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Handballers shine in National League football and hurling games

It was another busy weekend of action for handballers in the football and hurling National Leagues. Most counties have at least one current or former handballer in their squad and they continue to impress.

Top of the class this week was leading dual star Billy Drennan, who bolstered his reputation with a superb National League debut for the Kilkenny senior hurlers.

The Galmoy man scored 1-8 (7f) as Kilkenny defeated Antrim by 1-18 to 0-15 in their National League opener in Corrigan Park, Belfast.

Former Cats star Paul Murphy tweeted: “Billy Drennan impressive at corner forward building on his excellent U20 AI Final performance. Paddy Burke Antrims best player today - kept driving forward with ball trying to lift the team. Kk will be happy with those points, Corrigan Pk not am easy place to grind a win”

Also in hurling, Clare's Mark Rodgers bagged 2-2 in the Banner's one-sided win over Westmeath. The young attacker, like his Kilkenny counterpart, is a very talented handballer who won a Minor Doubles All-Ireland title in 2018.

Elsewhere, Saval handballer Pat Havern had a fantastic outing for the Down senior footballers, coming up with late scores as they defeated Antrim in Newry.

Journalist Cahair O’Kane of the Irish News wrote: “Down trailed almost the whole night but snatch the win away from Antrim at the death. Pat Havern is one of the country's in-form and most improved forwards at the minute. Serious animal of a man.”

Tyrone were well served by Cormac Munroe and Darragh Canavan in their comfortable win over Donegal, reporting: "Tyrone displayed creativity in attack, with Darragh Canavan’s defence-splitting assist sending Cormac Munroe in to score."

Michael Kiely and Darragh Lyons both started for Waterford hurlers in their draw with Dublin, with Michael chipping in with 0-2.

Donal Wrynn, the 2012 All-Ireland 40x20 Minor Singles champion, is the current Leitrim senior football captain and his goal proved crucial in their three-point win over Leitrim in Ruislip.

Dessie Conneely from Galway, All-Ireland U15 champion in 2013 and a member of the Moycullen club, came off the bench to score 0-3 for the Tribesmen but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide against Roscommon.

Dara McVeety, former handballer with the St Pat’s club in Cavan, turned in a Man of the Match performance, scoring 0-3 from centre half-back in Cavan’s win over Tipperary while Cavan handballer Shane Briody lined out at corner-back in his side's win over Longford.

Interestingly, last year, Billy Drennan was the national U20 Hurler of the Year and Ruairi Canavan was the U20 Footballer of the Year. Back in 2015 at the Irish Junior Nationals, Billy won the 11&U doubles title in Cavan and Ruairi won the 11&U plate.

We are sure to have missed a few - please let us know in the comments. Thanks to those who have been in touch!


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