TG4 Irish One-Wall Nationals 2011 Results from Castlebar – see below for a few photos more anon ..

Men’s Open Herman Mendez ( USAdft Wally Armano (Puerto Rico) 9-15, 15-7, 11-1

Ladies Open Karen McConney (USA) dft Michelle Melendez (Puerto Rico) 15-14, 15-11

Ladies B Amy Corrigan ( Mayodft Leona Ryder (Mayo) 31-7

Ladies Ch. Kathleen Briedenhaan (UK) dft Tara Taylor (Roscommon) 24-16

Men 23 & Under A Seamus O’Carroll (Limerick) bt Ciaran Burke (Mayo) 19-16

Men’s 23 & Under B Dan Breen (Kilkenny) dft Shane Walsh (Kilkenny) 31-8

Men’s B Peter Hughes (Wexford) dft Niall Flynn (Longford) 20-17

Men’s CGer McGrath (Carlow) dft Daniel Fenlon (Kilkenny) 23-12

Men’s Ch. Martin Havern (Down) dft Liam O’Ceallaigh (Ros) 19-10

MAS Aengus Cunningham (Roscommon) dft Niall Kerry (Tyrone) 17-16

SMA Sean McNally( Down) dft Joe Dowling (Mayo) 27-9

GMS Eamonn Conneely (Galway) dft Francis McCann (Sligo) 25-13

EMA Dermot Doolin (Roscommon) dft Peter Larkin (Monaghan) 26-12

DMA Morgan Darcy (Galway) dft Sean Devlin (Louth) 23-10

RMS Colm O’Cualain (Galway) dft Tadhg O’Curraidhin (Galway) 21-10

GU10 Sinead Havern (Down) dft Chloe Lydon (Unknown) 11-10

G12 Ella Donellan (Clare) dft Heather Spellman (Galway) 27-10

G14 Emer Beatty (Galway) dftAineO’Keffe (Kildare) 31-15

G16 Ciana Ní Churraoin (Galway) dft Maeve McElduff (Tyrone) 24-12

G18 Catriona Casey ( Corkdft Raquel Garcia (USA) 24-12

BU10D D Curran, L McBride (Tyrone) dftFarrelly. C McCartan (Mh/Tyrone) 21-10

B12 Diarmuid Mulkerrins (Galway) dftTiarnan Agnew (TBA) 28-18

B14 Niall Allison (Tyrone) dft Fergal Coughlan (Clare) Scores TBA

B16 Johnny Woods (Tyrone) dftPól Clarke (Tyrone) 19-11

B18 Joshua Garcia (USA) dft Killian Carroll (Cork) 29-12

Plate Results

MO Niall Malone(Clare)bt James Doyle (Armagh) 18-14

Ladies B Lisa McAleer (Tyrone) dft Aileen Quinn (Kildare) 15-11

Ladies Ch.Michelle Warren (Tyrone) dft Maria Curran (Tyrone) 20-16

MB Paul Lambert (Wexford) dft Padraig O’C arroll (Limerick) 12-6

MC Shane Briody (Cavan) dft Kevin Meehan (Sligo) 16-3

M23 & U B John Hurley (Clare) dft Daniel Murray (UK) 13-9

Men’s Ch Edward McCavitt (Armagh) dft John Fitzgerald (Kilkenny) 13-4

SMA Padraig Maguire (Kildare) dft Michael O Culain (Galway) 19-2

GMAS John Cawley (Clare) dft Liam Burke ( Mayo) 15-8

G12 Leah Doyle (Kildare) dft Ciara Mullan (Tyrone) 14-10

G14 Elaine Mitchell (Galway) dft Aoife Quinn(Sligo) 16-11

B12 Ben Devlin (TBA) dftOdhran Quinn (Sligo)19-9

B14 Desmond Conneely (Galway) dft Michael Varley (Dublin) 20-8

B16 GabhainnMcCrystal (Tyrone) dft RyanMullan (Tyrone) 10-7

B18 Niall Malone (Clare) dftJamie Lynch ( Clare) 

The cream of World one-wall talent came to Castlebar for the 2011 Irish One-Wall Nationals which were held in the Breaffy House Sports Complex from 31st June -3rd July last. The sports complex had 5 one-wall courts with games going on simultaneously and two new outdoor courts were added this year. A record entry of over 500 players in the TG4 sponsored event seen new records, new champions emerge. Peurto Rico and U.S sent their top handball teams and they charmed the Irish Handball fraternity with their outstanding one-wall skills.It was truly amazing. Italy & England were also represented. On the Thursday there was an International challenge event between USA, Puerto Rico, England & Ireland.Wally Amaro & Michelle Melendez became the 1st winners of the inaugural TG4 International Challenge with an 41-25 win over USA’s Pee Wee Castro & Karen McConney.There was also an International challenge in the Boys U-18 grade with Cork’s Killian Carroll defeatingJosh Garcia U.S. with a stunning performance winning11-9 in a timed contest.

On Saturday presentations were made to all the visiting delegations by Irish Handball President Walter O’Connor

The Juvenile grades continue to throw up news stars and standards continue to reach new levels There was eye catching displays by Maeve McElduffTyronein her18-12 win over Roscommon’s Lauran O’Riordan and Cork’s Killian Carroll 17-10 defeat over the ever improving ConalMcKevitt from Armagh in the knockout stages.

All the Juvenile finals were keenly contested. Josh Garcia & Killian Carroll had a fantastic battle in the Boys U-18 final with the American just holding out from the gallant Carroll. Johnny Woods from the famed Tyrone nursery took the U-16 singles title while Cork’s Catriona Casey defeated Racquel Garcia U.S.A 20-13 in another great final. Cianna Ni Churraoin won the Girls U-18 final and there wins for Tyrone’s Niall Allison & Emer Beatty Galway at U-14 level.It can only be a matter of time when Ireland will also dominate the one-wall code with such unstoppable Irish talent coming through in Juvenile ranks at the present time.

Aengus Cunningham Roscommonhad a terrific battle with Tyrone’s Niall Kerr Tyrone. Kerr beat Cunningham 11-9 in the Williamstown tie breaker and another absorbingmatch finished 17-17 at the end of the time game. Cunningham just edged it 5-3 in extra time. Galway’sEamon Conneely Galway got the better of Sligo's Francis McCann for the 2nd yearin an row to win theGolden Masters final

Tyrone’s Ruairi Kelly caused a major shock when knocking reigning champion Charly Shanks out in the quarters. Herman Mendez defeated Irish No.2 Robbie McCarthy with a powerful performance.U.S.A’s Pee Wee Castrothe little man with the big heart finally brought Diarmuid Nash’s great run to an end with an 31-10 victory. Wally Amaro ended U.S. WilliamPolanco chances of a win on Irish soil with a solid showing coming through by 23-9.

In the ladies semi-finals Roscommon’s Marianna Rushe was not overawed by top Puerto Rican player Michelle Melendez. Rushe brought the fight to the munch vaunted South American and stunned Melendez winning by 15-13 with an faultless display in game 1.Melendez knew she was in a battle and duly stepped it up a gear. Rushe display never wilted but Melendez intensity increased as she powered her way to the second game by15-1. Rushe received some coaching from her coach Michael Naughton during the 5 minute interval and not even the close proximity of a mobile TV camera overhead could detract them as they plotted an Irish win.However Mendez over whelmed the young Roscommon & Irish star in the tie breaker by 11-1 to reach the final.Last Year’s Ladies champion Lorraine Havern came up against top U.S. player in Karen McConney and Havern too battled with the World champion.Havern pushed the New Yorker all the way before McConney winning it by 15-12, 15-4.Tyrone’s Ruairi Kelly the last remaining Irish player in the Men’s open singles took on Wally Amaro in the 1st semi-final.The athletic Amaro won but Kelly gave a very encouraging display especially in game 2 when he relaxed and tested Amaro to the full.Amaro’s team mate Herman Mendez powered his wayto the final with dazzling display of finishing over Pee Wee Castro from the U.S.

McConney’s Magic

Irish Handball Manager Chris Curran introduced the ladies finalists Michelle Melendez & Karen McConney to the large crowd now assembled. Carrickmore’s Darragh Daly refereed the final. Melendezgot off to a great start when serving an ace straight away to McConney’s left with the U.S.player hardly moving. Melendez moved 3-1 ahead but McConney hit back immediately to level things up at 3-3. Scores were again tied at 4 each.Melendez hit a number of winning volleys and McConney missed a sitter at the front wall giving Melendez a fortuitous score and into the lead by 8-4. Undaunted McConney rallied to again tie the scores at 8-8 after Mendez tossed out her hand with 2 faults. Mendez then took a time out.Mendez playing superbly took a 3 point advantage at 13-10 and looked to have the 1st game in the bag. McConney is a great battler. An excellent return with the ball just dropped in at the back line again had the sides even at 13-13 with the tension mountingall the time. McConney had the greater resolve but Melandez forced the New Yorker to serve game ball 3 times before taking game one by 15-13. 

Into game 2 Melendez fought hard to keep in contention after McConney’s early dominance. The match was delicately poised at 6-6 but McConney asserted her excellent handball skills with some sublime finishing and quick fire serving.Melendez began to miss opportunity’s and her concentration waned as McConney sensed glory and she went for it. Melendez couldn’t stop McConney’s momentum as the World champion took an historic Irish title by 15-7. After the presentation McConney was interviewed by Chris Curran for TG4 "This is one of the most memorable events I have played at and the handball, hospitality and enjoyment I have taken from this have been awesome”.

Tony Hannon made the presentations and following interviews we got ready to witness the men’s final.

Amaro astonishing

Chris Curran introduced first Wally Amaro whom he described as the Usain Bolt of One Wall handball and then Herman Mendez in his colourful red and blue Peurto Rico shirt with the number 1 emblazoned on it.Both players embraced before the final got underway.The skills by both players had to be seen to be believed. Time and time again they picked what looked like winners and their speed of both feet around the court was astonishing. Their serving, hammering the ball with such ferocity had to be seen to be believed. Awesome raw power the Irish followers have rarely seen in one wall handball. Two of the world’s heavy hitters in One-Wall demonstrating amazing athleticism all over the court. The match was very even 4 times during game 1.Mendez with tremendous power serving. He rotated his shoulder out fullybefore unleashing a “bradyesque style stinging serves to Amaro.Amaro was certainly up for it in game 1 as he covered every inch of centre court. Amaro sprayed the ball around the court keeping Mendez guessing at times. At 8-8 in the opening game both players had chances to build on it. Instead it was Amaro who surged clear with devastating fire power.He finished game 1 brilliantly diving full stretch for an expertly executed roll out. Amaro taking game 1 by 15-9.

Mendez World class

Amaro had the better start in game 2 going 3-0 ahead. Then all Ireland seen what the wonderful and magical Mendez is capable off.Mendez with a smashing volley levelled it at 3-3 with the large crowd giving a generous round of applause.Scores were also tied at 4 & 5.It was all Mendez after that as he brought the Mendez heart and passion to his game.Amaro could not break down the stranglehold Mendez had now on the match no matter what he tried. Mendez was equal to what Amaro had to offer. Mendez began to weave his magic and thrilled the spell bound Irish supporters with his skills and finishing. Amaro a top player himself was hapless to do anything about it as Mendez notched up score after score.Mendez brought the game to a tie breaker with a 15-5 blast.

Mendez stunning Irish One-Wall victory

In the tiebreker Mendez scintillating skills was clearly evident giving a master class display. Mendez was simply irresistible with his thunderbolt serves and relentless work rate. Amaro’s first game opening flourish became a quick memory. Mendez took a firm grip on proceedings notching up 10 points in a row.Amaro gained a solitary point and gave a wry smile knowing the contest was as good as over. Amaro put the ball over the right side and Mendez became Irish One-Wall champion. Both players embraced after the final ended. World Handball President Pat Brennan made the long journey from Canada to make the presentations to Amaro and Mendez.Mendez thanked GAA Handball for the invitation and thanked Amaro for a great game and dedicated his win to his son. Both players were interviewed by TG4 shortly afterwards.Everyone is already looking forward to the 2012 Nationals where more records, more pulsating handball from the Puerto Ricans, unbelievable handball from the U.S.A. team and incredible performances from our Irish stars will be witnessed. 

Wally Amaro r-up with Herman Mendez Men's Open Champion Karen McConney Ladies winner with Michelle Mendez r-up Ladies Open
Pat Brennan (Workd Handball Council President) with Herman Mendez Killian Carroll Boys U-18 runner up with Josh Garcia U.S. Boys U-18 winner