Kennedy’s doubles glory

by Gazette Reporter
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HANDBALL hero Eoin Kennedy landed his fifth All-Ireland doubles title last Saturday to add to his absolute mountain of medals and titles over the years.
The St Brigid’s man paired up with Carl Browne for the first time in a doubles final and the Dublin pair beat Kilkenny duo Ciaran Neary and Michael “Ducksy” Walsh after a dramatic three games in the 60×30 softball final Abbeylara.
The final saw two experienced heads team up with two relatively new faces on the scene as Kennedy was the man to end Walsh’s dominance on the Irish scene back in 2002. It was the Kilkenny duo who started the better however, comfortably winning the first game 21-11.
The Dubs fought back, however, winning a dramatic second game 21-19 to bring the match to a tie-break before winning the final game 21-11, much to the delight of the Dublin support.
“We were pretty relieved after the third game to be honest,” said Kennedy speaking to GazetteSport after the win.
“We lost the first game quite heavily and then we were 19-18 down in the second, so I suppose we were quite lucky to come back, but we worked extremely hard. Once we won the second game I was confident we could get the job done.”
The win came just a week after Kennedy was beaten in the senior singles final by Robbie McCarthy and the Brigid’s man was glad to have the chance to bounce back so quickly. “I was badly beaten in the singles the week earlier; it was probably my worst defeat to be honest,” he said.
“Naturally that drives you on a little bit more to win the doubles and having it come straight after ended up being a bit of a blessing in disguise, because I had no time to dwell on the defeat I was straight into another final.”
The experienced Kennedy praised his relatively new partner Browne and is confident the pair can go on and add more titles.
“It’s our second year playing together but this was our first big final and we know now we can go on and do great things together. Carl’s an excellent player who is very hungry for success. You could see how much this meant to him at the end, it being his first win.”
Between various quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals, Kennedy has played competitively for the past seven weekends and revealed he is now off on a well-deserved break before returning to the action.
“It was a really tough few weeks,” he said. “Seven competitive weekends in a row takes its toll on you and it can be hard to recover but it’s also what you train so hard for.
“You want to play the big games, the tough games, and the doubles semi-final was incredibly tough, two and a half hours it lasted, the week before the singles final. But it’s done now and I’ll go on holiday and come back again.”

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