Sligo handball team
The waiting is almost over for the most eagerly awaited world handball championships that begin tomorrow in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel Convention Arena. The Convention centre will house 21 courts specially constructed for these championships. GAA Handball have pulled out all the stops in the last 10 months of planning with preparations ready to fall into place into the hosting of the biggest & best World handball championships ever to take place.
Thirty countries are taking part with 2,000 competitors all vying to become champions. Sligo will be well represented in these championships with 8 players from the Yeats County aiming for World titles. It won’t be easy for the likes of Shane Bruen from the Collooney Club and well known Sports Journalist Gavin Gawley from the St. Mary’s club who take part in the Men’s C singles in a grade with 200 players in it. It will be a case of whoever is super fit rather than skill that will determine who will win this grade. Martin Cooney & Oisin Quinn both from the Castleconnor club are both in the Silver Masters B singles while Ballymote’s Francis McCann is entered in the Golden Masters A singles. McCann went to the final of both the 60 x 30 & 40 x 20 All-Ireland finals this year only to be beaten by the same player in Kildare’s Michael Dowling. The Ballymote man could face the lilywhite player again and may make it 3 rd time lucky and gain revenge for those All-Ireland defeats. Mc Cann is seeded no.4 in the singles the highest seeded Sligo player in the championships.
It is an historic occasion for the Quinn family from Castleconnor with Dad Oisin, son Odhran & daughter Aoife all determined to make an impact. All the Sligo players will face stern opposition with McCann & Cooney seen as Sligo’s best chance of winning major honours.
Ireland look set to dominate the 4 wall events with Cavan’s Paul Brady aiming to win his 4th successive Men’s open titles in 9 years The Cavan star has dominated U.S. Canadian, Irish & World handball and has remained unbeaten since his first Men’s Open World title held in Dublin back in 2003.
Brady is ranked no.1 while Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy is the number 2 seed. Mexican Luis Moreno is seeded 3 while top U.S. player Sean Lenning is seeded 4.. It could come down to an All-Irish Men’s final with Brady favourite to beat McCarthy in a repeat of this year’s All-Ireland final. Same could be said in the ladies with Antrim’s Fiona Shannon like Brady aiming for her 4th successive world ladies singles title. Her main threat is likely to come from her club mate Aisling Reilly who defeated Shannon in the recent Golden Gloves tournament in Belfast just over a week ago.
The Main one wall events look to be dominated by players from the U.S & Puerto Rico. Timothy Gonzalez from the U.S. is the number 1 seed with Peurto rican players Herman Mendez & Wally Amaro seeded no.2 & 3 respectively. Mendez on his first visit to Ireland won last year’s Men’s open title held in Breaffy House Castlebar. The highest ranking Irish player is Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy at 6 the current Irish One-Wall champion. There will be live TV coverage from Tuesday 16th October with the Men’s final due to be shown live at 9.30 p.m on TG4 that evening.
The first Sligo players into action will be Shane Bruen & Gavin Cawley in the Men’s C singles. This gets underway at 3.30 tomorrow afternoon. On Friday sees Odhran Quinn in action in the Boys U-13 singles and later that evening Francis McCann will play the winner of the Paul Williams / Pecheilli English tie in the Golden Masters A contest.