/ GAA

International winners at Handball Nationals

Updated: Sunday, 03 Jul 2011 21:29

Handball Nationals - Cork's Killian Carroll dives for a ball during the Under-18 final
Handball Nationals - Cork's Killian Carroll dives for a ball during the Under-18 final

Herman Mendez of Puerto Rico and Karen McConney of the USA have won the Men’s and Ladies' Open events at the International Handball Challenge and One Wal Nationals events in Castlebar.

Mendez enthralled spectators with his power and offensive style on court and he claimed the honours with a 9-15, 15-7, 11-1 victory over Willy Amaro, also from Puerto Rico, in the final.

Tyrone's Ruairi Kelly was the best Irish performer, beating Armagh's Charly Shanks in the quarter-final before losing 15-1, 15-9 to Mendez in the semi.

In the other side of the draw, Mendez began his run to the final with a spectacular 30-13 win over Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy.

He then beat US Open Champion Pee Wee Castro, from the USA, in the other semi-final 15-6, 15-12. Castro had earlier beaten Clare's Diarmuid Nash 31-10 in another brilliant match.

In the the Ladies competion, McConney took the title following a thrilling decider against Puerto Rico’s Michelle Melendez, winning 15-14, 15-11.

Reigning champion Lorraine Havern of Down was beaten at the semi-final stage by McConney.

Men’s winner Mendez was very impressed by the development programme and the numbers at the event, commenting.

He said: ‘This is one of the most memorable events I have played at and the handball, hospitality and enjoyment I have taken from this have been awesome.

‘I love the handball people here in Ireland and there is no doubt that your youth development programme right now is the envy of countries throughout the world.

‘Handball looks like it may be heading to the Olymp[ics and there is no doubt that the work GAA Handball is doing with it's youth will reap major rewards in the future’.

The massive event featured competitors from Under-10 to over 80.

Other key finals included a Boys Under-18 title win for Josh Garcia (USA) who denied Cork's Killian Carroll by 17-15.

Cork's Catriona Casey ensured an Irish victory against the USA in the Girls Under-18 singles as she defeated Raquel Garcia by 20-13.

The Boys Under-16 singles was won by Tyrone's Johnny Woods and the Girls Under16 event was won by Galway's Ciana Ní Churraoin.

Tyrone's Niall Allison defeated Clare's Fergal Coughlan in a hugely competitive Under-14 grade while Emer Beatty (Galway) denied Aine O'Keefe (Kildare) in the Girls Under-14 decider.

Aenghus Cunningham (Roscommon) defeated Niall Kerr (Tyrone) to win the Masters title while Eamon Conneely (Galway) got the better of Sligo's Francis McCann in an exciting Golden Masters final.

The International Challenge Team event was won over the weekend also by Puerto Rico as they defeated USA in the final.