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‘It’s our traditional game so what isn’t there to enjoy about it?’

While the serious back injury she sustained might have discouraged other players from returning to competitive action, Martina McMahon is known for determination and resilience and she wasn’t going to give up on her goals that easily, writes Paul Fitzpatrick.

The Broadford clubwoman played some terrific handball in winning the Open Singles title at the Irish Softball Nationals on the weekend before last in Wexford and, coming so soon after she won the Open Doubles trials to make the Irish team for the World Wallball Championships, it has given her a boost ahead of a hectic few months of action.

“I’m delighted to be back to winning ways. Winning the wallball doubles trials with Aoife was a nice one and then winning the big alley Nationals was the icing on the cake,” McMahon told

“It was hard fought, Ciara Mahon played a fantastic final, some great kill shots off the back wall, and I suppose the scores didn’t rally reflect the game. I would have preferred a bit more preparation time between the wallball and the big alley Nationals.

“I nearly feel old now, with my back injury it takes a bit longer to recover and even to adapt to the different codes.

“I didn’t step into the big alley until the week after the wallball trials so I think I only played two games before the Nationals. I was just trying to re-train myself again after taking the bones of a year and a half out but yeah, it’s good to be back.”

Martina is a strong advocate of all codes of handball – she has even dabbled in hardball, although there is no competitive outlet for female players in that version of the sport – and while she can’t name a favourite, the sense from talking to her is that softball holds a special place in her affections.

“Do I have a favourite code? I’m not sure but after the Nationals… it’s just the sound of the big alley ball when it leaves your hand. When you hit it smooth, there’s just a crack off it… it’s satisfying when you hit it sweet.

“It’s our traditional game so what isn’t there to enjoy about it? For me, I support all three codes, one wall, 40x20 and 60x30 but at the moment, yeah, I’m loving the big alley, it’s great to be back.”

While she continues to work her way back to the level she was at before her injury, Martina admits she is not there just yet.

“Ah, look, to be honest, no. I’m not back to where I was, 100pc I’m not and I know that myself but I do see improvement with every tournament under my belt so for me that’s a positive. Look, all roads are leading to Limerick and Dublin this year, they’re my main focus and I’ll do everything I can, both recovery and playing-wise, to try be in the best shape I can be, given the last year and a half, two years.

“I still have that mentality that I’m not going to go down without a fight, there’s titles there to be won and I’m going to give my best to win those. Try and improve as best I can between now and those competitions and hopefully win the Worlds in both wallball and 40x20 singles and doubles.

“I don’t know if I can say there’s just one (goal for the year), I’m a bit greedy and I’m going to try my best to get all four. Back in 2018 I played all three because we had no doubles at the time in the One-Wall and I captured all three. The only way to improve that is to get all four and that’s what I’m going to try do.

“I don’t think I could single out any one over the other, to me a world title is valuable no matter if it’s singles or doubles but yeah, I’m going to try for all four.”