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Irish Nationals head for the Banner County this weekend

The first ‘Major’ of the 4-Wall season serves off on Friday evening in Clare as the Banner County hosts the Irish Adult 4-Wall Nationals.

In all, 150 adults will take their chance in the event which will be hosted by the O’Callaghan’s Mills, Tuamgraney, Clooney-Quin, Kilkishen, Tulla, Toonagh, Newmarket, Clarecastle and Broadford clubs.

The grades down for decision (all Singles) are Men’s Open, Ladies Open (with a dropdown to A), Men’s B, C and Challenger, Ladies B, Men’s Over 40 A and B and Over 50 A and B as well as Men’s Over 60s.

The largest entry, as usual, is in the Men’s C grade where 32 players will vie for what is sure to be a hard-earned title.

The Men’s and Ladies Open Singles are the premier events and have attracted stellar line-ups. The very successful St Paul’s Fonacab Golden Gloves in Belfast (which had 110 adult entries in a bumper weekend) opened the season last weekend and saw Robbie McCarthy and Catriona Casey storm to glory without dropping a game.

Both start as number one seeds again this weekend. Casey will meet the winner of minor champion Jodie Keeling (Wexford) and Amy Brennan (Clogh) while McCarthy is due to meet Eoin Brennan from Kilkenny in his round of 16 opener on Saturday afternoon in Tuamgraney.

Local favourite Diarmaid Nash, who made the final of the Gloves, fills the number two spot and takes on Adam Walsh from St Mary’s in Wexford. Peter Funchion and Daniel Relihan fill the number three and four seeds respectively in the Men’s Open, with Fiona Tully and Eilise McCrory in the same spots in the Ladies draw.

Sunday's finals will be live streamed.

“We’re looking forward to the weekend, it should be very good. There is great enthusiasm down in Clare for the hosting of the event,” stated GAA Handball Competitions and Membership Officer Padraig Gaffney this morning (Wednesday)

“All preparations have gone pretty well, we’re just going through the final preps now for the tournament. There were some minor changes with withdrawals this morning for the event but thankfully we’ve had a few people on the reserve list so the option to take those positions has been afforded to them.

“We’ll get the final preparations wrapped up tomorrow evening and the final drawsheets printed out and after that, roll on the weekend. We’re looking forward to it.”

View the draws here .

Junior Nationals

Meanwhile, the dates have been confirmed for the Junior Nationals and World Championships team trials. The qualifiers will take place on the weekend of January 6 next at regional venues, with the Nationals themselves slated for Croke Park and surrounding venues on the weekend of February 3.

Entry is here.