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Saturday 21 October 2017

Juvenile top aces

Young handballers excel at nationals

The Wexford quartet on the successful Leinster girls' team with coach Gavin Buggy
The Wexford quartet on the successful Leinster girls' team with coach Gavin Buggy
Jake Doyle and Ryan Walsh before their Under-16 singles contest in Bridgetown on Sunday
Irish Junior Nationals 40 x 20 champions Mark Doyle, Jodie Keeling and Josh Kavanagh

Wexford juvenile handballers were in top form in Galway recently as they came away with three prestigious titles at the 40 x 20 Irish Junior Nationals in the shape of Jodie Keeling of St. Joseph's (girls' 13 and under 'B' singles), Mark Doyle of Taghmon (boys' 13 and under singles), and Josh Kavanagh of St. Joseph's (boys' 15 and under singles).

Jodie, the youngest of the trio, produced a series of sparking performances all weekend, culminating in a 15-6, 15-13 victory over Amy McKeogh (Ballina, Tipperary) in her final in the Mícheál Breathnach club to take the honours.

The very talented Mark Doyle swept the boards at boys 13 and under without ever coming under serious pressure. He saw off all challengers on the Saturday and then beat Kilkenny's Kyle Jordan in the final comfortably.

Mark recently won the GAA Handball All-Ireland boys' Under-14 doubles title with Conor Murphy.

Josh Kavanagh's star continued to rise as he had a terrific 15-12, 15-12 victory against the highly-rated Lorcan McBride (Carrickmore, Tyrone) in the boys 15 and under final.

Josh was gaining revenge for his All-Ireland Under-16 singles final defeat to the same opponent, and by general consensus this was a terrific game between both boys yet again.

All three players have been to the forefront of Wexford Juvenile handball's fortunes over the last few months as our younger players made the headlines at national level.

Cora Doyle for good measure won the girls 17 and under plate competition, beating Aoife Floyd in her final and capping a terrific weekend for Wexford Juvenile handball. 

Wexford was also well represented at the inter-provincial handball finals in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, recently.

The Wexford girls - St. Joseph's trio Eva Crean, Cora Doyle and Jodie Keeling plus Coolgreany's Clíodhna O'Connell - beat off the strong challenge of Connacht 85-61 and then edged out Munster 83-77 in a top-class game that went down to the wire.

Wexford pair Eva and Cora proved too strong for the Munster opposition.

By general consensus this was the first Leinster victory in the competition in many years, so congratulations to the Wexford girls and the full team.

A huge programme of Juvenile games got the go ahead over the last week as the 60 x 30 alleys around the county were alive with the sound of the 'alley cracker'.

For a long time now Wexford has been widely regarded as the home of 60 x 30, and this was certainly in evidence among our younger players as ten clubs were represented by close on 200 Juveniles in the search for county honours.

There is a detailed list of fixtures available to view on the Wexford Handball website, and we wish all of the boys and girls the very best of luck.

Wexford People

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