It was a hugely successful weekend at the Irish Wallball Nationals as Armagh claimed two titles.
Fíachra ÓDúill from the St. Killian’s club followed up his recent success at the UK Open to go on and claim the 17&U Irish Nationals title.
Conor Hession was fresh from his county Galway triumph and although a fine handballer in his own right, he couldn’t cope with the shot selection of the orchard star as ÓDúill headed to the semi final on a 31-4 score line.
The 2022 Munster 4wall champion, Cork’s Eoghan Daly came through his quarter final to set up a semi final match up with the Ulster Champion.
Fantastic serving from the Leesider kept ÓDúill on his toes for parts but the Ulster man was able to display fine wallball skills and never really looked to be in too much bother, advancing to his maiden wallball Nationals singles final 31-12.
As expected, the talented and multi-title holder, number one seed Kyle Jordan of Kilkenny advanced through the top half of the bracket to set up a mouthwatering final.
At 12-0 up in the final, the Leinster lad appeared to be well in the driving seat and looked sure to secure another title. But, point by point ÓDúill started to introduce his exciting style and his confidence grew as each point was executed.
A highly entertaining game was played out with some unbelievable retrieval shots from both players, blocks and kill shots – it was one of the top games of the weekend and one of the greatest comebacks in recent times.
ÓDúill who is a sixth form student at St. Paul’s High School, Bessbrook showed great composure and didn’t crack under the pressure, taking on a kill shot to level the game 17-17 with not much left on the clock, to the rapturous applause of the crowd.
With approximately a minute left, the Armagh man went on to score three unanswered points and take the title 20-17.
James Doyle claimed his third Masters title in a row. 46 year old Doyle showed that class can indeed be permanent as he took the title in style.
The number one seed played Roscommon’s David Coggeran in the quarterfinal and had too much fire power, winning 31-2.
The semi final saw James face Galway’s Pat Conway. Both players later went on to commentate on the elite games for GAA Handball.
A game played between two very skilful players, it was a great example of athletic masters play and as expected, the current champion held out for a 22-13 victory.
John Joe Quirke from Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry was the opposition in the final.
John Joe had notable success of late in the wallball game – however, playing Doyle is a arduous task.
Serving a few ‘daisy cutters’ aided the Armagh man who dutifully gave his Kerry opponent a tour of the court to retain the master title on a 31-5 score line.
2019 silver medalist, Megan McCann was missing from the lineup in the Ladies Elite group owing to her commitment to the county ladies football team.
Cailíosa NíDhúill was in the Elite category and although she will be disappointed in her opening match against Roscommon’s Fiona Tully, NíDhúill went on to take the Open Plate, with fine victories over Sligo’s Laura Finn and a close final victory over Tyrone’s Clare Conway.
Mól an óige agus tiocfaidh sí.