Carrickmacross handballer Oran Kiernan won the A1 40×20 men’s USHA open final for DCU in the American Intervarsities on the 23rd of February.
Kiernan got off to a nightmare start in the A1 showpiece, losing the first match by thirteen points to Devon Peters.
“I started off very badly, he hammered me in the first match,” admitted Kiernan.
“He bet me 21-8 in the first match. It wasn’t going to plan, it was very thick,” he said.
It was in the second match that Kiernan found himself six points down and wisely took a timeout.
“In the second game he was beating me 18-12 and I took a timeout,” he told The College View.
“One of the boys was telling me to calm down and change my shots about,” he added.
The tweak in tactics reaped rewards as Kiernan hit off nine unanswered points to draw level at a match a piece.
“I came back in and bet him 21-18,” he said.
Kiernan carried the momentum into the tiebreaker to bet Peters by seven points.
“In the tiebreaker I broke away and bet him 11-4,” said Kiernan.
Kiernan highlighted his change in mentality midway through the match as the key to his success.
“I just changed myself and he couldn’t get it back,” he said.
“Anytime he did get it back he just set me up for the kill,” he added.
Apart from the championship decider, Kiernan found the run up to the final relatively easy once he was seeded in the A1 division.
“I won my first round game handy enough,” said Kiernan.
“I was bet then in my second round game which put me into the A1 grade,”
“It was a handy route then to the final, he was the only one from that point on to give me a proper game,” he added.
MENS A1 CHAMPION Oran Kiernan👑👑Defeated Devin Peters of Lake Forest in the tiebreaker 11-4
Looking ahead, on the intervarsity circuit Kiernan will hope to improve his game for his lesser favoured one wall competition.
“There’s only the one wall left for me but I can’t see myself doing too well in it. I don’t really like the one walls,” said Kiernan.
“Sure look I’ll keep practicing and see can I do one better next year,” he added.
Kiernan also added that he prefers the singles competitions to the doubles because he doesn’t like the added pressure of having a teammate.
“I rather the singles to the doubles. I don’t like relying on other people,” he said.
“I’d rather win or lose myself than dragging someone else down with me,” he added.
In light of his masterstroke of game play and management, Kiernan highlighted that sometimes tactics can beat skillset in the courts.
“You can have all the skill in the world then the other man could be smarter, he could be playing you around the walls,” he said.
“You could be awful and have no skill at all and you could figure out one weakness of his and attack it,” he added.
Kiernan looks forward to playing in the Ulster Junior doubles competition with former DCU handballer Conor O’Gorman.
Image Credit: DCU GAA Handball Club Facebook