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Handball Success And More Promising Signs For The Future.

Wednesday 14.09.2011
Team Talk Mag

Double All Ireland Success For Tyrone.

Tyrone Handball enjoyed a very successful weekend in the 60×30 All Ireland Finals winning two grades and coming second in another. This year there has been a concerted effort from Croke Park to enhance the profile of the traditional game that has been slipping in popularity behind the international 40×20 and the phenomenally successful one wall versions of the game. Over the summer months the Tyrone coaches worked tirelessly with their squad of players and their efforts paid dividends with two titles which could so easily have been four.

Kelly strolls to U14 win

Aoife Kelly was a comprehensive winner of the under 14 singles title easily accounting for Roscommon’s Fiona Tully in the final. After a slow start which saw her trail 4-0 Aoife got her game together and the Roscommon girl did not get another point in the opening game. The Loughmacrory girl was totally dominant in all facets of the game and after her 15-4 win in the first looked certain to cruise to victory in the second and her 15-2 win showed the difference in class between the two players. Kelly is fast building up a reputation in the 60×30 court which seems ideally suited to the type of game she plays and further successes are sure to come her way.

Woods and Mullan Coast to Under 15 title

After their Houdini like escape in the semi-final when they recovered from 12-1 down in the third game to win 15-13 Johnny Woods and Ryan Mullan made sure there were no such dramatics in the final against Waterford’s Ciaran O Neill and Jason Nagle. After jumping into an early 4-0 lead Woods and Mullan briefly lost their way and found themselves trailing by 2 at 6-4. However from this point onwards there was only going to be one winner. Nagle and O Neill couldn’t come to terms with the powerful and skilful play of Woods and with Ryan Mullan on the right getting his serve almost perfect there was only going to be one outcome. The Tyrone boys were in no way flattered by their 15-8 15-6 victory and they will be a definite force to be reckoned with in the future.

Clarke and McCrystall just come up short in U17 battle.

The match of the day definitely took place in the U17 doubles final where after a 75 minute battle Pol Clarke and Gabhainn McCrystall were just edged by Cork’s Daniel Relihan and Michael Hedigan in the tie-breaker. All 4 boys showed remarkable skills and endurance in a match that had the crowd enthralled from the outset. Relihan and Hedigan looked to be coasting to an easy opening game win when they led 20-8 but a determined fightback reduced the deficit to 4 points at 20-16 before they scrambled home relying on luck on many occasions in the process. The second game was even more fiercely contested with the scores being level many times the Cork pair looked to have made the break when they jumped from 14-14 to lead 19-14 but Clarke and McCrystall showed remarkable resolve to reel them back and deservedly level the match taking the game 21-19 to set up the tie-breaker. In the 11 point tie-breaker system a good start is all important and once Relihan and Hedigan led 5-nil the Tyrone lads had an uphill struggle on their hands. They had brought it back to 8-6 when another fortuitous bounce gave serve back to the Cork lads and this time they managed to hold on again riding their luck for an 11-6 win.

One point loss for Kerr and Owens

Tyrone could quite easily have had another title but for Sean Kerr and Aaron Owens narrow one point loss to Wexford’s Jaime Hall and Oisin Foley in the semi-final. Kerr and Owens got off to a brilliant start totally dominating a physically powerful team to take the first game 15-5. However the reverse was the case in the second which saw the Wexford pair smashing them 15-4. In the decider Kerr and Owens held the upperhand through out and led 14-10 but couldn’t secure the one point that would have clinched the match and a very relieved Wexford sneaked home 15-14 and subsequently went on to win the All Ireland beating a team from Tipperary in the final.

Overall it has been a very successful campaign with just the U16 girls’ singles left to be decided. In this Maeve Mc Elduff meets Galway sensation Ciana Ni Churraoin in Mullingar on the same programme as the Shane O Neill / Brendan Fleming Junior Singles Final.

New Season Beckons

With the 60×30 season and the football season all but wrapped up the focus will now turn to the 40×20 game. All handball clubs are gearing up for a very important year that culminates with the World Handball Championships that are being held in Ulster. At the moment frantic efforts are being made to finalise the programme with many organisations seeking to be part of this prestigious event. With 30 countries now playing the One Wall version these will be the biggest games yet and will afford all Handballers in Tyrone the unique chance to be part of a process that is leading to Olympic recognition for the sport.
It is envisaged that a substantial part of these games will be hosted by Tyrone Clubs so it promises to be a very exciting year for handball enthusiasts throughout the county.



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