There were two titles for Roscommon Handball players at last weekend’s annual Williamstown Onewall Tournament.
By Aengus Cunningham
Williamstown Handball club held their annual Onewall tournament last weekend and as usual it was run with the quiet efficiency one has come to expect from the north Galway handballers. St. Coman’s had a big compliment of players competing, all of whom acquitted themselves very well.
Keeping her great run going Fiona Tully won out the Ladies Open title, when she beat Claregalway’s rising Niamh Heffenan 15-7, 15-6 in their final. Fiona’s achievement is made all the more noteworthy as she only decided to compete in the tournament at the last minute due to a re-occurrence of the old back injury that caused her prolonged absence from handball last year.
Gareth Delaney showed why his Onewall game is rated so highly when he took the U16 title in very impressive style. He defeated clubmate Fionn Cusack in a hard-fought final. Fionn had defeated another clubmate Dylan Hanley in an enthralling semi-final, which he won by a single point after two periods of extra-time, having originally come back from a seemingly insurmountable 11-3 deficit with time running out.
9 year old Irslam Yakhyaev received rave reviews from some very experienced handballers over the weekend when his powerful, aggressive style saw him win his way to the U11 final. Unfortunately, at that final hurdle he was well beaten by current 11 & under World Doubles champion from Armagh, Fiachra O’Duill, son of well-known Onewall exponent James Doyle, but Irslam’s potential is clear for all to see.
The Carthy brothers Eoin and Rory also competed very impressively in the same grade both winning their first matches with Rory giving eventual winner Fiachra O’Duill a very good run for his money before succumbing.
Carragh Kennedy just came up short in her Girls U12 final where Inverrin’s more experienced Skyln O’Malley Walsh pulled away after a close beginning. Carragh has upped her training somewhat in 2016 and her performances in competition have improved accordingly.
The Treacy twins Siobhan and Aisling and neighbour Shauna Clogher all competed in the Girls U14 grade but failed to make an impression against some strong opposition. The girls have only recently finished up 40×20 so their Onewall preparation was limited.
Philip Halliday, Eanna Moran and Thomas O’Brien all won their opening matches in the Boys U14 competition, but each were beaten in the second round. The U14 grade probably had the highest overall standard of any and as all three are underage again next year the experience will stand them in good stead.
After an easy first round win Oisin Cusack lost a cracker to Tipperary’s James Prentice in the Boys U18 grade. This was a real back and forth match between two excellent Onewallers before the Tipp lads big game experience eventually won out.
Joey Maher RIP
The death took place of one of handball’s greatest players, Joey Maher of Drogheda, who died suddenly on May 16th at his home. He won Irish titles in 60×30, 40×20 and Hardball along with titles in the US and Canada. He won a World Title, representing Canada, in 1974 after moving to Toronto in 1964. A charismatic figure, he was a great promoter of handball and a great fundraiser. In later years he formed the Maher family band and won the Hughie Greene ‘Opportunity Knocks’ ITV Television programme. A familiar figure at St Coman’s Handball Club, he was always ready to help young players. Roscommon Handball express deepest sympathy to his wife Dorris and family.