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Lough Showdown Returns In Style
Lough Showdown returns in style as busy year continues…
Loughmacrory was the setting for a brilliant festival of one wall handball last weekend and will play host to some important fixtures this coming weekend with a busy programme of All Ireland 60×30 championship semi finals lined up.
And as the club stages five All Ireland semi-finals on Saturday afternoon, a group of twenty Loughmacrory players and supporters will be making their way to Wexford for the 2022 All Ireland softball feile event on Sunday.
Conor McElduff was the star attraction in the Lough Showdown last weekend as the Irish and European champion put his reputation on the line in the mens open one wall competition. And he certainly didn’t disappoint, eventually lifting his fourth Lough showdown trophy in a compelling title clash with England’s renowned one wall star, Luke Thompson.
It was the former European number one against the current number one and at 24 aces each, it was anybody’s title but the Tyrone man delivered the match winning point to thrill the large audience.
Conor immediately turns his attention to the 60×30 code as he takes on Galway’s Seamus Conneely in the All Ireland junior singles semi final this Saturday.
The ladies open title also stayed in Tyrone last weekend as Eilise McCrory saw off the quality challenge of former Irish champion Lorraine McNally who made an impressive return to the sport after a four year break.
Overall, handball was the big winner in the Lough Showdown as 244 players from all over the country competed wholeheartedly and socialised together in a wonderful environment.
There was a total of 292 matches played over 3 days and 36 winners trophies presented and the Lough was absolutely buzzing from start to finish.
With visitors from all corners of Ireland, there were trophies claimed by players from Wexford, Cork, Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Longford, Meath, Armagh, Down, Monaghan and Antrim in what was a really national affair.
Three of the main boys juvenile titles went the way of Wexford, Clare and Cork but Loughmacrory managed to keep the U10 and 17&U boys trophies at home thanks to the McAleer brothers, Mark and Gary.
In the girls juvenile grades, Loughmacrory took the girls 13 and under title thanks to Lucy McCullagh, with her clubmate Laura Duff pulling off a nail-biting 15-14 victory over Greencastle’s Caislin Tracey in the 15 and under final.
It was an all Greencastle final at 11 and under as Emma Conway saw off her clubmate Grace Teague in yet another exciting match.
Jodie Keeling from Wexford has been one of the top young players in Irish handball for years now and she lifted the 17 and under girls title as well as the ladies A title.
It was a spectacular team effort by the Loughmacrory club over the three days and there is no rest this week as nine young players, most of whom starred in the one wall code at the weekend, will represent the club in the All Ireland 60×30 feile division one programme in Castlebridge.
The Loughmacrory girls team of Laura Duff, Lucy McCullagh, Aine Curran and Cliodhna Toner will be aiming for a double All Ireland feile success when they take on holders Lahorna from Tipperary and Kilfane from Kilkenny. The girls made history by winning the 40×20 All Ireland division one feile title in June.
The Lough boys team of Ciaran McCrystal, Lorcan Meenagh, Pearse McDonald, Micheal McCrystal and Damhan Meenagh face a tough division one challenge against Talbots Inch, Windgap and Kilfane. Loughmacrory were the last winners of this title in 2019 courtesy of Eoin McElholm, Ruairi McCullagh, Gary McAleer and Thomas Duff but it is a young team this year taking on the top teams and they will be underdogs.
At Loughmacrory on Saturday the action will commence at 11am as Clare Conway (junior b), Conor McElduff (junior), Finbarr Fullen (golden masters A) and Shane O’Neill (over 35a) face up to tough opposition from Galway, Roscommon and Mayo as Ulster champions face Connacht champions in a number of 60×30 semi final ties.
Carrickmore pair Ryan Mullan and Cloda McNamee must travel to Galway and Roscommon respectively for their Intermediate and minor semi finals.