40×20 Leinster Interclub Glory for Ballymore Eustace
The 40×20 Handball season kicked off as usual with the team of 4 Interclub competition, and Ballymore Eustace entered a team in the Junior B grade. They made steady progress through the early rounds defeating Kilmyshall of Wexford and Tinryland of Carlow before facing O’Raghallaighs of Louth in the semi-final. They saw their challenge off as well and set-up a Leinster Final against St Brigids of Dublin, the game was played in Leixlip on the 8th of November.
In this handball format, every ace counts and the totals of all games are added to arrive at the winner. The Ballymore team on the night was Myles Carroll, Gary Bolger, Ivan Carroll and Jamie Balfe with subs Stephen Smullen and Ciaran Thackaberry. The first of the singles games went to St Brigids, with their man Rob Farrelly playing well against Myles Carroll.
In the second game Myles chased down everything and gradually started to wear the Brigids man down, Myles won the second and after 2 games St Brigids were ahead by 1 with a score line of 15-9, 10-15.
In the Doubles Ivan and Gary were slow out of the blocks, and the Dublin pairing went into an early lead before the Ballymore lads got up a full head of steam. With every ace counting they battled hard before going down 12-15 in the first.
In the second game the Ballymore pairing went full pelt from the start, their calling and communication was fantastic ensuring that they covered each other really well. They served for game at 14-4 and it looked like they’d have a lead to take into the final singles. The Brigids men however got back in and clawed their score back to 11 before Gary and Ivan finished it, 15-11. This meant after the first Singles and the Doubles match the scores were tied, 51 aces each. It all hinged on the final Singles between Jamie Balfe and James Smith.
Understandably tensions were high and the first game was close, the Dublin man causing Jamie difficulty with a tricky spin serve. Jamie though didn’t panic and applied pressure of his own, mixing round the house and power serves to keep his man guessing. Jamie came out on top in the first 15-12 meaning Ballymore had a 3 point lead after 5 games.
In the 6th and final game it was as though Jamie found another gear, he applied relentless pressure with the serve and from open play he killed the ball at any opportunity that arose, readily beating the St Brigids man 15-5 and clinching the Leinster title for Ballymore, 81-68.
The team are now are through to the All-Ireland semi-final on the 2nd December,