Four Galway Players Reach Junior National Handball Finals


Ireland’s finest underage handballers descended on ten different venues in Tyrone, North Monaghan and Armagh venues one of the biggest weekends for juvenile handball, the Junior Nationals. Galway were well represented throughout the various age groups. Claregalway’s Niamh Heffernan reached the Girls U17 singles final where she faced Mollie Dagg. The Kildare woman started strongly and lead 6-1 and 7-3 before the Galway player made a comeback to reduce the gap to one, 9-8.

Dagg’s roof shots caused her opponent problems and she pushed 14-9 ahead and one point away from claiming the opening game. Heffernan managed to earn the chance to serve and tied the game at 14-14. Dagg remained composed and an excellent serve allowed her a front wall kill shot to claim the opening game. The second game was another tight affair with the Kildare player edging it to claim the Girls U17 title as Heffernan fell short in her attempt to claim back to back Junior National titles.

Mikey Kelly reached the final of the Boys U15 competition before he was beaten by Wexford’s Mark Doyle on a score line of 15-7 15-4. Kelly secured his place in the final by winning three games, most notably 15-12 15-13 against Kyle Jordan in the semi final. The Kilkenny man secured the U13 title last year but Kelly produced an assured performance to win. The Abbeykncokmoy man entered as top seed but he suffered defeat to a determined opponent as the game finished 15-7 15-4. Jordan, the number two seed, was defeated in last year’s U15 final and produced an excellent display of attacking handball to take home the title.

There was success for Niamh Burke in the Girls U15 B final as she overcame Waterford’s Saoirse Kelly to secure a 15-10 15-2 victory. The Abbeyknockmoy player faced a tough run to the final as she was drawn to play in a preliminary quarter final. However, she won all four of her matches as she secured an impressive triumph. Nicole Sweeney reached the U17 B Girls final after she came through a semi-final with Micheál Breathnachs’ Bróna Ní Cheallacháin. The Annaghdown handballer was beaten by Carlow’s Katie Barrett in the final.

Girls 17 & Under Final: Mollie Dagg (Kildare) dft Niamh Heffernan (Galway) 15-14, 15-11

Boys 15 & Under Final: Mark Doyle (Wex) dft Mikey Kelly (Galway) 15-7, 15-4

Girls 15 & Under B Final: Niamh Burke (Galway) dft Saoirse Kelly (Waterford) 15-10, 15-2

Girls 17 & Under B Final: – Katie Barrett (Carlow) dft Nicole Sweeney (Galway) 15-5, 15-3

Hardball Championships

Alan Byrne and Conor Noone were defeated in the quarter finals of the Junior Hardball Championships on Sunday. The pair received a walkover against Tipperary’s Aidan and Patrick Supple in the last 16 before facing Kildare’s Myles and Ivan Carroll. The Galway pair were defeated 21-16, 21-16. There was better news for Abbeyknockmoy’s Jamie Kelly who beat Ivan Carroll in the last 16 of the Junior Singles. He prevailed in a tiebreaker, eventually winning out 21-14 12-21 21-7.