Jason Murphy (Castlebridge) 19-21, 21-18, 21-8 at Bree on Thursday last and then followed up with a surprise win over Peter Hughes (Ballyhogue) at Coolgreany on Sunday.
And while his victory over Murphy was expected, it was his 14-21, 21-12, 21-13 win over the fancied Hughes that has all but cemented his place in the county semi-finals.
The Ballyhogue player is operating at a higher level on the inter-county scene but O'Toole has never one to respect reputations and he set about the task in admirable fashion.
He did play second fiddle to his accomplished opponent in that first game but his power and extreme fitness levels eventually did pay dividends as he dominated thereafter for a hard-earned but fully-deserved win.
Also in the Senior championship, the holder, Gavin Buggy (St. Joseph's) got his defence of the title under way with a no fuss 21-12, 21-4 eclipse of the aforementioned Peter Hughes at Bree on Thursday, and for the umpteenth time he produced a championship performance of considerable quality.
Buggy takes the domestic programme very seriously and this continues to be reflected in the way he plays. He remains the man to beat.
Elsewhere in the county championships, David Redmond and Tony Breen (Templeudigan) proved too strong for a game Seán Stanners and Ian Curran (St. Martin's) in the Intermediate doubles played at St. Joseph's.
Meanwhile, in the Masters 'B' singles there were wins for Mick Carty (St. Joseph's) over Kevin Doyle (Davidstown) 21-13, 17-21, 21-14, and Phil Coleman (Ballymitty), a 13-21, 21-7, 21-12 winner against Tom Cummins (Horeswood).
In the women's Junior singles the experienced Anne Boland (Templeudigan) used all her guile to eventually see of the challenge of the up and coming Róisín Walsh (St. Joseph's) as she came through 12-21, 21-10, 21-5.
Results from the county Juvenile championships were - girls Under-10: April Moran (Ballymitty) beat Lillian Condon (Ballymitty); Lucia Merrigan (Coolgreany) beat Aishling Hennessy (Ballymitty); Jody Keeling (St. Joseph's) beat Stacy O'Rafferty (Coolgreany).
Girls Under-11: April Moran (Ballymitty) beat Shauna Owley (Coolgreany).
Girls Under-14: Andrea Carley (St. Joseph's) beat Lucia Merrigan (Coolgreany).
Boys Under-10: Ryan Moran (Ballymitty) beat Evan Sweeney (St. Joseph's); Eoin Roche (Ballymitty) beat Mylie Connors (Coolgreany); Rory Dobbs (St. Joseph's) beat Conor Honan (Coolgreany); Seán Connolly (Templeudigan) beat Evan Sweeney (St. Joseph's).
Boys Under-11: Ryan Boland (Coolgreany) beat Conor Dobbs (St. Joseph's); Ruadhán Redmond (Coolgreany) beat Aaron Dempsey (St. Joseph's); Ben Keeling (St. Joseph's) beat Shane Kingston (St. Martin's); Ben Keeling (St. Joseph's) beat Ruadhán Redmond (Coolgreany); Shane Kingston (St. Martin's) beat Aaron Dempsey (St. Joseph's).
Boys Under-12: Cian Byrne (Bridgetown) beat Eoin O'Connor (Ballymitty); Jake Kelly (Coolgreany) beat Eoin O'Connor (Ballymitty); Cathal Connolly (Templeudigan) beat Cian Byrne (Bridgetown).
Boys Under-13: Sam Cody (Coolgreany) beat Pádraig Lacey (Ballymitty); Colm Kiely (St. Joseph's) beat Daragh Hayes (Oulart); Pádraig Lacey (Ballymitty) beat Rory Cassidy (Bridgetown); Conor Kehoe (St. Joseph's) beat Dorian Reville (Ballymitty); Gavin Lawlor (Barntown) beat Ciarán Cullen (St. Joseph's).
Boys Under-15: Adam Hanrahan (Castlebridge) beat David Murray (Bridgetown); Killian Power (Ballyhogue) beat Páraic Reville (Bridgetown).
Boys Under-16: Gavin Connolly (Templeudigan) beat John Power (Coolgreany); Laurence Dunne (Kilmyshall) beat Kevin Shannon (Bridgetown); Kevin Shannon (Bridgetown) beat John Power (Coolgreany); Gavin Connolly (Templeudigan) beat Laurence Dunne (Kilmyshall).
Voting is continuing for the second annual Glen Fuels handballer of the year award and supporters of Gavin Buggy, Holly Hynes, Todd Hynes, Tommy Hynes and Galen Riordan have been logging on to www.glenfuels.com in their droves.
In alphabetical order the achievements of the contenders have been as follows -
Gavin Buggy: winner of Leinster and All-Ireland 60 x 30 Over-35 singles, Leinster 40 x 20 Over-35 doubles, winter league singles and county 40 x 20 Senior singles and Senior doubles.
Holly Hynes: winner of Leinster 40 x 20 and 60 x 30 Under-14 singles, county 40 x 20 and 60 x 30 Junior doubles, and county 40 x 20 and 60 x 30 Under-14 singles.
Todd Hynes: winner of All-Ireland 40 x 20 Cumann na mBunscoil Under-13 singles, Leinster 60 x 30 Under-13 singles, Leinster 40 x 20 and 60 x 30 team event, county 40 x 20 and 60 x 30 Under-13 singles and doubles.
Tommy Hynes: winner of Leinster and All-Ireland 60 x 30 Masters 'A' doubles and county 60 x 30 Senior singles and doubles.
Galen Riordan: winner of All-Ireland Minor hardball singles, Leinster 40 x 20 and 60 x 30 Minor singles, Leinster 60 x 30 Colleges Intermediate singles and county 40 x 20 Intermediate singles.
It will be interesting to see who follows in Darren O'Toole's footsteps as winner.