Sixteen DCU students travelled to Wexford to take part in the Irish Collegiate Handball Association’s All Ireland 40X20 Doubles Tournament Intervarsities, which were held from November 21st to 23rd.
Aishling O’ Keeffe and Clodagh McManamon were narrowly defeated by University of Limerick’s Ciana Ní Churraoin and Lisa Loughnane in the Women’s Open final. DCU began stronger, rushing to a 16-6 lead on the UL pairing. However, UL fought back and levelled the game at 17 apiece. Clodagh’s outstanding kill shots brought the game to 20-17. The UL pairing fought back to level the game at 20-20. UL were victorious by the narrowest of margins, 21-20.
The second game was another nail biter. UL developed a strong lead over the DCU pairing, rushing to a 9-3 lead. DCU fought back to take the game to 17-18. However, UL proved to be the stronger side and won the second game 21-17.
Ryan Treanor and first year student Gary Mc Elroy enjoyed success in the Men’s B plate, where they defeated DIT’s James Smith and Mark Quinn in the final. Gary and Ryan were in full control from the start, comfortably winning the first game 21- 13. The second match was a much tighter affair. However, DCU maintained their composure, taking the gripping second game 21-17.
Despite reaching 4 separate finals, DCU suffered some heartbreaking defeats. DCU’s Men’s Open pairing of Terry McElvaney and Darren Doherty overcame UL’s Colin Crehan and Barry McMahon in a thrilling tie-breaker to reach the Men’s Open final. However, they fell to UCD’s Martin Mulkerrins and Galen Riordan in what was the most anticipated match of the tournament. Despite a strong performance from Darren in the first game, Mulkerrins’ experience in All-Ireland finals proved to be the difference between the teams, as UCD took the first game 21-14. DCU came back fighting in the second game, levelling with UCD on numerous occasions. However, they rarely went ahead of UCD, and Mulkerrins soon overwhelmed DCU, the second game closed at 21-18.
In the Men’s A competition. Na Fianna pair Corey Fay and Cian Ó Dálaigh were beaten by eventual winners, Ian McLoughlin and Seamus Conneely of NUIG, in the semi-final. NUIG’s better serving proved to be difference between the teams, as they closed the game out 21-14, 21-18. DCU’s John Walsh and Jamie Joyce were defeated by UL’s Ciana Ní Churraoin and Paudie Quish in the opposite semi-final.
Overall, despite only winning one title, the handballers enjoyed a moderately successful weekend, with 8 of the 16 students reaching finals. The next intervarsity on the college handball calendar is the 40X20 Singles Intervarsity in Kingscourt, Cavan, taking place from January 29th to February 1st.
By Aishling O’Keefe
Image credit: Aishling O’Keefe