Young guns make big impact in world tests

Young players from St. Joseph's in Wexford town who are competing in the world championships.
Young players from St. Joseph's in Wexford town who are competing in the world championships.

AFTER A long wait the action got under way on Thursday morning last in the world handball championships in the hugely-impressive 21court arena in the Citywest in Dublin, with over 2,000 competitors spread over an array of grades and competitions from four wall to one wall.

Dreams for many players for some time have been realised over the opening few days as Wexford players as young as ten and eleven got into action, and in the eleven and under singles three Wexford players have been making quite an impression, with Ciarán Power, Diarmuid Moore and Glen Murphy all into the last 16 after surviving the opening three rounds.

Power has yet to lose a set in his challenge, beating RúairíQuinn, Brian James Dunstan and Tim Prenter so far ahead of his big clash with number one seed Eoghan McGinnity. Moore and Murphy will lock horns in the last 16 stage, meaning at least one Wexford player will advance to the eleven and under quarter-finals.

So far in the competition Diarmuid Moore has defeated Jason O'Toole and Jack Lee while Glen Murphy has defeated Rúairí McDonald and Liam Egan to set up the all-Model county last 16 clash.

Colm Kiely and Cian Browne did pick up wins in round two of the competition but unfortunately lost out in round three, while Richard Lawlor was beaten in round two by Mark Rodgers by two games to one.

Todd Hynes and Daniel Kavanagh have both progressed to the last 16 of the 13 and under boys' singles after putting some nice results together over the past couple of days. Hynes (St. Mary's), son of the legendary Tommy Hynes, has won his opening two games of the championships to secure the last 16 berth by beating Pádraig Delaney 2-1, and in the round of 32 he defeated Odhran Quinn 2-0 to set up a big clash with number nine seed Ciarán Cooney.

Daniel Kavanagh from the other handball club in Wexford town, St. Joseph's, has powerfully demonstrated his skills in the first two rounds, beating Conor Murphy and Michael Egan 2-0, and has set up a mouth-watering last 16 clash with number one seed Cian O Conghaile.

Number six seed Patrick Boland from Templeudigan was knocked out in round three of the same grade, after a second round win over Ben Flynn by two games to zero. An agonising loss to Risteárd Duggan from Limerick ended Boland's hopes in the singles event.

Holly Hynes completed a magical Sunday morning for the Hynes family by securing a last 16 spot in the girls' 13 and under singles after an impressive second round win. In a three-set thriller of a game, Hynes came from a set down to beat Maggie Byrne 14-15, 15-2, 11-1. In the last 16 Holly is up against number four seed, Ella Donnellan.

Seamus Sinnott from St. Martin's club in Piercestown is on a right charge with three fine wins in the boys' 15 and under singles sending him into the last 16. Seamus got his week under way with an impressive 2-0 win over Jack Hayes in the opening round and followed up with a similar scoreline win over Matthew McCartan in the second round.

The third round had a similar feel about it as Sinnott continued to dominate in a 2-0 win over Stephen Smith, and he is full of confidence heading into the last 16 where he meets number seven seed Brian McAnenly.

Not so lucky in the boys' Under-15 singles was Daniel Kelly who was defeated in the second round by Tiernan O'Brien by two games to zero.

Turning to the adult grades, four Wexford players have survived the marathon so far in the men's 'C' singles, with Darren O'Toole, Michael Berry, Paddy Berry and Felix Doran all still standing in a grade containing close to 200 players.

In the past this has been a test of a lot more than handball with stamina, fitness and mental strength being pushed to the max in this event.

Darren O'Toole, one of the favourites for this crown, has three 2-0 wins behind him already, seeing off John Kennedy, Marcus Sheridan and Stuart Heslin with little trouble.

Michael Berry has been on fire with four huge wins under his belt to get to the last 16. In the opening three rounds he defeated Seamus Casserly, Colum Shanks and Darren Madden before he shocked the third seed, Peter Reilly, 20 in the last 32 and now meets William Love from Kilkenny in what should be a huge game.

Paddy Berry has been moving along nicely with wins over Damien Finnegan and James Moakley, before receiving a walkover in round three from Jason O'Brien. Next on his list is Peter Flanagan in round four.

Felix Doran is coming from the handball wilderness to round four. Out of the game in recent years, Doran slipped in under the radar nicely with early wins over John Boyle, Nevin McCartin and Georgie Ryan, and meets Jerome Santerre in round four.

Jason Murphy and Michael Busher both saw their men's 'C' challenge come undone at round four, while Fergal McWilliams and Richard Martin Jnr. were defeated in round two.

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