Killarney’s Eoin O’Donoghue wins gold alongside Quirke in ‘B’ Doubles final
Irish eyes were smiling in London at the weekend following the phenomenal performance of Kerry handball stars at the prestigious United Kingdom Open One Wall Championships, part of the 2022 European Tour.
Star of the championships was John Joe Quirke from Glenbeigh who was the pride of the Irish on Saturday with a devastating display of skill and passion to win the tightly competitive Men’s Singles ‘C’ Championship, defeating the highly ranked English player, James Toop, in a pulsating final on a tight 21-17 scoreline.
On Sunday Quirke added to his medal tally winning the ‘B’ Doubles final with Eoin O’Donoghue from Killarney, and a silver medal in the Over 40s where he partnered Brendan O’Donoghue from Killarney.
However, Saturday belonged to Quirke who showed his intent on winning the championship early in the morning with four great victories at the hands of Irish and English opponents.
In the opening games he defeated Clayton Gillespie (England) 21-13, Daniel Thackeray (England) 21-8 and Samuel Coward (England) 21-10.
“I was delighted with these wins which resulted in a semi-final clash with one of the top Irish players, Declan Keenan. I felt comfortable in this game winning 21-5,” Quirke said. “The final was far more difficult with my opponent James Toop, an exceptionally good player. I had to use all my experience and skill to edge past him and win the title which is a great honour for my club Glenbeigh. Many Mid Kerry people living in London and family supported me on both days and this made winning three medals very special.”
Meanwhile, Aoife Walsh and Sinead Moriarty from Spa Killarney Handball Club both reached the semi-finals of the Women’s Singles competition. Walsh defeated Isabel Power (England) 21-4 but lost to Catherine Vos (England) and Irish players Aoife McCarthy and Sinead Hanley. She lost to Siobhan Prentice, 21-16 in the semi-final.
Moriarty was defeated by Anastasya Spiridonov (Israel) and Irish players Sabrina Hughes and Siobhan Prentice while in the semi-final she was defeated by Catherine Vos (England) in a very exciting contest.
There was some consolation for the Killarney pair in the Doubles competition where they finished a very credible third overall and just out of the medals after a classic encounter with the English duo of India Blaksley and Becky Connell 21-10.
In the Men’s C Singles competition Killarney’s Eoin O’Donoghue finished mid-table in Group B winning two games following victories over Irish players Ger Scahill and Ray Carthy and defeat at the hands of James Toop (England) and Declan Keenan.
Sunday’s Doubles championships was another milestone for Quirke who teamed up with Eoin O’Donoghue in the B competition. Winning a number of their opening games they progressed to the semi-finals where they defeated the French duo of Tom Dutheil and Florina Vaujany 21-11. In a hard fought final the Kerry players defeated Naoise Green and Fionn O’Suilleabhain (Ireland) 25-20 thanks to some great play from O’Donoghue.
Quirke continued his phenomenal weekend trip to London in the Over 40s competition where he partnered Brendan O’Donoghue to finish runner-up in this highly contested category and narrowly defeated by the American team of Carlos Torres and Jay Sanchez.
Teams from Ireland, England, France, Italy, USA, UK and Israel took part in the championships. Currently ranked 44th in Europe, Quirke will move up the points ladder dramatically for his impressive performances in London. The new ranking points will be announced during the week and will see Killarney players added to the ranking list.