Good news for all followers of Handball in Tyrone as we hear of progress at The North American Championships in San Diego. Irish team captain and Carrickmore native Caolan Daly has made it through to the semi final of the under nineteen competition after defeating California’s V Gonzalez 21-6, 21- 9 continuing to show the type of form that helped see him lift the Irish title back in November. He now faces another Californian E Mastiasek in tonight’s semi final. As things stand there is a strong possibility that Caolan could end up meeting Mayo’s Stephen Cooney in a repeat of their Irish Nationals final. Cooney is also through to the semi final and both players are strongly fancied to make it an all Irish final.
Daly could make it into a second final as he is also through to the semi finals in the doubles with his playing partner Conor Mc Elduff. Once again the Tyrone natives are hotly tipped to win their game in which they will face Californian Gonzalez and Cloake from Wexford. If things go according to plan it could well be Mayo native Cooney whom they face in that decider. Cooney is paired with American player Daniel Cordova and their pairing is expected to win their semi final also. Before all that young Mc Elduff will have to focus his mind on facing the American number one seed Brent Bidegan in the Under 17 singles semi final which will also take place later tonight.
In the girls Under Thirteen competition Loughmacrory youngster Aoife Kelly is looking immensely strong as she remains unbeaten so far in this age group. Aoife is highly tipped to run things very close in this grade and if she can maintain her current good run of form there is no reason why she cannot lift the title. Sean Kerr is another one performing well on the court and has already made it through to the quarter finals of the boys under thirteen competition. His Brackey clubmate Pol Clarke and his doubles partner Tyler Stoffel from the States are proving very strong in the under fifteen age group winning their quarter final match 21-0, 21-4 and are now pitted against Santa Barbara duo Rodriguez and Sanchez in the semi final.
Tonight could turn out to be a huge night for Handball in Tyrone and with a bit of luck we could find our county represented in as many as six finals of the North American Championships.