Belfast, Northern Ireland, WPH Press, 2/4/19– Belfast hosted the 2019 ICHA national championships, featuring the top men’s and women’s collegiate players from Ireland. Former R48 pro Colin Cehan was aiming to defend his Irish Collegiate men’s open singles title, while Fionna Tully was seeking a repeat in the women’s open singles. David Walsh, Max Langmack (USA), Shane Dunne, Galen Riordan and Brian Mahon would serve as Crehan’s chief rivals, while Tully would need to overcome women’s collegiate adversaries Doireann Murphy, Ella Donnellan, and Kyra Vidas (USA) to retain her crown.
“UCC’s Colin Crehan clicked into an extra gear last night to claim his second consecutive 40X20 singles intervarsities, overcoming UCD’s Galen Riordan in a thrilling tiebreaker,” stated the ICHA Facebook page. “Both players demonstrated fantastic skill, tenacity and sportsmanship all weekend, and are a credit to collegiate handball!”
“I was delighted to come to Belfast and defend the Irish Collegiate title,” expressed Crehan to WPH reporter K3 Vidas. “It was great to get a win under my belt heading into the championship. I came through some tough matches and had a too close for comfort tiebreaker with Kevin Diggins that I hope will stand to me. This is one of my favorite tournaments to attend and having the Americans over really added to the excitement.”
Fiona Tully matched Crehan with a repeat national title in the women’s singles, defeating Sinead Meagher in the final.
“DCU’s Fiona Tully stepped up her game this weekend to reclaim her place at the top in the 40×20 singles intervarsities, defeating a formidable opponent in LIT’s Sinéad Meagher,” stated the ICHA Facebook page.
“The ICHA prides itself on running a tournament that caters for all skill levels for players from all colleges,” stated co-tournament director Geoff Atkison. “This year in Belfast was no exception and great skill and sportsmanship was demonstrated by all players throughout the weekend. We look forward to another fantastic tournament next year.”
Co-tournament director John Hurley echoed Atkison’s sentiments: “It was a great weekend of handball in a beautiful city that has such a strong heritage of handball. It was an amazing chance for our players to play in 9 outstanding courts across Belfast. I would like to thank all the host clubs for helping make it one of the best tournaments we’ve hosted. We want to thanks our American friends for travelling over for the tournament and hope it encourages more international players to travel in future years.”
“We’re delighted with how the tournament unfolded in Belfast,” added another co-director John Walsh. “A packed gallery was treated to an exhibition of handball from our open finalists, who demonstrated the skill and determination that makes the intervarsities such a great tournament. The tournament would not have been possible without the efforts of each college club recruiting their players this year, nor without the support of our host clubs. We wish to express our most sincere gratitude to St. Paul’s, O’Donovan Rossa, Coláiste Feirste, Gort na Móna and Queen’s University Belfast handball clubs, who ensured their facilities were in top condition in advance of the tournament. The welcome we received in Belfast is something which we will never forget.”
“It has been a great week visiting the beautiful country of Ireland, but also getting to see and compete against some of the best collegiate players in the world,” stated Vidas. “The hospitality here has been outstanding and Max, Devin, and I are appreciative of it all. We are fortunate enough to have made this trip happen, and we hope others will follow in our footsteps and continue to play the game internationally. Thank you to all of our hosts and friends from this weekend….until next time!”
For much more information on the 2019 Irish Collegiate National Championships and to watch the matches, go to the ICHA Facebook page HERE
Photos courtesy of the ICHA Facebook page.
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