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Semple Stadium Thurles To Hold All Ireland Handball Final 2010

Ducksy Walsh

Twenty-five years after making his senior break-through, Kilkenny legend, Michael ‘Ducksy’ Walsh returns to handball’s centre stage to contest the 2010 All-Ireland 60×30 Senior Doubles final. In 1985, the talented youngster began to mark his dominance on the Irish handball stage when he collected his first All-Ireland senior crown.

On Saturday next, at Semple Stadium, Thurles, Walsh will partner, Michael Clifford, as the duo go in search of senior doubles glory against Royal County pairing, Brian Carroll and Tom Sheridan, who are bidding to reclaim the title they won in 2008.

If last year’s meeting of these two sides is anything to go by, Saturday’s crowd will be treated to a spectacular show as Meath and Kilkenny renew rivalries. GAA Handball today announced that this clash is almost a sell-out.

Walsh has already amassed an incredible 10 senior doubles titles, and will also be honoured on Saturday as the jubilee winner of the Senior Singles title.

“I can honestly say if someone told me I’d be playing handball in 25 years when I won my first, I would have laughed. It’s lovely to be getting the jubilee award, but my concentration will be firmly fixed on the game on Saturday.” said Walsh.

He will collect his latest honour before the Intermediate Singles game and then don the colours of Kilkenny once again, where he will bid for his 39th All-Ireland senior handball medal.

“It’s an amazing feat and testament to the service of Ducksy Walsh to Irish handball. He’s given his life to handball and to be playing at the top level for that long is incredible.” said opponent, Tom Sheridan.

Sheridan is also a veteran of the big alley court, having won his first Senior Doubles crown in 1992. Since then, he has collected nine titles, but the wounds of last year’s defeat have not yet healed and the Kells man in anxious to make amends.

“We were very disappointed last year, but we’re back in a final, and that’s where we wanted to be,” said Sheridan.

This year’s championship saw four top pairings contest the penultimate stage, with any one of the combinations in the running for honours.

“I think it’s going to be a cracker of a final; last year, we came very close to the two lads and we’re hoping to really push them this year. I have the height of respect for Tom and Brian, they’re a great pairing and I have no doubt but that it will be a close affair.” said Walsh.

Incidentally, Sheridan and Walsh played together on International duty already this year, where they won the US Nationals Open Doubles title in Austin, Texas.
Both players have become great friends in recent years, but friendship will be left at the door on Saturday.

“It will be strange playing against Tom having played with him a number of times this year. It’s a very difficult game to call and there won’t be a lot in it.” said Walsh.

Programme for Saturday 18th September 2010, in Thurles, Co Tipperary reads:
12.15pm: LMS: Cork (Catriona Casey) v Mayo (Amy Corrigan)
1.30pm: MD: Limerick (Padraig O Carroll/Eamon Davern) v Roscommon (Mark Nally/Cian Connolly)
2.45pm: IS: Limerick (Seamus O’Carroll) v Mayo (Ollie Cassidy) or Kilkenny (Timmy Clifford)
4.30pm: Senior Doubles Final: Kilkenny (Ducksy Walsh/Michael Clifford) v Meath (Tom Sheridan/Brian Carroll)

Big screens will be set up in the Dome in Semple Stadium with free access to patrons and there is an open invitation to all local sports enthusiasts to come along.

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