US Handball Trip

USA Handball
U.S.A Trip American Junior Nationals

Lattof YMCA

Des Plaines, Illinois

A group of young players from the club recently travelled to the Junior Nationals held in Chicago in the company of Br. Finbar Spring, Babs Kiely, Tess Martin, Ger Kelly, and Ann Towey. The players who travelled are as follows: Kavan O’ Keeffe, Oisin Hallahan, William Beresford, Seamus O’ Sullivan, John-Joe Quealy, Rian Hayes, Ella Gantley, and Saoirse Kelly.
We left Dungarvan at 6am on 26th of December and arrived in O’Hare airport in Chicago at 2pm local time. We were met at the airport by the bus which then brought us to our accommodation, Hampton Inn and Suites, in Mount Prospect.
It was -27˚C outside but thankfully the courts were well heated. First up was Kavan O’ Keeffe playing in the 19&U championship. Kavan got off to a flying start winning his first two rounds advancing to the Quarter Final of the Open Championship. Oisin Hallahan also won his first two rounds of the 17&U open Championship advancing to the Quarter Finals as well.However Kavan and Oisin both lost their Quarter Final matches to two top seeded players meaning Kavan would drop down to the Semi Final of the 19&U A Championship and Oisin would drop down to the Semi Final of the 17& U A Championship. Kavan was unlucky to be beaten in his Semi Final only narrowly losing 21-20 21-17. Oisin won his Semi Final heading into the Final of the 17&U A Championship. Oisin was unfortunate to lose his final as he was beaten 11-10 in the tiebreaker. William Beresford, John-Joe Quealy, Rian Hayes and Seamus O’ Sullivan all competed in the 15&U Championship. William and Seamus were successful in reaching the Quarter Final of the Open Championship. Unfortunately William and Seamus lost their Quarter Final matches also which meant they would both drop down to the Semi Finals of the 15&U A championship. They both met in the finals where William beat Seamus in two games to win the A title. . Rian and John-Joe both won their first round games of the Open Championship however they lost in the second round meaning they would drop down to the Semi Final of the B Championship. They were both unlucky to lose their matches with both matches being heavily contested.Ella Gantley and Saoirse Kelly both competed in the girls 13&U Championship with Saoirse getting to the final of the Open Championship and only narrowly losing in a thrilling match by one ace in the tiebreaker. Ella Gantley reached the final of the A championship and won the title in two games in outstanding fashion. Both girls also played very well in the doubles however they were beaten in their first game as they faced players a lot more experienced than them as they were put into the 19&U doubles due to the lack of doubles teams in the competition.Oisin Hallahan and his American doubles partner Colin Peters also did very well reaching the Semi Finals of the 17&U Open Championship but were unlucky to lose 11-9 in the tiebreaker
Kavan O’ Keeffe and his American doubles partner Patrick Cooke also did well reaching the Semi Finals of the 19&U Open Championship but came up against tough opponents and were beaten in two games
Both William and John-Joe and Seamus and Rian were unlucky to lose their first doubles games but they gave 100% effort in their games and never gave up on any ball.
We managed to bring home 5 medals in the end: 2 winners and 3 runners up.To our hosts, Don Quinlan and his group, we would like to say a huge thank you for the great welcoming they gave us and for bringing us to and from the courts every day. Also we would like to thank Don for bringing us to the mall, the ice cream parlour, the church on Sunday and for bringing us ice skating in the city. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and we hope to see Don and his handballers here in Abbeyside sometime soon.
We would also like to thank Vern Roberts for the well run Junior Nationals. Everyone enjoyed the trip and we are looking forward to next year.
Yours in Sport
For and on behalf of Friary/Ballinacourty/Abbeyside handballers,
Oisin Hallahan

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