Tyrone GAA Handball: 40×20 Championships conclude, 845 games, 45 titles, 260 players, 160 Juveniles…
Following a hectic four week period of GAA Handball All Ireland Juvenile, Adult, Singles and Doubles Championship finals as well as Irish 40×20 Junior and Adult Nationals events, the Tyrone GAA Handball 40×20 Championships brought the final curtain down on a terrific campaign on Sunday.
All County leagues and championships have now been fully concluded with Tony McElduff and Mark McCartan winning the Tyrone Junior Doubles and Darragh Daly and Ryan Mullan claiming the Mens Senior Open Doubles 40×20 Championships, which had previously been put on hold due to Ulster and All Ireland events.
Those weekend finals in the Tyrone GAA Handball Junior and Senior Doubles Championships concluded the entire 40×20 league and championship season in the county, during which there were an impressive total of 845 matches played.
Overall there were 164 Juvenile players who competed across grades from Under 10 up to Under 17 in County Championships while 96 players competed in the 11 Adult Singles & Doubles Championships – giving an overall championship total of 260 players in 40×20 championship handball in 2016.
Meanwhile there were 98 players who competed in the 9 Tyrone GAA Handball Adult League competitions.
The Senior Doubles Championship win for Darragh Daly and Ryan Mullan saw Day win his 7th doubles crown and 9th medal overall with Mullan claiming his first senior medal. The full roll of honour is now listed and updated with 2016 seeing a first for Conor Mcelduff in the Mens Open Senior Singles, a first for Mullan and 7th for Daly in the Senior Doubles and a 2nd for Eilise Mc Crory McCrory in winning the Ladies Open Senior Singles.
Overall it was a very successful 40×20 season for Tyrone GAA Handball and a record breaking one in terms of the achievements again on the court of play. In respect of the level of participation across the grades in the county leagues and championships was beginning to move back towards the numbers witnessed in the mid noughties again.
It was also great to see how finely balanced the spread of titles across the clubs continues to be – a very healthy aspect of the continued growth, competition and development of the sport in the county. From the 44 League and Championship titles up for grabs, Loughmacrory won 15, Breacach 13, Carrickmore 11, Pomeroy 3 and Ceapach 2.
40×20 League & championship titles by Club in 2016:
Loughmacrory Club: 15
Breacach Club Club: 14
Carrickmore Handball Club Club: 11
Pomeroy Plunketts GAC Club: 3
Ceapach/Killyclogher GAA Club: 2
Tyrone GAA Handball 40×20 Championships concluded on Sunday…
Friday 6th May 2016, in Beragh, starting 7.30pm:
Mens Open SD Semi Final 1: Niall Kerr & Sean Kerr (Breacach) dft Conor McElduff & Johnny Woods (Breacach) 21-15, 21-12
Mens Open SD Semi Final 2: Darragh Daly & Ryan Mullan (Carrickmore) w/o Gabhain McCrystall & Pol Clarke (Breacach)
Sunday 8th May 2016, in Beragh, starting at 5pm:
Mens Open SD Final: Darragh Daly & Ryan Mullan (Carrickmore) dft Niall Kerr & Sean Kerr (Breacach) 21-12, 21-9
Mens Junior Doubles Final: Tony McElduff & Mark McCartan (Breacach) dft Seamus McCrory & Rory Grogan (Breacach/Carrickmore) 21-15, 21-15
Juvenile Doubles Championships completed
The Tyrone GAA Handball Juvenile Championships were completed in the past week also and saw two Girls doubles titles go to Loughmacrory and the remaining two boys titles go to Carrickmore.
In the Girls Juvenile Doubles Championship finals, the opening match saw Loughmacrory pair Dearbhail Fox and Niamh Curran, who captured the Ulster under-12 doubles title back in March, claim the Tyrone under-12 doubles championship title with victory over Breacach partnership Bronagh McWilliams and Kerry McNamee..
The girls under-14 doubles county final saw Carrickmore’s Clodagh Munroe and Alanna McCallan record an impressive victory over Dervla Farley and Caoimhe McElduff, with Clodagh adding to her recent singles titles triumphs in the Tyrone and Ulster under-13 championships.
The final match on the programme was the Tyrone under-16 doubles decider and it turned out to be a closely contested match which eventually went the way of Loughmacrory pair, Caitlin Conway and Mairead Fox. Caitlin and Mairead won the opener against Michaela McCartan and Elizabeth McGarvey on a scoreline of 21-13, but the Breacach girls then raised their efforts in the second game and looked set to take the match to a tiebreaker when they went 18-14 ahead, only for the Loughmacrory girls to hit back strongly with a sequence of winning shots to record a 21-18 win.
The Boys Under 14 and Under 16 Doubles Championship finals brought the curtain down on the juvenile action in the county on Friday evening in Beragh and saw a double for Carrickmore. Cahir Munroe and Daire McCallan teamed up to collect in the Boys under 14 final as they denied Killyclogher’s Brian McAleer and Cathair Conway while there was little surprise to see Carrickmore’s Cormac Munroe and Lorcan McBride add to their All Ireland Under 16 doubles championship triumph with a Tyrone final win against Breacach’s Caolan McCartan and Conor Martin.
The Boys Under 10 and Under 12 B Singles Championship finals also went ahead last week and saw a noteworthy double for Pomeroy club. In the Boys Under 10B Singles Final it was Martin Coyle who took the honours with a 15-7, 15-9 win against Loughmacrory’s Padraig Fox. John Paul Coyle added the Boys Under 12B Singles title to his club for the night when he defeated Conor Fox by 15-11, 15-10. Two great games of handball on the evening to conclude the B Singles Championships with a great standard shown by all four young players and indeed all players who competed in this year’s juvenile championships.
As things stand the Tyrone GAA Handball League and Championship honours list reads as follows for 2016…
Tyrone GAA Handball 40×20 League Title Winners 2016:
- Premier League: Conor McElduff (Breacach)
- Division 1: Seamus Mc Crory (Breacach)
- Division 2: Stephen Conway (Loughmacrory)
- Division 3: Micky Owens (Breacach)
- Division 4: Michael Kennedy (Pomeroy)
- DB Premier League: Antoin Fox (Loughmacrory)
- DB Division 1: Caitlin Conway (Loughmacrory)
- DB Division 2: Brian McAleer (Ceapach)
- DB Division 3: Meabh McCrystall (Breacach)
Tyrone GAA Handball 40×20 Juvenile Championship Title Winners 2016:
- Boys U10 Singles: Ruairi McCullagh (Loughmacrory)
- Boys U10 Doubles: Ruairi McCullagh & Padraig Fox (Loughmacrory)
- Boys U11 Singles: Gary McAleer (Loughmacrory)
- Boys U12 Singles: Eoin McElholm (Loughmacrory)
- Boys U12 Doubles: Eoin McElholm & Gary McAleer (Loughmacrory)
- Boys U13 Singles: Jonathan Owens (Breacach)
- Boys U14 Singles: Cahir Munroe (Carrickmore)
- Boys U14 Doubles: Cahir Munroe & Daire McCallan (Carrickmore)
- Boys U15 Singles: Diarmaid Gallagher (Loughmacrory)
- Boys U16 Singles: Antoin Fox (Loughmacrory)
- Boys U16 Doubles: Cormac Munroe & Lorcan McBride (Carrickmore)
- Boys U17 Singles: Ciaran Cuddy (Carrickmore)
- Girls U10 Singles: Aoife Kerr (Breacach)
- Girls U10 Doubles: Aoife Kerr & Rebecca McGarvey (Breacach)
- Girls U12 Singles: Cloda McNamee (Carrickmore)
- Girls U12 Doubles: Dearbhail Fox & Niamh Curran (Loughmacrory)
- Girls U13 Singles: Clodagh Munroe (Carrickmore)
- Girls U14 Singles: Mairead Fox (Loughmacrory)
- Girls U14 Doubles: Clodagh Munroe & Alannah McCallan (Carrickmore)
- Girls U15 Singles: Emer Kerr (Breacach)
- Girls U16 Singles: Ciara Mullan (Carrickmore)
- Girls U16 Doubles: Caitlin Conway & Mairead Fox (Loughmacrory)
- Girls U17 Singles: Cloideach Donaghy (Breacach)
Tyrone GAA Handball 40×20 Adult Championship Title Winners 2016:
- Minor Singles: Sean Kerr (Breacach)
- Junior B Singles: Jerry Keenan (Carrickmore)
- Junior B Doubles: Rian McCaul & Tiernan McAleer (Ceapach)
- Junior Singles: Finbar Fullen (Loughmacrory)
- Junior Doubles: Tony McElduff & Mark McCartan (Breacach)
- Senior B Singles: Ciaran Cuddy (Carrickmore)
- Open Senior Singles: Conor McElduff (Breacach)
- Open Senior Doubles: Darragh Daly & Ryan Mullan (Carrickmore)
- Masters Singles: Niall Kerr (Breacach)
- Masters Doubles: Chris Curran & Stephen Conway (Loughmacrory)
- Ladies Open Senior Singles: Eilise McCrory (Breacach)
Mixed fortunes at Irish Adult 40×20 Nationals
There were mixed fortunes for Tyrone GAA Handball at the concluding competitive National handball weekend in Belfast with Breacach’s Michelle Warren emerging as the only winner from the O’Neill County. Michelle took the honours in the Ladies Challenger grade, claiming her first Nationals title in the 40×20 in the process.
Niall Kerr also made it to the Silver Masters Final, losing out by just a single ace in the end to his old rival, Antrim’s Paddy Crothers by 11-10 in the tie-break.
Darragh Daly also made it to his first ever semi final in Mens Open 40×20 handball as he won his opening game against Roscommon’s Ricky O’Gara in the quarter final before losing out to eventual champion Armagh’s Charly Shanks, in the semi final. The title win was Shanks’ first ever Mens Open National triumph and was certainly a well deserved one and effectively saw him move up to number 1 on the official Irish Mens Open Rankings.
The big tie of the weekend was the ladies eagerly awaited Ladies Open Final showdown involving Cork’s Catriona Casey and Antrim’s Aisling Reilly. In the end it was Casey who repeated her All Ireland Senior Singles Championship success with an 11-5 tie-break victory. That win also saw Casey move to number one in the Irish rankings.
Ultimately the Irish Adult 40×20 Nationals, following on from the huge success of the Irish Junior 40×20 Nationals, was somewhat disappointing with very low numbers across the grades, the total entry coming in at just 84 players in all 12 grades.
A combination of 5 frenetic weekends of Nationals and All Ireland 40×20 Championship action at venues all around the country and the extremely late date for the event certainly contributed to that and would unquestionably need to be reviewed going forward.
However it should be stressed that the move in 2016 by GAA Handball Ireland to host the All Ireland 40×20 Championship Finals in Singles and Doubles was a massive step forward for the sport and proved hugely popular and was a tremendous success.
Overall it was a very successful 40×20 season for Tyrone GAA Handball and a record breaking one in terms of the achievements again on the court of play and in respect of the level of participation across the grades in the county leagues and championships was beginning to move back towards the numbers witnessed in the mid noughties again.
A very positive conclusion indeed for the O’Neill County and plenty to celebrate and look forward to again for the future of the sport of GAA Handball in Tyrone.