Keith Armstrong shows real class to win All Ireland under 17 singles title
Written by Antoin Ó Braoin, Rúnaí Contae
With a performance that oozed class throughout the entire match Keith Armstrong produced his best display of the season to see off the challenge of Jamie Kelly, Galway in the All Ireland under 17 singles final played today at Talbots Inch.
This may have been the last match on a long day at the Kilkenny venue but those who waited witnessed a terrific exhibition of juvenile 60×30 handball at its best as the young Kilmyshall player showed maturity beyond his years to rescue a difficult situation and run out a hugely impressive 21-15, 21-6 winner
Kelly had come out on top when the two clashed previously in a wall ball event but this was 60×30 and this was a new Keith Armstrong. Keith did have the best of the early exchanges to lead 6-1 but Kelly was very competitive and when he levelled at 6-6 he was playing the type of handball needed to win this All Ireland title. Wexford supporters began to be really concerned when the Galway player continued this domination to forge 14-7 in front but Keith shored up his defences and showing terrific fighting spirit he got himself back into this All Ireland final just in time to prevent the first game slipping from his grasp.
Behind a good serve he began to control the court and what went on inside those four walls and as the chances were created he took them all with supreme authority. He had a great killshot into the right hand corner and he deployed this time after time until he levelled at 15-15. Jamie tried all he knew to stem the tide but Keith was rampant now and he finished by far the stronger to win 21-15. It was great recovery and a match changing move.
The second saw the Wexford youngster at his brilliant best and after the early stages had been fairly even he simply took charge of tie in brilliant fashion. There was absolutely nothing the Galway player could do as Keith put the ball in the most difficult of places and when the return was not safe enough it was punished each and every time. It was hugely impressive stuff and it continued all the way to the finish as Keith Armstrong showed his full potential on his way to racking up a facile 21-6 win.
Bigger things now lie ahead for this progressive youngster who was another to benefit from a season playing against the older players in the county 60×30 adult championship.