The 2012 World Handball Championships in the City West hotel, Dublin turned into an arena of achievement for Kilkenny players who claimed a terrific five gold and four silver medals.
William Love got the winning run underway when he beat Brendan Burke in the men’s C all-Kilkenny decider. Both produced excellent handball throughout the week and they had to win seven matches to reach the final.
Brendan gave a super display of retrieving and killing in his semi final and quarter-final wins over Robert Farrelly and one of the tournament favourites, Paddy Berry of Wexford.
William never dropped a game during the tournament and was in control in all his games. In the final he just had too much firepower for Brendan, but both players were a credit to Kilkenny and their clubs.
Talbots Inch clubman, Ciaran Neary teamed up with Offaly’s Michael O’Brien to win the men’s B doubles. This went to a thrilling tie breaker before they saw off Cork opponents in the final.
The Neary/O’Brien pairing has proved to be a successful partnership. They won the men’s C doubles in Portland in 2009. Ciaran also reached the men’s C one wall final with Shane Broidy from Cavan, but they were beaten in two straight games.
Michael ‘Ducksie’ Walsh won the Masters singles titled, and then the doubles with Tommy Hynes. This was Ducksie’s fourth Masters world title. He was on fire throughout tournament and seemed to be inspired by the vocal huge home crowd.
In the singles final he was 16-9 down but he ground out a 21-17 win in front of a packed and enthralled gallery in the showcourt.
Billy Bourke combined with Egin Jensen to win the 45 doubles in a tie break, 11-8. This was Billy’s first World title and he can be very proud of his achievement.
Ciara Mahon lost out in the one wall final of the under-18 section. Ciara had a great tournament. She had to come through some physically demanding battles, and was a bit tired in the decider.
This has been a great year for Ciara. She can look back with pride at reaching a World final.
Mothel’s Paul Dowling and Windgap’s Eamonn Purcell lost out in the 45 ‘B’ doubles final. Both produced great handball all through and it was a pity they couldn’t go the whole way. But they can be very proud of winning silver at a top class World event.