Leinster Handball Success for Browne and Kennedy! 2016-02-18 12:29:00

Browne and Kennedy Triumph in Leinster Senior Doubles

St Brigid’s Carl Browne and Eoin Kennedy came through a tough Leinster campaign to win their first Leinster Senior Doubles 40x20 title as a partnership. Crowned 2015 All-Ireland Senior Doubles 60x30 champions last September, the challenge faced by Browne and Kennedy was to see if they could replicate this success in the smaller 40x20 international court size.

In their quarter final they overcame a strong challenge by the Offaly pairing of David Hope and Conor O’Brien. The match, played on 9th February, at the St Brigid’s handball complex was won by the Dublin pair in a tough three game encounter. The St Brigid’s pair started the stronger and won the first game pulling away. The second game was very different with the Offaly players raising their standard and Browne and Kennedy showing signs of loss of focus, resulting in the Offaly pair establishing a strong lead of 15-5. The St Brigid’s pair fought back to level the game at 16 all but their effort came to nought as Hope and O’Brien won the game 21-18. The 5 minute break before the deciding third game enabled Browne and Kennedy to refocus and they came out very strongly in the third. Playing very decisive handball they raced into an 11-1 lead and eventually won the match 21-8 in the third to qualify for the Leinster semi-final.

Both semi-final and final were played at the Ballymore Eustace venue on Sunday 14th. The semi proved a real thriller with Browne and Kennedy winning the first game against their Wicklow rivals, Michael Gregan and Johnny Willoughby, 21-7 only to have fortunes reversed in the second which they lost equally decisively 21-7. The experience of the Dublin pair again showed in the third game. Trailing by what seemed an almost unsurmountable lead of 17-10, Browne and Kennedy raised their game to turn the match around and point by point cut away at the Wicklow lead. Through superb serving, retrieving and killing at every opportunity they prevented Gregan and Willoughby scoring again and the St Brigid’s players ran out eventual winners 21-17.

Following their two hour battle against Wicklow, Browne and Kennedy had to recover quickly to play the Kilkenny pairing of Brendan Burke and Ciaran Neary at 1pm in the final. This time they maintained their standard throughout the match to win in two straight games against their younger and less experienced opponents 21-16, 21-16.

Their Leinster success means that the St Brigid’s pair now go into the quarter finals of the All-Ireland series. The All-Ireland favorites have got to be Cavan’s Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan. However, based on their performances within Leinster the Dublin pair can expect to give a good account of themselves. Their attempt to emulate their big-alley success of 2015 is still on track. The 40x20 season will end in May and the Dublin players will then switch back their attention to the 60x30 code in an attempt to defend their big-alley title.

We wish them every success in the coming months.

St Brigids GAA Club,
Russell Park, Navan Road, Dublin 15