Ballaghaderreen’s Stephen Cooney claimed the men’s 23 and under title at the Irish Nationals Championships in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, last weekend. The Mayo ace comfortably defeated Sam Temple from Kildare in the quarter-finals and followed that win with a 21-12, 21-11 defeat of Newport’s Ciaran Burke in the semi-final. Cooney faced Limerick’s C J Fitzpatrick in the decider on Sunday last.
The Mayo man won the opening game comfortably 21 aces to 6 but lost the second 21 aces to 17. In a tense tie-break third, Cooney prevailed to take the title 11 aces to 6. He thus secured an automatic spot on the official Irish team for the World championships in Dublin this October. Bofield handballer Jason Judge just missed out on a title as he was beaten by Galway’s Morgan Duggan in the masters B singles final on a 21-12, 21-19 scoreline. Judge battled his was through some very tough matches in the eight strong field and should be well seeded come the World Championships in Dublin in October.
The weekend event saw Connacht’s younger handballers pick up a number of titles which qualified them for inclusion on the official Irish team as Martin Mulkerrins and Ciana Ni Churraoin on the boys’ u19 and girls’ u17 singles events. Mayo’s Joe McCann, Dessie Keegan, and Vinny Moran were all contenders in the men’s open event. Keegan lost out to eventual winner Robbie McCarthy from Mullingar while McCann was beaten by finalist Michael Gregan from Wicklow and Moran was beaten by Clare’s Diarmuid Nash.
A number of Mayo handballers feature in the Cumann na mBunscoil finals this weekend while May 1 is the final closing date for the Handball Summer Camp 2012. The event is being hosted this year at the Breaffy House Resort, Castlebar, from Friday July 20 to Sunday July 22. The camp caters for handball lovers from the ages 11 to 16 and all three codes of the game will be catered for. The country’s top coaches will be in attendance and there will be a variety of other activities and sports talks over the weekend. The fee is €160 for each child and the entry form can be downloaded at www.gaahandball.ie