Thriller in Abbeylara see's 9th title for softball legend - Eoin 2014-09-14 22:13:00

All Ireland Senior 60X30 Final 2014

He defied the doubters, history and logic, but Dubliner Eoin Kennedy will arise tomorrow with a wry smile of satisfaction knowing he is the All-Ireland 60x30 Senior Singles Champion for the 9th time. At 35 years of age, very few people gave Eoin a serious chance of dethroning current three time champion Robbie McCarthy, despite wide spread acknowledgement that he is in great form this year. Coupled to the fact that he has fallen to McCarthy in the last three finals in two straight games, when McCarthy demolished Kennedy 21-5 in the first game today, no one could have expected what happened next.

McCarthy was nothing short of imperious in the first. He dominated from the off, upping the pace of the game with controlled fly shots, not giving Kennedy any time on the ball. A strong overhand in the 60x30 court can be a great defensive shot that can get you out of trouble, but McCarthy's is soo good it is a supreme attacking tool that allowed him to push Kennedy to deep court before being clincial with fly kills. McCarthy saw out the first game 21-5 in quick time, and based on that performance, looked as if there was no flaws in his game. Unstopable!

But Kennedy came out a changed player in game two, going 6-1 up. McCarthy fought back to 6-5, before Eoin made another break, going 9-5 ahead with his fisted kill shot with slight spin working a treat. Both players were showcasing incredible retrieval skills as the game progressed to 13-13. A brilliant left corner kill from deep cross court from Eoin took him to 16-14, and he followed this up with a back wall kill to make it 20-17. McCarthy showed resolve, forcing a side out twice, but at the three chance Kennedy made no mistake with a pass to win 21-17. This really brought the crowd alive, as they were about to witness the first tiebreak in the Mens Singles Final for almost a decade. 

Kennedy sensed victory against his younger opponent, and his mental strength shone through as he went 13-1 ahead in the third. McCarthy looked under the cosh and needed to change up his game quick. And he did! Left handed kills, a fantastic long range side arm kill, and a truly spectactular full body dive saw him close the lead to 9-13. A roar of encouragement left McCarthy's voice. he was not giving up his title without a fight! But as both men were on their feet, Eoin managed to make a mini break and went 19-12 ahead, before closing out for victory 21-12 in one of the greatest senior finals in recent times. 

See photos here; Eoin Kennedy 2014 Final

St Brigids GAA Club,
Russell Park, Navan Road, Dublin 15