Mulkerrins and Heffernan head stateside for world champs

Moycullen’s Martin Mulkerrins captains Ireland at the World Champs.

Moycullen’s Martin Mulkerrins captains Ireland at the World Champs.

Two Galwegians headed to the USA this week to compete in the 2018 World Handball Championships.

Moycullen's Martin Mulkerrins will captain the 13-strong Irish team, which also includes fellow Galwegian Niamh Heffernan from Claregalway.

Mulkerrins, the current All-Ireland senior champion, will be playing in the men's open event, while Heffernan will be a strong contender for the girls' U17 world title.

The 2018 Worlds will take place in Minnesota between August 9 and 19, and Team Ireland have 13 players travelling in the official party.

Mulkerrins who took gold at the 2009, 2012 and 2015 Worlds when a juvenile, captured his maiden All-Ireland senior singles title back in March. Now he will be competing against the USA professional players in his bid for the world men's open title, and he knows it will not be easy.

He believes this year’s singles field at the World Handball Championships is extremely tough, and includes world champion Paul Brady from Cavan.

Niamh Heffernan, regarded as a rising star of the game, also plays camogie at county level. She previously took home gold medals from Calgary, Canada in 2015, and will have her eyes on the U17 gold this time round.

The first aces of the championships will be served out tomorrow in the one-wall divisions, with the prestigious four-wall grades, in which Mulkerrins and Heffernan compete, scheduled to begin on Sunday.

Another Galway member is Frances Curran of Michael Breathnach's, who is traveling to Minnesota as Team Ireland's liaison officer.

Ten countries are represented in this year's championships, which are held every three years. The 2021 Worlds will be hosted in Ireland with the finals being played in the new facility currently under construction at Croke Park.

The games will be streamed live on GAA Handball Facebook.

Team Ireland squad: Mairéad Fox (Tyrone, U15 ), Niamh Heffernan (Galway, U17 ), Megan McCann (Armagh, U19 ), Josh Kavanagh (Wexford, U15 ), Eoghan McGinnity (Monaghan, U17 ), Shane Dunne (Kilkenny, U19 ), Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath, Open ), Paul Brady (Cavan, Open ), Martin Mulkerrins (Galway, Open ), Diarmaid Nash (Clare, Open ), Aisling Reilly (Antrim, Open ), Martina McMahon (Limerick, Open ), Conor McElduff (Tyrone, One Wall ). Coaches are Michael Finnegan (Cavan, head coach ) and Frances Curran (Galway, female liaison officer ).


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