Wednesday 23 October 2019

Casey aims for more glory after victory over great rival

Handball

McMahon had defeated Casey in two 21-20 third-game thrillers in the last two All-Ireland finals, but the Ballydesmond woman came roaring back to reclaim the crown here on a 12-21, 21-12, 21-19 scoreline. Stock photo: Pedro Sala/Getty Images
McMahon had defeated Casey in two 21-20 third-game thrillers in the last two All-Ireland finals, but the Ballydesmond woman came roaring back to reclaim the crown here on a 12-21, 21-12, 21-19 scoreline. Stock photo: Pedro Sala/Getty Images

Paul Fitzpatrick

Cork handballer Catriona Casey's rivalry with Martina McMahon of Limerick is arguably the most gripping in Irish female sport at present and the duo produced another epic in Saturday's O'Neill's All-Ireland Senior Singles final.

McMahon had defeated Casey in two 21-20 third-game thrillers in the last two All-Ireland finals, but the Ballydesmond woman came roaring back to reclaim the crown here on a 12-21, 21-12, 21-19 scoreline.

"Martina has had an amazing 12 months, which meant I had a pretty terrible 12 months, but I kept working hard to get back here," said a jubilant Casey (25).

"The rivalry is tough, but it just gives me more and more motivation. I think we both played well at times there and then not so well at other times. I feel I still have room for more, so hopefully there are more titles to come yet."

McMahon was sensational in game one, but Casey refused to wilt and, with pinpoint kills and some awesome retrieving, began to take charge to force a decider.

She added: "In the first game, Martina just served so well and I couldn't get into the game. I knew that I hadn't played my best and I felt I was getting better as the game went on. In saying that, I'm glad it didn't go on any longer."

Meanwhile, in the men's decider, Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy won his fourth O'Neill's Senior Singles crown with a reasonably comfortable win over Clare's Diarmaid Nash (21-17, 21-15).

In general play, there was little between the experienced duo, but the Mullingar right-hander edged the battle in the front court, where his uncanny deadweight paddle kills to either corner managed to negate the Banner man's attacking game.

Earlier, Eoghan McGinnity brought the Minor Singles cup to Monaghan for the first time with a 21-10, 14-21, 21-13 win over Clare hurler Mark Rodgers, while Kildare's Leah Doyle retained her ladies minor title against Galway camóg Niamh Heffernan (21-8, 21-16).

Irish Independent

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