Wick­low hand­ballers off to USA

Bray People - - NEWS -

AL­MOST 270 Ir­ish hand­ballers will travel to the World Hand­ball Cham­pi­onships in Port­land, Ore­gon this week, with a large num­ber of Wick­low hand­ballers among them.

Play­ers from the Cool­boy, Ark­low and Bray clubs will travel to the west coast of Amer­ica, and hopes are high that some will re­turn home with sil­ver­ware.

With grades from Un­der-11 to Over-80, and ten coun­tries tak­ing part in the event, there is great ex­cite­ment ahead of the Cham­pi­onships.

Cool­boy’s Shauna Hil­ley will travel as part of the of­fi­cial Ir­ish squad, hav­ing sealed her place are the Ir­ish Na­tion­als last May.

‘It’s a great hon­our to rep­re­sent your coun­try and I’m re­ally looking for­ward to the Worlds,’ said Hil­ley, who takes part in the 19 and Un­der Girls event.

‘There is go­ing to be some re­ally tough com­pe­ti­tion, but that’s where you want to be - in the heat of the action.’

The Ir­ish squad has un­der­gone an in­tense train­ing pro­gramme in re­cent months, and was pre­sented to the crowd at half-time in the Kerry v. Cork All-Ire­land Se­nior Foot­ball Fi­nal at Croke Park re­cently.

‘I’ve put in a lot of ef­fort over the past few months and hope­fully things will go right for me in Port­land,’ said Hil­ley, a stu­dent at Tralee IT.

‘There’s a big crew trav­el­ing from Wick­low and I’m sure we’ll have some­thing to cel­e­brate when we re­turn.’

Shauna re­ceived a Sports Schol­ar­ship from Tralee IT, where she re­cently started her first year in Sports Man­age­ment, but she is putting the books down for a few weeks and her at­ten­tion now turns to Port­land.

The 18-strong squad will spend a num­ber of days in the City of Roses try­ing to ac­cli­ma­tize to the US courts ahead of the 4 Oc­to­ber start date.

It will be in­cred­i­ble to see un­der-11 play­ers, such as ti­tle prospect, Daniel Curry from Cool­boy, play in a court along­side one where for­mer Ir­ish Hand­ball Pres­i­dent, Tom Walsh, will take part in the Over-70s. The Bray Em­mets club­man will be hop­ing to push the top Amer­i­can Mas­ters play­ers, and young and old could be cel­e­brat­ing to­gether.

‘The World Cham­pi­onships are al­ways very spe­cial to hand­ballers, and with 1,000 play­ers con­verg­ing on Port­land, this year prom­ises to be one of the best yet,’ said Walsh.

‘Hope­fully our young play­ers can ful­fill their po­ten­tial in the US, and in­deed, there are plenty of ti­tle prospects in the se­nior grades also. It’s a won­der­ful game for all ages and the Worlds are tes­ta­ment to that.’

The City of Roses is pre­pared for action, and Ir­ish hand­ballers are ready to play. FIX­TURES BOSS Mick Ha­gan cleared the way for an­other fi­nal when he got the two semi-fi­nals of the Keat­ing Cup played, one at Balt­in­glass on Wed­nes­day and the other in New­town on Tues­day (what did we do be­fore flood­light­ing ar­rived).

Su­per sub Thomas Burke grabbed a late win­ner for Hol­ly­wood at the end of a crack­ing Keat­ing Cup semi-fi­nal, played at Balt­in­glass on Wed­nes­day.

Both sides had their pe­ri­ods of dom­i­nance in this match, both grabbed goals at vi­tal times - and both, but in par­tic­u­lar Carnew had costly misses.

With ten min­utes to go and the sides level Hol­ly­wood sprung their for­mer county star Burke from the bench and in­side a minute he had pointed the Glen­sid­ers into the lead. He added an­other point be­fore ram­ming in a goal which saw Hol­ly­wood into their first Se­nior fi­nal in years.

Hol­ly­wood got off to a fly­ing start when Ciarán Tyrrell put Keith Burke through for a goal in the sec­ond minute. Brian Os­bourne replied with a Carnew point to set the stage for a great bat­tle.

It was 1-3 to 0-4 af­ter 15 min­utes but a goal by live-wire full-for­ward Seánie Kin­sella in the 22nd minute put Carnew in front for the first time.

At that stage Carnew’s hopes took a big set­back when their strong mid­fielder Gary Do­ran limped off and took no more part in the game.

A point by Joe Glen­non lev­elled the game for the first time and a late free by Keith Burke left Hol­ly­wood lead­ing by 16 to 1-5 at half-time.

Kin­sella lev­elled the game for a sec­ond time at the restart but af­ter points by Burke and Dar­ren Healy had edged Hol­ly­wood ahead again. It was the fly­ing Brian Os­bourne that brought the sides level again at the three quar­ter stage.

It was a switch that saw Timmy Collins move out to the half-for­ward line to al­low Liam Kennedy to drop back to help out at mid­field that trig­gered the Carnew come­back.

Some­one in Hol­ly­wood must have re­mem­bered the line from the song ‘any­thing you can do we can do bet­ter’ as they went for the in­jured Thomas Burke in a bid to turn the tide - and turn it he cer­tainly did.

True to form Carnew never gave up and as the game ticked into in­jury-time Liam Kennedy blasted the ball to the net and only a point sep­a­rated the sides again. How­ever time ran out and it was Hol­ly­wood who went through to the fi­nal.

An­other sub to play a ma­jor role in this victory was David Tutty who took over in goal for Hol­ly­wood for the sec­ond-half and made one su­per save from Keith Os­bourne at a time when an­other Carnew goal could have turned the tide.

Tom Walsh

Shauna Hil­ley

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