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Tuesday 17 October 2017

A wonderful weekend

AS FAR as All-Ireland semi-final weekends go, it could not have gone any better for Wexford with a result of four wins from four, setting the county up nicely for the next couple of weekends with All-Ireland finals in prospect.

The Junior 'B' singles and doubles titles are now in Wexford's hands to lose after Paul Lambert and Peter Hughes excelled last week. In the singles semi-final played on Tuesday night in St. Coman's in Roscommon, Lambert (St. Joseph's) travelled well and played brilliantly in defeating Oisín Naughton in his own back garden.

The Wexford man began brightest in this contest and took the opening set in easy fashion on a 21-11 scoreline. However, the second game proved more difficult as Naughton, cheered on by the home crowd, began to up his game and he eventually took it 21-20.

'Curly' was not to be denied though and he took control again in the third set. His brilliant handball silenced the home crowd and he took the third set 21-12 to secure a final spot. In that final Paul will meet James Gavaghan from Monaghan, an unknown quantity, but 'Curly' will have his homework and ball work done before it arrives.

Lambert was joined by Peter Hughes (Ballyhogue) in the semi-final of the AllIreland Junior 'B' doubles, and once again the combination worked flawlessly.

Playing on home soil in Horeswood, the Wexford boys didn't disappoint the huge home crowd with a near flawless display against two very strong players from Roscommon, Shane Hennelly and Oisín Naughton.

The final scoreline of 21-13, 21-13 showed how dominant the Wexford pair were although, to be fair, the Roscommon boys never gave up but were unable for the handball of the home pair who now meet Cork duo Tom McDonagh and John McDonagh.

That doubles game was the second half of a double bill in Horeswood on Saturday night last, with Fintan Doyle and Declan Hart the first on the court for the home crowd in the Silver Masters 'B' doubles semi-final.

Brendan Judge and Aidan Bell from Mayo provided the opposition this time and once again the men from the west were not the winners as the purple and gold stood tall and played some brilliant handball.

Declan and Fintan are now playing together for the third season and winning a Leinster and losing an All-Ireland have been the high points in the past, but now they are in an All-Ireland final and hopefully they can see out the job.

The result on Saturday was 21-16, 2115, and in the final they will have a pretty daunting task against Stephen Roberts and Gerry Raffertry from Antrim who only dropped ten points in their semifinal win last week.

Ned Buggy was also on the glory trail last weekend as his bid for All-Ireland success in the Diamond Masters 'A' singles is now at the point of no return after a fantastic semi-final victory over Morgan D'Arcy from Galway, also on Tuesday night last in St. Coman's, Roscommon.

Ned has been in devastating form in this competition and his ruthless 21-13, 21-11 victory set him up for the All-Ireland final. Judging on this form it will take a big effort from Jim Ryan (Tipperary) to deny Buggy.

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