Eoin Kennedy broke modern records last weekend in Cashel by clinching his seventh senior hardball win at All-Ireland level.
Since 2002, Kennedy has been at the forefront of Irish handball and now boasts an incredible 26 senior titles overall. His success has been restricted in the past two years, however, due to work and study commitments, and after the final last week, Kennedy explained to GazetteSport that he is happy to be back.
“I feel refreshed again. I was sort of in and out of it for the past two years due to working and doing an MBA part-time, so it was really impossible to compete. I was trying to keep fit and do bits and pieces but actually competing is a whole different ball game. But it’s great to be back and to win something again.”
Kennedy won the tie convincingly enough against Meath player Dominic Lynch, but there was some drama right at the death. With the score at 20-15, and while scrambling to make a return, Lynch hit a high ball which the referee claimed hit the roof, meaning Kennedy won the game according to the rules. However, the decision was debated and Eoin showed his sportsmanship by allowing the point to be re-played before settling the tie for good minutes later.
On the incident, he said: “I was kind of sure it hadn’t, so I just said, look, I’ll re-play the point. But when you do that there is always that fear that the guy might come back and beat you, but it was the right thing to do.”
With the hardball season now complete, the softball season will begin shortly and Kennedy is looking ahead to his summer campaign.
“I’m just taking a few days off now and then I’ll get back into it ahead of the softball season for the summer, which will end around the same time as the football and hurling finals in September. That will be the focus.”
The softball season consists of singles and doubles tournaments, and Kennedy has a new doubles partner this time around in the shape of Carl Brown, and he is hopeful they can make a statement this summer.
“Carl has transferred in from Meath”, he said. “We should have a good go of it. There’s always four of five pairs that you think might have a chance of winning it. There’s a strong Meath pair and a good Mayo partnership, but I think we’ll have a good shot at it.”
The Brigid’s man will be confident going in to the softball season and will be looking to overcome rival Robbie McCarthy from Westmeath, who has beaten Eoin in the last three singles finals, after Kennedy had won the previous eight.