Sunday 18 February 2018

McCarthy focused on final destination

When Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy takes to the court against Kilkenny's Michael 'Ducksy' Walsh on Saturday, any hero-worshipping will be left outside the alley.

The pair clash in the M Donnelly All-Ireland 60x30 Senior Singles semi-final in Abbeylara, Longford, and with an incredible 20-year age gap between the players, it will be a real battle of youth and experience.

"I'm both excited and nervous about the game," said McCarthy. "Having made the All-Ireland final last year, I know I have the ability to make it again but Ducksy is one tough customer and he's playing exceptional handball at the moment."

McCarthy was defeated by Dublin's Eoin Kennedy in last year's showdown at Croke Park, while Walsh came up short to Kennedy on two previous occasions.

As one of the legends of the game of handball, Walsh has been the hero of an entire generation of players, but McCarthy refuses to allow his opponent's status to hinder his chances of making an All-Ireland final.

"Ducksy is one of the best softball players of all time," said McCarthy, "but on Saturday I have a chance to get back where I want to be -- in the final -- and that's what I'm concentrating on."

In the second semi-final at the midlands venue, defending champion Kennedy takes on Wexford's Gavin Buggy.

The Model County man has shown great promise over the past couple of seasons but, with Kennedy bidding for a seventh consecutive crown, Buggy will need to pull out a massive performance to advance.

Irish Independent

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