Friday, November 30, 2007

Irish Ball Players

This note appeared todays at RTE Sport:

Irish handballers Basque bound

Thursday, 29 November 2007 14:21

Eight of Ireland's top handballers will compete on the European One-Wall stage this weekend at the Basque International Tournament in Pamplona.

The action gets underway on Friday where hosts, the Basque Country will be joined by Ireland, England, the USA and Holland.

The tournament is divided into two sections, singles and doubles, with matches played over two games of 15.

Armagh lead the senior men's challenge with Lurgan's Charly Shanks, and James Doyle of the Eugene Quinn club, fighting it out with the best in the One-Wall game.

In the Under 18 grade, Ireland will be well represented by Banner duo, Diarmaid Nash and Niall Malone (both Tuamgraney).

Nash recently sealed his place on the Irish Junior squad which will travel to Arizona this Christmas, and in 2006, he collected the 15 and Under World Singles and Doubles (with Malone) title.

Spearheading the women's challenge will be Kerry's Ashley Prendeville, from the famed Ballymacelligott club. Prendeville has already had a hugely successful year in the 60x30 court, where she amassed an impressive four All-Ireland titles.

The St. Coman's club in Roscommon is well represented on this Irish One-Wall squad by Marianna Rushe, Leona Doolin and Katie Costello.

All three girls have impressive on the provincial and national stage in recent seasons and all competed at last year's World Championships.

Leading the Irish International side to the Basque Country are Team Manager, Sligo's Francis McCann and Assistant Manager, Kilkenny's Betty Funchion.

The USA dominated the recent Open d'Italia and this Irish selection will need to be in top form if they are to reap success.

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