Home | Brackey Players Dominate Williamstown One Wall
Brackey Players Dominate Williamstown One Wall
Brackey handballers of all ages and abilities gathered in the Co Galway town of Williamstown for their annual one wall tournament and came away with an impressive haul of winners and runners-up trophies. It was a great occasion with tournaments for boys and girls mums and dads and indeed a few grandads a great illustration of what the game of handball has to offer as a sport that all members of the family can compete in
Kelly retains Open Title
Ruairi Kelly was in top form at the weekend and retained his Open Title to cement his position of one of the top one wallers in Ireland. In the first round he got the better of the dangerous Paul Fitzpatrick who had caused a few upsets at the Inish Mor Open and then overcame Longford’s Darren Flynn in the quarter final. Next up was Roscommon’s Nigel Nelian and after a tough battle Kelly just scraped home to set up an all Ulster final clash with Armagh’s James Doyle a one wall specialist ranked no3 in Ireland who has represented his country on many occasions. Doyle took the opening game 15-7 but the scoreline was not a fair reflection of the game as some of Kelly’s shots were falling short or going out by millimetres. In the second game Kelly found the range and played with great skill and confidence to lead 5-0 8-3 and 12-8 before Doyle hit a purple patch to jump ahead 13-12 There followed a couple of amazing rallies with both players making unbelievable “gets” with Kelly taking the point each time to lead 14-13 and a trademark flat kill finished it off 15-13 to level the match.
The tie-breaker turned out to be a very one sided affair as Kelly ruthlessly tore Doyle’s game apart to record an 11-0 victory to retain his title in impressive style.
Barry Devlin found the step up from the C grade to Open play a daunting prospect and had the misfortune to draw No2 seed Vinny Moran in the first round. However once he got to the pace of the game he battled bravely before bowing out on a 31-12 scoreline.
Niall Kerr retains Master’s Crown
Niall Kerr had to be at his very best to retain his master’s title. Conor McMahon the reigning Irish One Wall Nationals Champion was his semi-final opponent but this time Kerr got revenge for his nationals setback with a comprehensive 31-17 defeat of the Armagh player. The final against Roscommon’s Aengus Cunningham was not as straight forward and both players showed great skill and tenacity in a match that took the tie-breaker to separate them. Cunningham was in awesome form racing into a 9-0 lead before Kerr managed to stem the onslaught and gradually reduce the lead before drawing level at 13 both players had chances to win but Kerr eventually completed a great comeback to clinch the first 15-14. The second game followed the exact same pattern Cunningham leading 5-0 and 8-1 before the Brackey man found his range coming back to lead 13-12 but this time he couldn’t finish and Cunningham edged it 15-13 to set up the tiebreaker. Up to this point both men had showed massive commitment and levels of skill and the same standard was maintained in the tiebreaker.
Kerr dominated early on and held leads or 4-0 6-1 and 8-2 before Cunningham took control hitting 7 unanswered points to take the lead 9-8 before Kerr regained the initiative. A clever shot deep to the back court saw him level at 9 before two errors by the pressurised Roscommon man handed the title to Kerr after what was surely one of the best contests of the weekend.
Brackey Players lift U14 and U16 Titles
Brackey who had 4 players in both boys U14 and U16 competitions completely dominated winning and coming runner-up in both as well as winning the U14 plate and being U16 plate runner-up Sean Kerr who was very impressive in his earlier rounds took the U14 honours at the expense of Aaron Owens just holding on to win. Owens had a much tougher passage defeating clubmates Jack Campbell in the 2nd round and Matthew McCartan in the quarter-final before taking out Wexford giant Stevie Lawlor in the semi. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to maintain his good run coming up short in the final. Jack Campbell recovered well from his initial defeat to win the plate and Matthew McCartan showed some neat touches to reach the quarters.
Pol Clarke came through two very tough games against clubmates Johnny Woods and Gabhain McCrystal to win the U16 competition. Woods the no1 seed looked well in control when he came from 8-5 down to lead 13-8 in the semi before Clarke managed to regain control. An excellent serve secured valuable points and as the pressure mounted Woods was making the errors allowing Clarke to take a 19-13 lead. Woods managed to claw back 3 to get to 16 but time caught up with him and he just lost out 19-16 in an excellent game.
Meanwhile in the other half of the draw Gabhain McCrystal was entertaining the crowds as he cruised through the opening rounds before getting rid of the dangerous Colm Walshe in the semi. Walshe had looked good but was unable to match the skilful McCrystal losing heavily 27-13.
The final produced an excellent standard of handball and as the scoreline of 15-12 15-14 would indicate either player could have won it Both players had to dig deep into their energy reserves and a tiebreaker seemed certain when McCrystal held a14-11 lead. Clarke however rallied bravely to bring it level at 14 and a deep pass shot to the left corner saw him home.
Mattie McSorley lost a tough opener to Conor Egan but then went on to win his next two plate games before losing to Conor Doonan in the plate final.
Gallant effort by Maeve McElduff
14 year old Maeve McElduff made a gallant effort in her U18 final against Roscommon’s Lauren O Riordan before having to admit defeat. O Riordan won the opening game 15-8 but then became involved in an amazing second game that saw her have to battle for survival as McElduff turned up the heat and took control. Maeve had the multi All Ireland winner on the rack when she held a 14-11 lead but unfortunately couldn’t get over the line to take the match to a well deserved tiebreak and O Riordan regained the upperhand to take the spoils 15-14. Earlier on Maeve had an excellent 31-18 win over the highly rated Sionnain McConville from Armagh in the semi-final
Eilise McCrory had the toughest opening round draw imaginable when she was paired with Aioife McConville the top U14 one waller in Ireland. After a slow start Eilise got into the game and did very well to score 14 points against an older and stronger opponent
U12s showcase their skills
For a day and a half the U12 girls waited patiently for the chance to show what they could do and when the time came they did not disappoint Their power and control were very impressive and all five girls showed great improvement.
Michaela McCartan was in sparkling form easily getting past her opening opponents to secure a final spot against Armagh’s Dearbhla Henderson. Henderson has been a tough opponent in the past and again that was the case as she scraped home 16-14 in a very well contested final. Emer Kerr Elizabeth McGarvey Meabh McCrystall and Leanne Shortt all went into the plate competition where they all played exceptionally well with Emer winning and Leanne taking the runners-up position to claim their first one wall trophies.
Caolan McCartan in U11 and Turlough Clarke in U12 got extremely tough opening round draws both drawing the eventual winners However both boys showed their true worth when they went on to easily win their plate events.