Cork and Limerick duo ready for fresh battle in All-Ireland Senior Singles handball decider

Cork and Limerick duo ready for fresh battle in All-Ireland Senior Singles handball decider
Catriona Casey

By Paul Fitzpatrick

Just five weeks have passed since the World Handball Championships in Minnesota, with Limerick lefty Martina McMahon defeating Cork's Catriona Casey in the Ladies Open Singles final in that tournament.

Tomorrow, back on home turf, the pair will lock horns again, this time in the All-Ireland Senior Singles final in the traditional 60x30 code at Croke Park.

And, on the eve of the latest instalment of what has become a gripping rivalry, Casey - who defeated McMahon in the 60x30 final last year - admits that the defeat in the Worlds still hurts.

Asked how long it took her to get over that loss to McMahon, the Ballydesmond, Co Cork woman replied with a wry half-smile.

“I'll let you know when I do get over it,” she said. “Is it even something you get over? A longer break probably would have been more ideal, but I didn't want to miss the championship either, so here we are.”

Almost inevitably, the softball final has thrown up a Casey v McMahon decider. The handball world has been enthralled by their rivalry of late but Casey is not getting caught up in it.

“I don't listen to the talk, really,” she said.

“If it wasn't us, it'd be someone else. Obviously, I'd prefer to be converting more wins than losses. I'm just a competitive person, and want to keep getting better regardless.”

The ladies Senior Singles final will be on the same card as the Minor Singles between Daire Keane (Kerry) and Jack Holden (Kilkenny) while the men's final pits Dublin's Eoin Kennedy against champion Robbie McCarthy of Westmeath.

Now 39, St Brigid's clubman Kennedy's place in the history books is already secure.

“Nine titles or ten, my legacy doesn’t really change. That’s not what I’m here for. What you’ve won is what you’ve won, and as long as I’m enjoying it then I’m going to play,” he said.

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