Tyrone’s three flagbearers in this weekend’s All-Ireland handball championship semi-finals all suffered defeat at the hands of Connacht opponents in the west of Ireland today.
Caolan Daly, Seamus McCrory and Lisa McAleer all acquitted themselves well in their respective ties but ultimately bowed out of contention for All-Ireland honours.
Carrickmore’s Daly, fresh from captaining Queen’s footballers to the All-Ireland freshers title last week, faced a difficult task in Moycullen against Galway star Martin Mulkerrins in the intermediate singles semi-final, but made a bold bid to take the opening game and was very unlucky to lose by a single ace, 21-20.
After being so close to winning the opener, only to lose by the narrowest of margins, his job was even harder in the second and the talented Daly was unable to match the UCD student thereafter, eventually losing the second 21-12.
On the same bill in Moycullen, Brackey’s Seamus McCrory also competed strongly in the opening game of his over 35 singles semi-final against Galway’s Trevor Hannon, only to suffer a 21-17 defeat in the end.
After missing out in the opener, Seamus faced a tall order and despite his best efforts in the second there was no way back into the match for him as the Galway man made home advantage count with a 21-7 success.
Lisa McAleer was flying the flag for Loughmacrory and Tyrone in a busy programme of matches in Ballaghadereen on Sunday, and was up against another formidable opponent in the form of Mayo’s Pauline Gallagher in the ladies intermediate singles semi-final.
Lisa, still feeling the effects of a recent injury, took a while to get into the game and lost out in the first on a scoreline of 21-11, but then raised her game impressively and pushed the All-Ireland senior 60×30 doubles champion all the way in the second set.
Unfortunately for the Tyrone star, Gallagher sneaked over the line in the second, 21-19, to set up a final meeting with Cork’s brilliant rising star, Catriona Casey.
Tyrone’s hopes of All-Ireland 40×20 glory in the 2012 adult championships now rest with the two doubles teams who will be in action against Connacht champions next weekend.
Gabhainn McCrystall and Pol Clarke will be staking their claim for a place in the All-Ireland minor doubles final, while Seamus McCrory will get another chance when he teams up with his brother Eamon in the over 35 doubles category, both doubles teams getting home advantage on this occasion.
Meanwhile, the cream of Tyrone underage talent will be out in force in Kingscourt next weekend when the county juvenile squad sets out in pursuit of silverware in a packed programme of provincial boys and girls finals in both singles and doubles.
More to follow later…