Local Handball Notes (week ending 15th December 2019)

Breacach Open Final: Diarmuid Nash, left, in action against Martin Mulkerrins

Nash defeated in Breacach Open Final

Senior action moved to Beragh, County Tyrone last weekend, for the Breacach Open. This is a GAA Handball ranking tournament for all senior men’s and ladies players. Clare was represented at the tournament by Tuamgraney Handball Club’s Diarmuid Nash, Kilkishen Handball Club’s Colin Crehan and Clooney Quin Handball Club’s Fergal Coughlan Junior.

The first Clare player to bow out of the tournament was Fergal Coughlan Junior, when he was defeated by Monaghan’s Eoghan McGinnity in the Last 16 Round on a score line of 10-15, 15-5, 11-3. Colin Crehan won his Last 16 Round defeating Kildare’s Kevin Diggins 15-4, 8-15, 11-1.


Also in the Last 16 Round, Diarmuid Nash defeated Cork’s Daniel Relihan 15-7, 15-5.

In the first of the Quarter Finals, Diarmuid Nash defeated, another Cork man, Michael Hedigan on a score of 15-3, 15-2. There wasn’t the same outcome for Colin Crehan however, as he was defeated in his Quarter Final by Armagh’s Charly Shanks on a score of 15-11, 15-8.

In the Semi Final, Diarmuid Nash was up against the surprise packet of the tournament, Monaghan’s Gavin Coyle. Diarmuid showed all his experience and composure to win with plenty to spare, on a score of 15-9, 15-3.

It was the final that all handball fans had been waiting for, with the two top seeded players meeting in the final, Diarmuid Nash against Galway’s Martin Mulkerrins. The Moycullen man has an impressive CV to date, which includes an All-Ireland Senior Singles Title in 2018 and a Race For 48 Pro Stop Title within the last month.

Both Nash and Mulkerrins looked in formidable form on their way to the final, with neither player having lost a game on route. It was Mulkerrin’s however who took command of this final from the off and Nash was never able to get himself into the match, no matter how hard he tried.

Mulkerrins would go on to take the title and the valuable ranking points on a score of 15-7, 15-11.


Under 21 and Minor finals in Clooney

A sizeable crowd gathered in Clooney Quin Handball Club on Sunday morning, December 15th, where there were Men’s U21 Doubles and Ladies Minor Singles county titles up for grabs.

The U21s took to the court first where Tuamgraney’s Conor Downes and Fionn Slattery were in action against Mark Crehan, Kilkishen and Darragh Burke, Newmarket on Fergus. It was the Tuamgraney pair the raced into action in the first game, building up a fifteen point lead at 19-4, before Crehan and Burke showed any signs of life.

Men's U21 Doubles Champions: Conor Downes, Clare Handball Secretary Paula Carr Whelan, Fionn Slattery.
Men’s U21 Doubles Champions: Conor Downes, Clare Handball Secretary Paula Carr Whelan, Fionn Slattery.

This came when they reeled off three points in a row and held the Tumagraney duo scoreless for a number of rallies. However Downes and Slattery finally got back in gear and found the two points they needed to take the first game 21-7.

It was a similar story in the second game with Downes and Slattery racing out to a 14-4 lead, but the tide was about to turn for Crehan and Burke as they made a tactical change, swapping Crehan from the right side to the left side of the alley.

This has an immediate effect with the pace of the game upping substantially and this change of pace pile pressure on the Tuamgraney outfit and before long their comfortable lead was gone. Crehan and Burke were now totally transformed and Crehan was controlling the game from the left side, as they took over the lead 16-14.

Both sides now swapped points but Crehan and Burke would force this one into a tiebreaker on a score of 21-19. In the tiebreaker Downes and Slattery regained their composure and started to play Crehan out of the game. This was a wise decision and would see them go on to take the Clare U21 Doubles title on a score of 21-7, 19-21, 21-8.

In the second match of the day Kilkishen’s Chloe Philpott was in action against Tulla’s Orla O’Brien in the Ladies Minor Singles County Final. Philpott went in to this final as the strong favourite having won All Ireland U16 Doubles titles for the last two years.

Ladies Minor Singles Finalists: Orla O'Brien, Clare Handball Secretary Paula Carr Whelan, Chloe Philpott.
Ladies Minor Singles Finalists: Orla O’Brien, Clare Handball Secretary Paula Carr Whelan, Chloe Philpott.

This did not seem to faze O’Brien one bit as she tore into the game and won the opening exchanges, leading 3-0 before long. However this was when the Kilkishen player started to show her class. Philpott’s mobility around the court, accurate passing shots and powerful serves were too much for the Tulla player and Philpott took the first game 21-9.

In the second game O’Brien knew that she had to put it up to the younger player or else this match would get away from her. O’Brien showed excellent grit and determination throughout the second game and at a various points had the Kilkishen player casting a frustrated shadow aorunf the court.

Once again though it was Philpott’s power and command of the centre of the alley which proved to be too much for the Tulla player and she would go on to claim the Minor Singles title on a score of 21-9, 21-14.


Clooney Quin crowned Division 1 Champions

There was a full house in Tulla Handball Club on Tuesday night, December 10th, for the Clare Handball League Division 1 Final. The reigning champions, Clooney Quin were up against the team that had beaten twice already this year, in Kilkishen B.

The night started off in great fashion with the first tie turning out to be an absolute cracker. Clooney Quin’s Seán Coughlan and Pat Nolan took on Kilkishen B’s Barry McMahon and John Cooney. This game was extremely tight from the get go. There were numerous breath taking rallies with both sides coming out on top.

Clare Handball Division 1 Champions, Clooney Quin: Shane Hayes, Fergal Coughlan Jnr, John Cawley, Darren O'Neill, Seán Coughlan, Pat Nolan.
Clare Handball Division 1 Champions, Clooney Quin: Shane Hayes, Fergal Coughlan Jnr, John Cawley, Darren O’Neill, Seán Coughlan, Pat Nolan.

The first major incident of the game came at 7-7 in the first when Kilkishen’s John Cooney hobbled out of a rally holding his right calf muscle. Play was immediately halted by referee Tommy Hegarty, a medical timeout of fifteen minutes was granted and Cooney went off court to receive medical attention.

This was the last part that Cooney would play in the final as he subsequently had to be subbed, with his replacement, Kevin O’Callaghan, stepping in to join McMahon to complete the rest of the first tie. O’Callaghan to his credit took the tie by the scruff of the neck.

He brought a new edge to the Kilkishen pair, killing shots off the backwall and making some vital picks at the front of the court. This new impetus gave the Kilkishen pair a 16-12 lead. It was at this point Coughlan and Nolan made a tactical move, switching Nolan on to the left side of the alley. This moved paid dividends with the Clooney pair charging back.

This game went right down to the wire and at 20-20 both pairs had chance to finish the game, but it was Kilkishen who took it on the narrowest of margins 21-20. The second game started with Kilkishen racing into an 10-0 lead. It was at this point that Clooney Quin made yet another pivotal tactical switch.

A timeout was called by Clooney Quin and upon the players return, Nolan and Coughlan returned to their original positions on court. Clooney Quin then went on a run which would see them right back in the tie at 14-14.

It was at this point that another injury timeout was needed, when after a long rally involving a number of diving picks that Nolan made the referee aware that he was bleeding. Play was stopped and a medical timeout of fifteen minutes was granted to the Clooney player. Nolan returned to the alley with a substantial bandage on his right elbow and play resumed.

This break seemed to be to the detriment of Kilkishen B with Clooney Quin going on to close the game out 21-16.

In the second tie Clooney Quin’s John Cawley and Fergal Coughlan Jnr faced off against Kilkishen B’s Conor Cooney and Seán Murphy. Clooney Quin went into this second tie with a slender lead of just four points after the first tie. This was obviously on the minds of Cawley and Coughlan as they started with all guns blazing.

Coughlan was at times majestic and Cawley was playing error free handball. Cooney and Murphy to their credit were also making very few mistakes but Coughlan was in flying form and he led Clooney Quin to a 21-13 first game. This meant that Clooney Quin had to reach 9 points in the last game to regain the title.

This they duly did and they went on to close out the game 21-17, meaning Clooney Quin were the victors on the night on an overall score of 83-67.

Afterwards Clare Handball Chairperson Eoghan Hynes presented the Clooney Quin side, Seán Coughlan, Fergal Coughlan Jnr, Pat Nolan, John Cawley, Shane Hayes and Darren O’Neill with their Division 1 winners medals.


Clare Handball Juvenile County Championships

Action continued in the Clare Handball Juvenile Championships last weekend with the singles grades reaching the semi-final stage. One of the highlights of the weekend’s action had to be the enthralling battle between Tulla’s Tony Leyden and Tuamgraney’s Rossa Keehan in the Boys U16 county semi-final in Clooney.

Both players gave an exhibition of handball and it was unfortunate that there had to be a loser at the end. After playing at break neck speed for over an hour, it was Tony Leyden who came through on a winning margin of 11-4 in the tiebreaker after having just halted Keehan at 21-20 in the second game.

Leyden will now go on to face Jamie Howard, who came through the other semi-final against Darragh Moroney, on the Clare Handball Juvenile Finals Weekend.

All players who won their respective semi-finals last weekend will now go on to play on The Clare Handball Juvenile Finals Weekend on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th of January 2020.

Clare Handball Juvenile Championship Results

Date: Friday, December 13th, Venue: Kilkishen

U14 Girls Rd Robin: Sarah Wiley dft Rachel Danaher 15-12, 15-12.

U14 Girls Rd Robin: Aoife Frost dft Ellen Collins 15-7, 15-7.

U14 Girls Rd Robin: Ellen Collins dft Sarah Wiley 15-11, 15-14.

U14 Girls Rd Robin: Rachel Danaher dft Aoife Frost 15-13, 15-6.

Date: Saturday, December 14th, Venue: Clooney

U12 Boys Singles Semi Final: Liam Murphy dft Danny Ryan, 15-5, 15-1.

U14 Boys Singles Semi Final: Finn Boyce -v- Mikey Bogenberger, Walkover to Boyce.

U14 Boys Singles Semi Final: Christian Cummins dft Eden Buckley, 15-9, 15-8.

U15 Girls Singles Semi Final: Fina Close dft Emer Rodgers, 15-13, 15-13.

U16 Boys Singles Semi Final: Jamie Howard dft Darragh Moroney, 21-8, 21-13.

U16 Boys Singles Semi Final: Tony Leyden dft Rossa Keehan, 19-21, 21-20, 11-4.

U16 Singles Semi-Final: Tony Leyden, Rossa Keehan.
U16 Singles Semi-Final: Tony Leyden, Rossa Keehan.

Date: Saturday, December 14th, Venue: Toonagh

U15 Boys Singles Semi Final: David Considine dft Mici Sheedy, 15-8, 6-15, 15-8.

U17 Boys Singles Semi Final: Gearóid Sheedy dft Arron Shanahan, 21-19, 21-3.

U12 Boys Singles Semi Final: Paul Rodgers dft Mark McGrath, 15-4, 15-5.

U13 Boys Singles Semi Final: Jerry O’Connor dft Billy Moroney, 15-14, 15-8.

U15 Boys Singles Semi Final: Liam Madden dft Lorcan O’Connor, 15-2, 7-15, 15-7.

U15 Girls Singles Semi Final: Aine Lenihan dft Saoirse Keogh, 15-5, 15-4.

U17 Boys Singles Semi Final: Darragh Keogh dft Tomas Minogue, 21-11, 21-11.


Clare Handball League Division 2

Tuamgraney Back to Winning Ways

Tuamgraney (Conor Downes, Cathal McKenna, Shane Walsh, Thomas Minogue) hosted Toonagh (Kevin Hassett, Brian Reilly, Alan Cummins, Michael Callinan) on Wednesday night December 11th for Round 12. This was a reasonably comfortable victory for the home side, which saw them take the points on an overall score of 82-45.

In Newmarket the home side of (Mike Hogan, Colin O’Halloran, Blake Sheedy, Darragh Burke) welcomed their near neighbours, Clarecastle (Patrick Casey, Pakie Healy, Finbarr Sheridan, Jamie Coughlan). This as was expected an extremely hard fough match with little between both sides throughout.

It was the Clarecastle who would come out on top at the end on a score of 75-69. This result means that Clarecastle have secured their place in the semi-finals along with Tuamgraney.

Clooney Quin A (Darren O’Neill, Ryan O’Neill, Pa Clune, John Nihil) welcomed Kilkishen (Greg Shanahan, Niall Crehan, Mark Crehan, Jacob Loughnane) to Clooney on Wednesday night also. This was the closest match of the weekend, with an average of only one point per game separating the sides at the end.

Clooney Quin A took the win with a final score of 64-60.

As things stand after Round 12, the top four teams are well ahead of the three teams below them. This means that our semi-finalists are now known, it just depends on the order in which they finish. Tuamgraney see themselves sitting pretty at the top of the Division 2 table, so they will go into the semi-finals as the number 1 seeded team.

Kilkishen, Clarecastle and Clooney Quin A will now battle it out to see who gains second spot. The outcome of the last two rounds of the league stages will have a huge bearing on who will end up in this year’s Division 2 League Final, to be played on Wednesday January 22nd.

Tie of Round 13 will be, Kilkishen v Tuamgraney

Wed Dec 18th at 8pm – Clare Handball League – Division 2, Round 13

Venue: Kilkishen – Match: Kilkishen v Tuamgraney

Venue: Toonagh – Match: Toonagh v Newmarket on Fergus

Venue: Clarecastle – Match: Clarecastle v Clooney B


Clare Handball League Division 3

Toonagh A Finish League Stages Undefeated

Tuamgraney (Jason McCarthy, Emmett Ryan, Oisín Molloy, Keith Hogan) welcomed the high flying Toonagh A side (Michael Callinan, Brian Reilly, Philip Lucas, Noel Barry) to Tuamgraney on Monday night December 9th for the last round, Round 10 of Division 3.

The home side, like many other sides this year, really but it up to the Toonagh side, but once again Toonagh showed their grit to take victory on a score of 67-64.

In Toonagh, it was a very different story for Toonagh B (Eoghan Hynes, Declan Vaughan, Shane Lenihan, Shane Griffen) who struggled to get into the game against Newmarket on Fergus (Barry O’Driscoll, Colin O’Halloran, Seandha Liddy, Cian Fawl). The travelling side took victory here on a final score of 84-23.

In Clooney, the home side (Kevin Keogh, Rory Corbett, Brian Stack, Brian Clune) welcomed Kilkishen (Adam Murray, Fionn Hickey, Colm Cleary, Alan O’Dea). Clooney were dominant throughout this match and they took victory on a final score of 84-34.

Round 10 saw the completion of the regular league stages. Toonagh A have been the team to beat so far, sitting undefeated on the top of the table.

This means that the fourth place side, Newmarket on Fergus, have the unenviable task of travelling to Toonagh for the first semi-final. Clooney Quin finished in second position which has earned them a home semi-final against the third placed team, Tuamgraney. All semi-final will be played on Monday December 16th.

The Division 3 Final will take place on Monday January 6th in a venue to be announced. Please check out Clare Handball on Facebook and Twitter for further details.

Mon Jan 6th at 8pm – Clare Handball League – Division 3, Final


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