OUR County Handballers continue to blossom as Armagh captured three Juvenile GAA All-Ireland titles in the one day.
April 8, 2012 will go down in history as the most successful juvenile day in Armagh GAA and a great day for Clann Eireann.
Four of the county’s finest handballers, after securing county and provincial glory, travelled to Kilkenny to contest three All-Ireland finals.
In the Girls U14 All-Ireland Doubles Clann Eireann duo Aoibhinn Henderson and Alana Doran defeated Clodagh Nash and Doireann Murphy (Clare) 15-4, 15-11.
Aoibhinn Henderson and Niamh Coleman captured the Girls Under 14 All-Ireland doubles title last year and amazingly, Aoibhinn has paved her way back, this time with current All-Ireland Doubles Colleges Champion, Alana Doran to seek back to back titles.
The doubles act romped their way through the Ulster Championship and their All-Ireland semi final to see Armagh contest the Girls U-14 Doubles title once again.
In the first game, it was all one-way traffic as the Clann Eireann girls were too strong for the Clare lassies.
Game two, however, was a great battle and kept the supporters from both counties on the ends of their seats the whole way to the end as the Orchard stars closed out game two 15-11 to become All-Ireland Champions.
Niamh Coleman, also of Clann Eireann, was successful in the Girls Under 14 All-Ireland Singles after beating Aileen Twomey (Kerry) 11-15, 15-9, 15-8.
Niamh who is no stranger to National finals, used all her court experience in the second and third games.
Undeterred after losing the first game, the 2011 All-Ireland Doubles Champion, 2012 All-Ireland Doubles Champion and 2010 Nationals Onewall Champion got into her rhythm in game two to seal a 15-9 win.
With one game each, all was to play for in the third, tie-break game.
The Armagh supporters were treated to a fine exhibition of 40x20 court play as they cheered on their young heroine to aid her in her 15-8 victory and become Girls Under 14 All-Ireland Champion.
Finally, in the Boys Under 15 All-Ireland Singles category Brian McAnenly (Eugene Quinn, Armagh) defeated Oisin Foley (Wexford) 12-15, 15-14, 15-5.
In his very first appearance at All-Ireland finals day, the young Eugene Quinn Handballer played with maturity which belied his years in capturing his inaugural All-Ireland title.
As the young model county handballer served in the second game for the Championship, Brian McAnenly dug deep to win the point and served out the game to take this most exciting final to a third game.
From the beginning of the tie-breaker, the Eugene Quinn youngster made it obvious that he wasn’t going to settle for second best and wearing his new Armagh GAA Handball jersey with great pride, his shooting and retrieving was much too sharp for his Wexford counterpart to deal with and alas, Brian McAnenly secured victory and became All-Ireland Champion.
Well done to everyone who took part and especially local girls Niamh, Aoibhinn and Alana who took home the All-Ireland Titles.
A special mention much go to their coach Peadar McMahon for putting the effort into guiding the Clann Eireann girls to victory.