Handball Success in Arizona

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Club Dominates 15 and Under Championships at US Nationals  - Mr Gerard Kelly reports.

A strong team of sixheaded off with Brother Spring to the 2019 US Handball Association National Junior 4 Wall Championships, which this year were held in Tucson, Arizona. The team consisted of William Beresford (17 and Under), Charlie Treen, Sean Callaghan & Jack Power (15 and Under) and Saoirse Kelly & Ella Gantly (15 and Under).

In the boys 17 and Under doubles William Beresford teamed up with Fermin Victoria (Los Angeles) to reach the semi-finals where they lost out in a close tie-break match to Anthony Sanchez and George Mitchell (Los Angeles) 21/5, 20/21, 11/2. In the singles event William had an excellent quarter-finals win over Andrew Negrete (San Jose) 15/21, 21/12, 11/3. On to the semi-final where William defeated doubles partner Fermin Victoria 21/15, 18/21, 11/1 to reach the final against George Mitchell (Los Angeles). In a real ding-dong battle Mitchell was victorious 21/20, 21/10. Congratulations to William on his silver medal performance.

In the girls 15 and Under both Saoirse Kelly and Ella Gantly had byes in the first round. In the quarter-finals Saoirse defeated Audrey Peters (Illinois) 21/1, 21/7 while Ella defeated Zoe Klicker (Illinois) 21/9, 21/3. In the semis Saoirse played strongly fancied local Cassie Coolidge (Tucson) defeating her in a close contest 21/6, 18/21, 11/5. In the other semi Ella played Carly Coolidge (Tucson) winning another close contest 21/16, 21/17.  In the all Irish final Saoirse won 21/7, 21/3 to take the US Nationals singles title for the club. Well done to both girls for reaching the final.

In the boys 15 and Under singles Charlie Treen and Sean Callaghan had first round byes. Jack Power played Antonio Rivera (Tucson) winning 21/8, 21/4. In the quarter-final Jack played Josh Dechaine (Alabama) winning well 21/1, 21/5. Sean played Abraham Sanchez (Colorado) in his quarter final, losing out in a close match 20/21, 21/13, 11/2. Sean went on to win the gold medal in the B Championship. Charlie won his quarter final against Andres Sandoval (Tucson) in style 21/4 21/1. In another all Irish encounter Charlie won against Jack in the semi-final 21/2, 21/5. Jack went on to receive the silver medal in the A Championship final against Abraham Sanchez. In the final Charlie defeated Nathan Stoffel (Minnesota) 21/7, 21/11 to bring another singles title back to Friary/Abbeyside/Ballinacourty handball club.

The singles titles won by Saoirse and Charlie are the first American Nationals singles titles in the history of the club.

In the boys 15 and under doubles Jack Power teamed up with Andrew Littman (Illinois) but lost out in a fine match to Abraham Sanchez and Nathan Stoffel in the semi-final 21/9, 21/18. In the other semi-final Sean Callaghan and Charlie Treen defeated Della Croce and Stout (Tucson) 21/1, 21/5. In the final Sean and Charlie had a fantastic 21/4, 21/4 win to take the 15 and Under doubles title back to Waterford.

In the girls 15 and Under doubles Saoirse Kelly and Ella Gantly won all of their round robin matches: 21/7, 21/6 v Coolidge and Eike (Tucson), 21/4, 21/2 v Gillespie and Klicker (Illinois) and 21/7, 21/7 v Klicker and Klicker (Illinois). This win resulted in a clean sweep for the club of all four championship titles (boys and girls, singles and doubles) in the 15 and Under category at the US Nationals!

And to top off a great tournament for the club Saoirse Kelly was also presented with the Vince Gabriele Sportsmanship Award at the Tournament Banquet. George Mitchell received the Most Improved Award with Mallow’s Conor Walsh receiving the Newcomer Award.

The entire team can be rightly proud of their achievements at the most successful ever US Nationals for the club.

The trip would not have been possible without the fundraising activities of team members, parents and supporters and we would like to thank them for all their efforts.

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