DCU Handballer Fiona Tully won the Irish Collegiate Handball Association’s Women’s Open Final in Belfast on the 2nd of February.
Tully made it two wins in a row in the 40X20 competition beating Limerick IT rival Sinead Meagher in straight sets in the final.
After a tough tournament which saw Tully face her doubles partner in the semis, and which saw Meagher go to a tiebreak in her semi-final, Tully reflected on the momentous achievement.
“It was tough, but it was good,” said Tully
“It was tough because we (Meagher) always play against each other and it was very tit-for-tat, but I was very happy to get the win because she’s very good,” she added.
Tully overcame her DCU doubles partner in the semi-final in what proved a challenging encounter.
“I played Meadhbh Ní Dhálaigh in the semi-finals and I beat her. I played doubles with her as well last year in two competitions and we won them.
“You don’t enjoy beating them because they’re your partner for doubles competitions. I’m playing with her again in a week when we are competing in America, but we’re still friends so its fine,” she added.
Tully admitted that the familiarity of her doubles partner made for a tactical encounter in which she eventually triumphed.
“We both know how we both play so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” she said.
Tully’s dominance in the women’s intervarsity’s games originated when she took up the sport in her youth after following her sister and her sister’s friend to their local club St Colman’s in Roscommon town.
“My sister and her friend used to go down (to the handball alley) and one day I went with them and I’ve been playing ever since,” said Tully.
Looking ahead to the America Open competition which Tully triumphed in in singles, and doubles with the help of Ní Dhálaigh, Tully hopes to continue the form which helped her achieve the double in Belfast.
“We went over last year as well. I won the singles and Maedhbh and I won the doubles so we will hopefully try and do the same again this year,” she said.
The DCU handballing community has been represented well in competition lately with Tully, Ní Dhálaigh and Aoife Holden bringing in silverware and Tully was optimistic about the future of the club and sport.
“There’s about twenty or thirty of us and there’s a good few of us who go to all the competitions, so it’s a good community and everyone’s very friendly,” said Tully.
Tully also praised the women’s 20/20 initiative which hopes to promote participation by women and viewership of women’s sport by 20% by 2020.
“Yeah, the sport is definitely growing, especially with the help of things like the Lidl 20X20 campaign. There’s definitely more people going to matches and the ICHA are livestreaming the games on Facebook live so its good that a lot more people get to see the sport,” she said.
Image Credit: Irish Collegiate Handball Association – ICHA / Facebook