King Kennedy takes 20th title

September 07, 2009

Eoin Kennedy celebrates his victory over Robbie McCarthy
Dublin's Eoin Kennedy won his sixth consecutive All-Ireland Senior Softball Singles title on Saturday at Croke Park, where he defeated Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy. In taking the title, Kennedy also notched his 20th senior crown across all handball codes, having already amassed nine senior softball and eight senior hardball crowns, as well as a 40x20 senior singles and doubles All-Ireland. "It's as much a relief as it is joy to come out of that," said Kennedy in the immediate aftermath of his victory. "You never really think about the stats when you're playing, but to have taken my 20th senior title feels incredible." Kennedy opened the game with intent and took an early 2-0 lead before McCarthy edged into contention, hitting two sublime killshots. Kennedy then pushed into top gear and stormed into a 9-2 lead. The Dubliner looked to have unnerved his Lake County opponent, and despite McCarthy's best efforts, Kennedy showed just why he is the king of the big alley and picked aces at ease to go 15-7 up. McCarthy responded with a wonderful killshot to lift his loyal support but he managed to collect just two further points before Kennedy sealed the first game, 21-9. The second game served up an identical plot to the first, and while McCarthy played some impressive handball, he was unable to maintain the pace of his Dublin opponent, who took his seventh All-Ireland Senior title, with a 21-7 win. Having appeared in seven out of the last eight finals, All-Ireland showdowns in September have become an annual event for Kennedy, but complacency was never an issue. "When you're in a final, you forget about everything that went before, and you just think about getting over the finish line," said St Brigid's clubman. "Robbie threw everything he had at me, but thankfully I got certain points when I really needed them and came out on top." In the Minor Singles Final, Mayo's Stephen Cooney defeated Limerick's Padraig O'Carroll 21-14, 21-0 to take the county's first title since 1998. Kilkenny's Nicholas Anthony and Joe Walsh also recorded an emphatic 21-17, 21-7 victory over Galway's Ollie Conway and Alan Tierney in the Intermediate Doubles final at handball headquarters in Croke Park.

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