Masterclass from Roche

Report by Padhraic Roberts
Master B singles All Ireland semi final – John Roche (Wexford) v Michael Clerkin (Monaghan)
The Wexford man began the first game and made one ace before the Monaghan man took serve and then levelled the game at 1 each. The Castlebridge player then took serve and made two quick aces with passing shots down the left. Roche then kicked ahead in the first game with some excellent serving combined with hard hitting to lead 8-1 before loosig his toss. The Monaghan pIayer then made two aces beforw Roche powered a hard ball down the right to take control of serve. This proved to be the turning point in the first as Roche found his range and raced into a 13-3 lead. Clerkin then served a big high toss around the left but Roche hammered the ball down the left wall and retook serve. The Wexford man then played some lovely open handed shots to the rear of the alley which aided him to a 18-3 lead before loosing his toss. The Monaghan player made a couple of aces before Roche retook serve. Both players then exchanged aces until Roche took the first game on a scoreline of 21-5 , a well deserved victory on the first game.
So to the second game where the Monaghan player settled much better into his stride than he did in the first. The opening exchanges went mark for mark until the Monaghan man crept into a 6-4 lead before Roche took serve and made it 6 each. The Wexford player then found a good serve from the right that swung into his opponents left side coming across him. Roche lost his toss at 9-6 up and both players then exchanged serves before the Castlebridge player once again flexed his musles and raced into an 18-6 lead. Roche played some wonderful handball and was clinical at time when left near the front wall. The way the Wexford man was playing the crown knew there wss no was no way back for the Monaghan player. Once Roche regained serve he dispatched of his opponent in the second on a scoreline of 21-7. Overall Roche proved far too good on the day and was a well deserved winner. So onwards to an All Ireland final for the Castlebridge player who delighted the home crowd with some excellent handball.
John Roche (Wexford) &  Michael Clerkin (Monaghan)