Lambert and Haughton set up All-Wexford Leinster Junior Doubles Final
Written by Antoin Ó Braoin
An all-Wexford Leinster 60×30 junior doubles final is now a reality following the magnificent victory of Paddy Houghton and Paul Lambert over Kilkenny brothers Brendan and Diarmuid Burke in a marathon provincial semi final played at Garryhill last night. With Darren O’Toole and Malachy Whelan waiting in the wings having qualified last week, the pressure was on the Wexford town pairing to produce a performance good enough to see them through as well. They were not found wanting!
If a quick start is ‘half the battle’ then Haughton and Lambert were on their way early in the set and playing top class handball they were soon 13-1 ahead. The Kilkennymen rallied however and in a remarkable turnaround they rattled off 13 points in a row to take the lead. It looked ominous for the Wexford lads at this stage as Kilkenny were playing the more positive handball as they looked for winners and invariably got them.
Ironically it was a rare miss from Brendan Burke, who had been controlling the game to that point, that stopped the sequence and put Wexford back in to serve and it was then we saw the best of the Slaneysiders. Lambert upped his game and constantly pushed the opposition to the back court and with Haughton bossing on the inside it was they who regained the initiative before going on to win that opening game by 21-14.
Despite that reverse however it was Kilkenny who emerged in the more determined mood and they opened up an early lead they were never to lose. 8-1 became 14-7 and eventually 20-9 before they levelled the match with a 21-11 win.
The third was all Wexford as their determination to reach the final showed in everything they did. Lambert began cutting off the ball with terrific success and Haughton killed and passed better and better as the game progressed. The scoreline told its own story as Wexford went to 7-2, then 9-4 and 14-4 before closing out the tie 21-7. It was a fine performance against the brilliant Burke brothers who are well know in Wexford and who are one of the most competitive and sporting partnerships in the game.
Haughton and Lambert will now take on O’Toole and Whelan at Kilmyshall on Thursday 31st July.