Boylan to hot for Murtagh in Ocean FM Handball final by Michael McGee
Leitrim’s Francis Boylan created a little piece of handball history when he became the inaugural Ocean FM Handball champion for 2012. The final was played in the Collooney handball court last Thursday evening. Leitrim’s Jamie Murray was the referee and he explained the rules to the two gladiators before the duo went into battle in the Collooney coliseum. Boylan the favourite made the early running and went into a big opening 8-1 lead. Murtagh found the going tough early on and his accuracy inÓgood positions let him down at crucial times. Boylan was the more economical when it came to score getting and he kept the scoreboard moving upwards. Murtagh as the opening game wore on came more into the contest but Boylan had a good cushion of a lead built up to let it slip. In an exciting finish BoylanÓgot three scores in a row to take the opening game by 15-9
Into the second game Boylan again went out in front. Murtagh adapted to the play much better in the second and certainly made the champion fight all the way. Mid way through the second game Murtagh hit a purple patch with 4 points in a row and Boylan looked decidedly shaky for the first time in the contest. Even his colleagues Michelle Gildea & Darragh Cox lent their support to the boy wonder Murtagh. Boylan looked rattled for the first time. The massive support in the Collooney cauldron erupted with a crescendo of noise Sligo, Sligo reverberating all over the handball court. This gave Murtagh great encouragement and he played his best handball in the final.
With the likes of Peter Heaney, Jamie Murray and Pat Wrynn Father of Donal Wrynn Leitrim’s Minor Singles All-Ireland championÓgiving their county hero Boylan every encouragement. The final was played like it was a World handball title at stake. Boylan’s determination was etched all over his face while Murtagh with the boyish good looks boosted by the huge Sligo support made in roads to the Leitrim’s man’s lead. Boylan managed to weather the Murtagh storm and like a bolt of lightning asserted control again. This time Boylan took a firm grip. In an exciting conclusion BoylanÓgot the all important winning scores to seal a thrilling victory by 15-12. Connacht Handball President Peter Heaney congratulated both players for an excellent exhibition of handball. The gallant David Murtagh was presented with the runners-up trophy by Peter Heaney. Leitrim’s Francis Boylan made it an historic double for Leitrim in the handball courts this week when he was presented with the Ocean FM Handball 2012 champion trophy. The event looks certain to become an annual event in the Sligo handball calendar.
31-Mar-12 by Colette Fox – PRO