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Tyrone girls flying the flag on national handball stage…

Tuesday 19.03.2013
Team Talk Mag

Following February’s success story in the Ulster handball championships, when Tyrone had 11 provincial adult titles to celebrate, the month of March has had even more championship action packed into it and Tyrone representatives have so far emerged with nine Ulster juvenile titles, five All-Ireland semi-final victories and an Ulster minor doubles title, with more big games to come before the month draws to a close.
And that list doesn’t take into account the impressive provincial and national triumphs recorded by Tyrone players in the Gael Linn, Cumann na mBunscoil and colleges competitions.
Elise McCrory became the fifth Tyrone handballer to book an All-Ireland championship final place this month when she accounted for Clare’s Alana Ryan in the under-15 singles semi-final in Clarecastle last Saturday.
The young Breacach star, who won the All-Ireland colleges junior doubles title along with Aoife Kelly three weeks ago, registered an impressive 15-5, 15-1 victory over the Munster champion and will now meet Galway’s Eimear Ní Bhiadha in the national final.
Elise was one of six Tyrone players who competed in the All-Ireland juvenile championship semi-finals in Clarecastle last Saturday, with the county losing out in three other semi-final ties.
Sean Kerr and Jack Campbell, All-Ireland winners last season in under-14 singles and under-15 doubles respectively, were involved in an exciting under-16 doubles tussle with Tipperary pair Jason English and John Ryan but, after levelling the contest with a convincing 21-9 win in the second game, the talented Breacach duo eventually went down in the tiebreaker on a scoreline of 11-6.
And Turlough Clarke also suffered defeat at the hands of Tipperary in the under-14 singles semi-final but performed with great credit, much better than the scoreline would suggest, against the world under-13 champion Colin Ryan.
Loughmacrory pair Sinead Donnelly and Aoibhinn McAnespie also put up a very good show in their under-15 doubles encounter with Clare’s Evelyn Duggan and Aoife Tuohy before eventually bowing out of the championship.
Tyrone’s other Ulster juvenile champions from two weeks ago, the under-12 and under-13 boys and girls, didn’t get the chance to compete on the All-Ireland stage because those competitions end at the provincial final. But the success of Cormac Munroe (U13 singles), Antoin Fox and Darragh Canavan (U13 doubles), Elizabeth McGarvey (U12 girls singles), Caitlin Conway and Mairead Fox (U12 girls doubles), and Ciara Mullan and Michaela McCartan (U13 girls doubles) augurs very well for future juvenile championships, as does the efforts of the county’s Ulster under-12 singles and doubles runners-up, Lorcan McBride, Dara Curran and Cahir Munroe.
Meanwhile, attention now switches to the All-Ireland minor ladies final this weekend, as Tyrone bid to take the title for the first time, and also to the All-Ireland mens doubles semi-finals, for which Tyrone will have three pairings making the long trek to Munster bidding for final places.
Maeve McElduff, a gold medalist at the world handball championships in October and a player who has starred all the way through her underage career, will be attempting to create history in the minor ladies championship final in Kingscourt this Saturday.
Maeve is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished young handball talents in the country but will have to be at the very top of her game this weekend as she comes up against the irrepressible world under-17 champion, Ciana Ní Churraoin from Galway, in what will be a top class affair.
The Tyrone girl will go in as underdog but she has shown in the past that she is capable of holding her own with the player she partnered to world doubles glory in October.
As Elise and Maeve set their sights on All-Ireland success in the under-15 and under-18 categories, a third Tyrone female handballer, Lisa McAleer, is also gearing herself for a crack at All-Ireland singles honours in the next few weeks at intermediate level, as are Shane O’Neill and Barry Devlin in the mens intermediate and junior championships. O’Neill is actually still on course for a dream All-Ireland double in the intermediate grade as he switches over from singles to doubles this weekend.
Having already defeated Tipperary’s Ger Coonan in the singles semi-final, Shane will try to get the better of the same player again this Sunday when he partners Gary McCrory in the intermediate doubles semi-final, but the Tyrone pair certainly face a stern test against Coonan and Fergal Collins in their own backyard.
Tyrone’s other doubles semi-finalists also have gruelling journeys in store this weekend, with Conal Curran and Martin Toner having to go all the way to Ballydesmond in County Cork to tackle Munster over-35b champions, John Noonan and Pat Doody from Limerick.
And Tyrone’s Ulster minor doubles champions, Patrick McCrory and Johnny Woods, will be in Tuamgraney in County Clare for a very tough assignment against the home county’s representatives Colin Crehan and Barry Nash.
Crehan is a class act and is fresh from winning the All-Ireland minor singles championship last weekend but the Tyrone duo can take heart from the fact that fellow Tyrone pair, Pol Clarke and Gabhainn McCrystall, ran Crehan and his partner to 21-20 in the tiebreaker in the All-Ireland minor doubles showpiece last year. Patrick and Johnny recently showed their capabilities by defeating Pol and Gabhainn in an all-Tyrone provincial decider, and Gabhainn also gave Crehan a serious fright in the recent All-Ireland minor singles semi-final.
One of the biggest matches of this weekend from a Tyrone perspective will be the Irish mens open doubles quarter-final tie in Ballymore Eustace featuring Darragh Daly and Caolan Daly against Cork pair Killian Carroll and Brendan Fleming. This will be a big test for the Carrickmore brothers but a semi-final spot is well within their compass.
Also coming up this weekend as the handball season shows no signs of relenting just yet, Tyrone will be strongly represented in the All-Ireland Cumann na mBunscoil girls handball finals in Kingscourt this Saturday.
Mairead Fox and Caitlin Conway, recently crowned Ulster under-12 doubles champions, will represent St Teresa’s PS, Loughmacrory, in the under-11 and under-13 singles competitions against the champions of Munster, Connacht and Leinster, while Drumduff PS will be represented in the national under-11 doubles competition by Seana Clarke and Sharlene Short.
The schools finals will take place before the ladies minor and senior singles finals in Kingscourt, so it will be a great day for ladies handball on Saturday, with Tyrone very much in the frame for silverware.


U12 Boys Singles – Eoghan McGinnity (Mon) beat Lorcan McBride (Tyr) 8-15, 15-10, 15-9
U12 Boys Doubles – Jakub Szkup / Konrad Konal (Mon) beat Dara Curran / Cahir Munroe (Tyr) 15-2, 15-6
U13 Boys Singles – Cormac Munroe (Tyr) beat Justas Dambinskas (Mon) 11-15, 15-7, 15-0
U13 Boys Doubles – Anton Fox / Darragh Canavan (Tyr) beat Cailean Myles / Hubert Sheinbach (Mon) 15-11, 7-15, 15-2
U14 Boys Singles – Turlough Clarke (Tyr) beat Oran Kernan (Mon) 15-4, 15-3
U14 Boys Doubles – Shea Donnelly / Sean Reilly (Arm) walkover v Ciaran Cuddy / Conor Kelly (Tyr)
U16 Boys Doubles – Sean Kerr / Jack Campbell (Tyr) beat Gary Treanor / Conor Mohan (Mon) 21-10, 21-4

U12 Girls Singles – Elizabeth McGarvey (Tyr) beat Grace Shannon (Ant) 15-13, 15-5
U12 Girls Doubles – Mairead Fox / Caitlin Conway (Tyr) beat Rachel McKeown / Eilish Murphy (Dow) 15-2, 15-5
U13 Girls Singles – Dearbhla Coleman (Arm) beat Emer Kerr (Tyr) 15-0, 15-0
U13 Girls Doubles – Michaela McCartan / Ciara Mullan (Tyr) beat Meabh McCambridge / Beth Doris (Arm) 15-8, 15-7
U15 Girls Singles – Eilise McCrory (Tyr) beat Kelly McCracken (Der) 15-0, 15-0
U15 Girls Doubles – Sinead Donnelly / Aoibhinn McAnespie (Tyr) beat Meabh McMahon / Dearbhla Cooney (Arm) 15-5, 15-8
U16 Girls Singles – Niamh Coleman (Arm) beat Aoife Kelly (Tyr) 21-4, 21-4

GU15S: Tyrone (Eilise McCrory) beat Clare (Alana Ryan) 15-5, 15-1
GU15D: Clare (Evelyn Duggan & Aoife Tuohy) beat Tyrone (Sinead Donnelly & Aoibhean McAnespie) 15-10, 15-5
BU14S: Tipperary (Colin Ryan) beat Tyrone (Turlough Clarke) 15-4, 15-3
BU16D: Tipperary (Jason English & John Ryan) beat Tyrone (Sean Kerr/Jack Campbell) 21-18, 9-21, 11-6

Minor doubles – Patrick McCrory / Johnny Woods (Tyrone) beat Gabhainn McCrystall /Pol Clarke (Tyrone) 21-11 7-21 21-13

Minor Singles – Colin Crehan Clare beat Gabhain McCrystal Tyrone 21-18, 15-21, 21-18
Masters A Singles – David Moloney Tipperary beat Niall Kerr Tyrone 21-10, 21-6
Junior Singles – Barry Devlin Tyrone beat Shane Hedigan Cork 12-21, 21-15, 21-14
Silver Masters B Singles – Denis McCarthy Limerick beat Kenny Curran Tyrone 21-4, 16-21, 21-19
Ladies Minor Singles – Maeve McElduff Tyrone beat Martina McMahon Limerick 10-21, 21-11, 21-18
Over 35 B Singles – Dale Cusack Cork beat Rory Grogan Tyrone 21-5, 21-5
Intermediate Singles – Shane O’Neill Tyrone beat Ger Coonan Tipperary 21-14, 21-15
Ladies Intermediate Singles – Lisa McAleer Tyrone beat Lisa Loughnane Clare 21-5, 21-8
Junior B Singles – John Casey Cork beat Mark McCullagh Tyrone 21-19, 21-11


Saturday 23rd March
All-Ireland minor ladies singles final…
Maeve McElduff (Tyrone) v Ciana Ní Churraoin (Galway) at 4.30pm
Followed by ladies open singles final – Maria Daly (Kerry) v Catriona Casey (Cork)
Note: Girl’s Cumann na mBunscoil national finals begin at 1pm

Sunday 24th March
All-Ireland doubles semi-finals…
Intermediate doubles: Tipperary (Ger Coonan/Fergal Collins) v Tyrone (Shane O’Neill/Gary McCrory) at Ballinahinch, Co. Tipperary, 2pm
Over-35B doubles: Limerick (John Noonan/Pat Doody) v Tyrone (Conal Curran/Martin Toner) at Ballydesmond, Co. Cork, 2pm
Minor doubles: Clare (Colin Crehan/Barry Nash) v Tyrone (Patrick McCrory/Johnny Woods) at Tuamgraney, Co. Clare, 2pm

All Ireland 40×20 Mens Open Doubles Championship quarter-final…
Sunday 24th March in Ballymore Eustace, Kildare, at 3.30pm: Cork (Killian Carroll/Brendan Fleming) v Tyrone (Darragh Daly/Caolan Daly)


Junior singles final – Barry Devlin (Tyrone) v William Love (Kilkenny)
Intermediate singles final – Shane O’Neill (Tyrone) v Niall O’Connor (Kildare)
Ladies Intermediate final – Lisa McAleer (Tyrone) v Amy Corrigan (Mayo)



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