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Mulkerrins chasing senior transition
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Friday, 02 March 2012 12:15

Mulkerrins chasing senior transition

Martin Mulkerrins

The prevalent goal for Ireland’s brightest young handballing talent has always been the target of making the transition into the elite grade and gaining senior prestige.

Two of those players in action this weekend and in opposing corners are provincial intermediate winners, Ulster’s Caolan Daly and Connaught’s Martin Mulkerrins.

With the 2012 GAA Handball All-Ireland 40x20 championships narrowed down to the final four provincial winners in all brackets, one battle which has grabbed the attention of the Irish handball fraternity is the clash of former All-Ireland minor winner in both 60x30 and 40x20, Galway’s Mulkerrins who goes head to head with former USHA 19 and under champ, Tyrone’s Daly.

Mulkerrins will have been given a huge boost ahead of this intermediate semi-final fixture after he defeated the highly rated Daniel Cordove (University of Texas – El Paso) in the 2012 USHA Collegiate Championship final in Springfield, Missouri last weekend.

Just last Sunday evening, the Galway man representing UCD won the Men's Open title 21-8, (12-21), 11-10 where Mulkerrins had to dig deep as he trailed 10-7 in the tiebreak to edge victory 11-10. That will have been a huge character building experience for the composed and smooth talent from the Moycullen club.

Home advantage for Mulkerrins may also provide yet another plus in this intriguing contest where the winner will get a shot at the intermediate crown and more importantly a chance of achieving senior status. “I’m delighted with the win in the USA. I have been putting in a lot of training and it is nice that it has paid off. I think I played reasonably well, the courts were great and the ball wasn’t too bad to get used to and thankfully it all went well,” said the modest Mulkerrins.

“The final was really tough and Cordova played really well and I was very lucky to win as he had some great chances to end the game and the match at 10 to 7 up in the tie breaker. It has helped my championship preparations in so far that I got lots of game time and came through some close games which will hopefully stand to me.”

Mulkerrins and Daly are well aware of each other’s game plans and the Galway man knows that another demanding examination lies in store in his home court on Sunday. “The championship has went well so far. It’s only my first year out of minor so to get this far has been great and I am looking forward to the game with Caolan this weekend. He is a very good player and athlete and it should be a very good game.”

Daly has displayed outstanding athletic qualities both on the court and on the field of play with his Gaelic football club, Carrickmore in recent times. He possesses two excellent hands, will chase down every ball and will fight to the bitter end, ensuring a close call.

The winner will meet either Munster champion, Tipperary’s Ger Coonan or Leinster victor, Meath’s Gary McConnell who meet in Nenagh, Tipperary 

Male and female provincial champions will compete in over twenty grades at sixteen venues across Ireland this weekend with the men’s open doubles round 2 and the ladies open singles quarter final matches also down for decision.

 

From USHA Press Release

Mulkerrins wins 6oth USHA Collegiate Championships in Missouri, USA

Sunday morning 26 February, representing University College Dublin (UCD), Martin Mulkerrins claimed the 60th USHA Collegiate’s men’s open title in Springfield, Missouri, USA. In what proved to be one of the best finishes witnessed at this annual tournament Mulkerrins won the tie break by the slimmest of margins 11-10. The final was seen by handball enthusiasts all over the world as it was streamed live on the internet by the World Pro-Handball Association.

Tournament handball is a grueling test of skill, stamina and endurance and Mulkerrins played 8 matches in the 3 days before the men’s singles final. He was unlucky not to advance to the doubles final with his UCD partner, Sean Foley, the duo were pipped 21-20, 20-21, 11-7 in the semi final.

In the Singles semi final Martin accounted for the no.1 seed Issac Acosta, USA, in straight games, powering his way to a 21-3, 21-7 victory and a place in Sunday morning’s final against the Mexican, Daniel Cordova of University of Texas El-Paso.  Mulkerrins had the better start and played some inspirational handball to close out the first game 21-9 and looked to be on his way. However, the experienced Mexican was well settled in the second and both players exhibiting great skills, wonderful athleticism and top drawer serving and killing traded aces to 12-12, before Cordova moved to a 16-12 lead and was in the ascendency. Despite Mulkerins’ best efforts he couldn’t stop his opponents run and Cordova claimed the second on 21-12 scoreline.

The hectic schedule of  9 matches in 3 days seemed to have taken its toll on the UCD student and Cordova- who did not  play doubles was contesting only his 5th match, looked fresher and  had the advantage going into the tie-breaker. He maintained that momentum to run up a 6-2 lead and it looked all but over for Mulkerrins. But the Galway man was not finished and in a display of pure grit and never-say-die determination he leveled matters at 6-6 and moved 7-6 ahead. It was a battle royale from there to the end. Cordova regained serve and took the lead 8-7. Mulkerrins failed to make a point on his next serve thus giving Cordova the initiative, which he seized and served for the match at 10-7. It looked a bridge too far for Mulkerrins, ice cool under the most intense pressure, must have drawn inspiration from a brilliant 35 foot kill shot to the right corner which saw him serve again to see if he could somehow make the 4 points required to win. He then played 2 superb passing shots to halve the deficit before his next effort fell short handing Cordova a second chance to see out this most intriguing tie. Mulkerrins held his nerve to fire another kill shot, regain serve and finish out the game with 2 blistering passing shots to see him crowned the 60th USHA Collegiates champion 0n a 21-9, 12-21, 11-10 scoreline. On route to the final Martin defeated Van Brunt, Texas A&M University 21-10, 21-11; John Casey, Saint Louis University 21-0, 21-9; Jonathan Hingey, Missouri State University 21-8, 21-19 and Acosta, Lake Forest College 21-7, 21-3.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 02 March 2012 15:46
 

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