Home | Tyrone Girls Dominate All Ireland U16 Handball Finals
Tyrone Girls Dominate All Ireland U16 Handball Finals
Tyrone trio Laura Duff, Lucy McCullagh and Caislin Tracey stole the show at the All Ireland 60×30 juvenile championship finals in Collooney last weekend as they dominated the girls U16 finals to bring the singles and doubles titles back to Tyrone together for the first time.
The three Tyrone dual stars were part of the county U16 football team earlier this year and they showed their quality on the handball court last weekend by producing classy performances to blitz Kilkenny in the U16 softball singles and doubles finals.
For Laura Duff, this was a fitting way to end her incredible U16 championship career in the 40×20 and 60×30 codes as she collected her tenth major national title in 16 months with an emphatic win over the talented Katie Jordan from Kilkenny.
It was also an historic fourth All Ireland U16 championship title for Laura in 40×20 and 60×30, something that has never been accomplished by a Tyrone player before and has rarely been achieved by any player in history.
Laura now holds three of the five U16 singles gold medals won by Tyrone female players across the two codes and this puts her right up there with the most successful juvenile girl players in the sport’s history.
Laura had come through some tough battles to reach her latest All Ireland final and faced a dangerous opponent in the showpiece who had posed plenty of problems for Laura in big games in the past. But the Loughmacrory star delivered a stunning performance and was relentless in her pursuit of glory as she stormed to a 21-1, 21-3 victory.
Her clubmate and former doubles partner Lucy McCullagh teamed up with Greencastle’s Caislin Tracey to complete Tyrone’s dominance of the U16 girls finals as they clinched the doubles title with an emphatic 21-1, 21-1 victory over Kilkenny.
Lucy and Caislin have linked up superbly in this year’s 60×30 championship and would have been serious All Ireland contenders in any year as they’ve proven themselves to be a top quality pairing.
Lucy still has another year left at U16 level and has now picked up a hugely impressive eight national titles in the last two seasons, including All Ireland doubles titles with three different partners, Laura, Caislin and Keeva Owens.
It wasn’t to be for Tyrone’s other representatives in Saturday’s All Ireland juvenile finals.
Loughmacrory’s Pearse McDonald and Carrickmore’s Aaron McElhone produced a battling performance against Kilkenny in the All Ireland U15 doubles final before going down to a 15-7, 15-6 defeat.
These two lads have given this year’s 60×30 championship a real go in recent weeks and have clicked brilliantly together but they just couldn’t get over the final hurdle.
It was a tough day for Pearse as he had played for the Tyrone U15 football team against Westmesth in Garvaghy at 12.30pm and then raced down the road to Collooney for his All Ireland handball final at 4pm.
The Greencastle U14 girls doubles team of Aimee Fox and Mary Jo Morris gave a very good account of themselves against Kilkenny before collecting silver medals and there is clearly a very bright future for the Greencastle club in girls handball based on their fantastic progress this year, highlighted by their All Ireland feile division one success.
Overall the 60×30 juvenile championships will be remembered for the classy displays of three of the finest young female players that Tyrone has ever produced and we can expect to hear a lot more from Laura, Caislin and Lucy in the years ahead.