Just one week after claiming the US Open doubles title in Los Angeles alongside team-mate Dessie Keegan, Ballaghaderreen’s Joe McCann has won his second Golden Gloves crown in Belfast. This unprecedented run of form bodes well for the Mayo man at the beginning of the new 40/20 GAA Handball season.
McCann’s success was built on the confidence from winning his first US Open title. Pairing up with club-mate and long standing doubles partner Dessie Keegan, the combination were impressive with victories over America’s finest players.
A nervous semi-final saw the Mayo duo pull off an 11-8 tie-breaker victory over the young pretenders to the throne, Nikolai Nahorniak and Tyree Bastidas. McCann was particularly impressive in this tight win, coming up with roll-out kills and diving re-kills at important points in the match under enormous pressure.
The final pitted McCann and Keegan against the experienced partnership of David Chapman and Emmett Peixoto. Chapman, renowned as perhaps the greatest player of all time, would be no pushover. However, galvanised by their semi-final win, McCann and Keegan let loose in the final. Putting together the performance of a lifetime, the Mayo men took home the title on a score line of 21-16, 21-18.
Then, with much-coveted ranking points on the line, McCann travelled to St. Paul’s in Belfast to compete in the revered Golden Gloves tournament. With an all-star selection of competitors in attendance, reaching the final was no mean feat. However, McCann pulled through in impressive fashion to face Kerry man Dominic Lynch.
McCann came back from 15-20 down to take the opening game 21-20. To the rapturous applause of a raucous Belfast crowed, the Ballaghaderreen man pressed home his advantage on a 21-17 score line.
Looking flying fit and in form, McCann will be one to watch in 2014.