A first For Ricky Barron and Robert Doyle as they take SMBD title
Written by Antoin Ó Braoin, Runai Contae
A long wait for a well deserved All Ireland medal ended for Ricky Barron at Crinkle yesterday when in partnership with Robert Doyle he captured the All Ireland SMBD by beating George Miller and Kevin Cox, Mayo in a cracking match at the Offaly venue. Barron who is also the current Chairperson of both the Leinster Juvenile Board and Wexford Juvenile Committee has been competing well at intercounty level for many years without experiencing the ultimate enjoyment of winning that elusive All Ireland medal.
For Doyle too it was a first winners medal that will be cherished by this nephew of John Doyle, Trinity who partnered the great John Ryan to numerous All Ireland titles back in the 1950s. Robert has only recently returned to the game following a long absence and despite receiving ongoing treatment for a niggling shoulder injury he has got himself into the kind of shape necessary to win this title. Robert is also the father of three young boys and along with his wife Helen are consummate handball people who make the sport a big part of their lives.
The Mayo men proved to be extremely fit and difficult opponents and with George Miller fresh from winning the GMBS title last week, confidence was not in short supply either in the Connacht champions camp. Indeed it was they who started the better to lead 8-2 but a run of ten consecutive points put Barron and Doyle 12-8 ahead before an equally impressive six points on the trot had Miller and Cox back in front. It was a game when servers were scoring in ‘chunks’ and after the Wexfordmen had levelled at 14-14 a further five points followed to set Barron and Doyle up for victory at 19-14. In contrast to what had been happening throughout the game Mayo’s next two serves yielded only a single point and Barron and Doyle duly served out the last two points for a 21-15 win.
The second was a cracking affair throughout with long rallies a feature of the exchanges. Barron and Roche came from 4-9 down to lead 13-9 and when they extended this to 17-11 it appeared all over. No so as Miller and Cox fought back over a long period of time in a match that was now providing terrific entertainment and excitement. The scores went from 17-11 to 18-13, 18-16, 20-16 and 20-19 before in a nailbiting finish Barron flattened one in the left hand corner and the fast and clever Doyle picked up two very low balls to see Wexford home.
All four players are to be complinted on providing a great game of handball played in the most sporting fashion. For Barron and Doyle it was a well merited success and one which their overall efforts over the season deserved.