Just a number of days after competing in her first All-Ireland final, 13 year old Dearbhla Coleman was back in the 40×20 court in the 13&U Nationals Final.
Over the Nationals weekend, the young Clann Eireann girl saw off the challenges of both Heather Burke of Mayo and Aoife Floyd, Tulla, Co.Clare. She had then set up a replay of the World Singles final of 2012 with Leah Doyle of Leixlip, Co, Kildare.
Doyle and Coleman will surely meet in many battles to come and may well share the spoils, but Coleman’s training and mindset leading up to the Nationals was somewhat exceptional this year. Having won the Ulster title and reached the All-Ireland of final of the U-15 Championship, Coleman would have been forgiven for taking a few weeks off to regroup. However, the experience of not only competing, but winning all the way to the All-Ireland final playing two whole years above herself really seemed to stand to her and was to prove the very best training in order to capture the 13&U National title.
Ulster Coach of the Year 2012, Pedsy McMahon must take some credit in the victory. He continues to work tirelessly with the girls in Clann Eireann and he leaves no stone unturned in his impeccable preparation for competition.
In the final, Dearbhla dominated the first game, claiming it with six points to spare, 15-9. In the second game she perhaps saw the finish line and allowed the Kildare girl a little more into the game at the closing stages with Doyle stealing it 15-13 to force a tie-breaker.
The forever cool Coleman took a few minutes to compose herself after losing the second. When she realised that there were just 11 points between her and her National crown, she never lost focus in the tie-break. She was devastating in her play and emerged as 13&U Nationals Champion 15-9 13-15 11-3.
Older sister Niamh also paved her way to the 15&U Nationals final, only to heartbreakingly lose out in an 11-10 tie-break to U-16 All-Ireland Singles Champion, Roscommon’s Fiona Tully. Both Tully and Coleman have had many close tussles over the years and their games are always breath-taking to watch. Both players are at such an exceptional level. Niamh has been concentrating on her doubles play where herself and clubmate Alana Doran secured both the Junior Colleges All-Ireland and the All-Ireland Doubles Championships in the past few months. No doubt with the One Wall season just around the corner, Coleman will be back for revenge.
Dearbhla’s great form has also been noted by the Tyrone handballers and Dearbhla was delighted to accept an invitation to play in the 4th Paddy Grogan team of four Tourament in Carrickmore last weekend. Such a tournament displays the very best of our young handballers in Ireland. Dearbhla won all her games, showing her domination in her age group and her team came second overall. Another fine display by the unassuming Clann Eireann girl.
The focus will now turn to One Wall where last year Dearbhla reached the Nationals 13&U final. With her current form, it looks like come the first Sunday in July Dearbhla will be Nationals Champion in both codes.
Maith thu Dearbhla!
Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh siad.