Courtesy of GAAHandball.ie
390 players and well over 400 matches. Grades from 11&U to 65+. Men, Women, Children. The Irish Wallball Nationals truly is one of the best Handball tournaments worldwide. This years event didn’t disappoint.
And we had familiar winners as Conor McElduff (Tyrone) & Martina McMahon (Limerick) won the Mens & Ladies Open titles for the 4th & 3rd time respectively. A large crowd descended on the Sunday night Open Finals, with all courts in the arena closed off bar the show court.
The Ladies Final was up first but McMahon never allowed a contest to materialise as she saw off the challenge of Roscommon teenager, and first time finalist Fiona Tully 15-0, 15-2 in ruthless fashion. It means McMahon now holds the top titles in both 40×20 and One-Wall in Ireland in 2018, the first player ever to do so in the same year.
The Men’s Final however turned out to be quite the opposite. McElduff was facing Martin Mulkerrins for the third time in a final, with the scores tied at 1-1. Mulkerrins was looking to complete a similar feat to McMahon, having won his maiden 40×20 title in March. And he got off to a flyer, taking the opener 15-9. But McElduff changed his game up and got the early momentum in the second to draw level 15-4, before continuing this charge in the tiebreak 11-5.
Both winners are now confirmed as Team Ireland’s One-Wall Representatives at August’s World Handball Championships.
On Monday the attention switched to the Juvenile & other Adult grades, which produced some nail biting encounters. Emma Kinane (Galway) followed up her 4-Wall Nationals title with victory in the 13&U grade, whilst Kyle Jordan (Kilkenny) dominated the Boys 13&U to also double up in the grade. Mikey Kelly (Galway) looked a class apart in the Boys 15&U grade, with the Girls Title going to Mairead Fox (Tyrone).
The Boys 17&U Final was an all Galway affair and it went to a tiebreak with the scores being tied 16-16 at the end of the 15 minutes scheduled match. In the end it was Eimhin O’Diolluin who prevailed 5-2 against Jason O’Tuathail. Leah Doyle (Kildare) was impressive in claiming the Girls 17&U title, whilst Daniel Kavanagh (Wexford) cruised to the Boys 19&U crown.
- MO: Conor McElduff (Tyr) dft Martin Mulkerrins (Gal) 9-15, 15-5, 11-8
- LO: Martina McMahon (Lim) dft Fiona Tully (Ros) 15-0, 15-2
- LB: Clare Conway (Tyr) dft Laura Finn (Sli) 23-13
- LCh: Michelle McCoy (Dow) dft Aine Ni Dhroigheann (Gal) 25-11
- LM: Maighead Ni Dhuill (Arm) dft Mary Havern (Dow) 30-6
- MB: Ian McLoughlin (May) dft Shane Murphy (Lim) 16-12
- MC: Gearoid O’Connell (Cor) dft David O’Brien (Tip) 19-18
- MCh: Stephen Monaghan (DF) dft Barney McAleer (Tyr) 16-16, 5-2
- M: James Doyle (Arm) dft Barry McCoy (Dow) 23-8
- SM: Chris Curran (Tyr) dft Mike Dillon 16-15
- GM: Paddy Donovan (Lao) dft Niall Kerr (Tyr) 17-12
- EM: Paul Cassidy (Mon) dft Brian Havern (Down) 24-9
- RM: Eugene Kennedy (Dub) dft Sean Devlin (Lou) 22-10
- B13&U: Kyle Jordan (Kilk) dft Harry Delaney (Kilk) 30-3
- B15&U: Mikey Kelly (Gal) dft Mark Doyle (Wex) 22-4
- B17&U: Eimhín O Diollúin (Gal) dft Jason O’Toole (Gal) 16-16, 5-3
- B19&U: Daniel Kavanagh (Wex) dft Ben Devlin (Lou) 20-4
- G13&U: Emma Kinane (Gal) dft Sarah Walsh (Cor) 17-13
- G15&U: Maired Fox (Gal) dft Sadhbh Ni Fhlaithearta (Gal) 19-14
- G17&U: Leah Doyle (Kild) dft Caitlin Conway (Tyr) 25-12