Wednesday 16 October 2019

Handballers medal haul at World Championships


Peter Dennehy

Mallow has a new world champion after Killian Carroll claimed the Men's World Open Singles title at the 2018 World Handball Championship in Minneapolis University Complex in Minnesota last Sunday.

Carroll, who is based in Boston, beat Galway's Martin Mulkerrins in a two-set final to become the first new world champion to be crowned since Paul Brady in 2003, and is the first handballer from Cork to win the Men's Open Singles world title.

For 24-year old Carroll this was a huge victory and one he had always promised to deliver. Over the years Killian has won many County Juvenile titles, provincial titles and All-Ireland titles to bring him to Senior level. In recent years he won back to back US Open National tiles and had performed very strongly winning many of the top US ranked tournaments. The icing on the cake would be a World title, which he achieved on Saturday last when overcoming another rising Irish star in Mulkerrins in an all Irish Final.

Carroll, who had beaten Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy in a tie-breaker in the semi-final, went 10-1 down in the opening set against his Moycullen opponent, but recovered brilliantly to get it back to 15-15 before going on to the take the set 21-16. The second set was another curious battle with Carroll looking good early on but then Mulkerrins was the one to rally late on and took an 18-16. However, Carroll showed his class and determination abd four kills and an ace serve saw the title go to the Cork man on a 21-18 scoreline.

Not to be outdone, Killian's brother Tadgh also won a World title after partnering his Mallow clubmate Ciaran Buckley to win Men's 'B' One Wall World title defeating Equador pair Jose Fuentes and Hector Centeno in a tough contest on their way to being crowned World champions.

Over the previous ten days in Minneapolis there were many enthralling battles as players from ten countries battled for World C hampionship honours. Irish players enjoyed many notable successes taking many of the main titles on offer.

On Sunday Cork hopes were high that the World Open Men's and Ladies Singles Double was on the cards as Ballydesmond's Catriona Casey lined out in Ladies Open Singles Final facing her arch-rival of recent years, Limerick's Martina McMahon. Casey was hopeful she could reverse her narrow defeat by McMahon by just one ace in 40x20 All-Ireland Final in March. Again this final produced a classic very little between all through but it was to be the Limerick player's day as she proved that little bit more clinical over the two games to be crowned World champion on a score of 21-18, 21-14.

Later on Sunday evening Casey was back on court to partner her Ballydesmond clubmate Aishling O'Keeffe, again facing Irish opposition with Maritna McMahon this time partnered by Antrim's Aishling Reilly, but again the Cork pair had to settle for silver as McMahon and Reilly came out on top on a score of 21-5, 21-15 to be crowned World Doubles champions.

In Boys 19 & under Doubles David Walsh, Mallow, partnering Diarmuid Mulkerrins, Galway, were runners-up taking silver. In Men's Under 23 Liscarroll pair Michael Hedigan and Daniel Relihan reached the final but had to settle for silver after losing to the Wexford/Kilkenny partnership of Galen Riordan and Brian Mahon.

In Men's 'C' event Gearoid O'Connell, Mallow, also had a good championship reaching the Final but had to settle for the runner-up spot and the silver medal. In the 55+ Championship John Herlihy, Conna, reached the Final losing to Canadian ace Danny Bell.

In Juvenile grades Mallow players Wesley Delany and Faustina O'Connell were also silver medal winners, while Sam Dunning from Conna, won the 15 & Under One Wall Plate. All other Cork players who competed at the Worlds great enjoyed their trip to Minnesota and will have gained valuable experience from competing at that level.