Week one of the 2015 World handball championships saw the handballers of county Wexford take to action on the one wall courts of Calgary at two venues called the Optimus arena, an ice hockey centre with four temporary courts in the middle of it and the Clear Water Academy a school gym building.
Daniel Kavanagh came very close to collecting a second World handball title of his career but he and partner Sean Kerr from Tyrone fell at the final hurdle in the Boys 17 and under doubles. In the quarter final the Wexford/Tyrone duo were 25-5 winners over Matthew McCartan and Turlough from Tyrone in the quarter finals.
The semi-final saw them take on Galway duo Jamie Kelly and Patrick Murphy and this was a cracking contest with Kavanagh and Kerr just surviving on a 25-21 score line to advance to the final.
The final was a fantastic game with some handball from the top drawer by all four players. Tadgh O’Neill (Cork) and Diarmuid Mulkerrins (Galway) provided the opposition and some of the dives for balls were incredible. The Cork/Galway pair won the opening set 21-10, but the favourites Kavanagh and Kerr hit back strongly in the second set with a 21-17 win. The tie breaker was more of the same with four players playing out of their skin with O’Neill and Mulkerrins surviving on an 11-7 score to secure the title.
Daniel’s brother Josh Kavanagh and Mark Doyle also both from St Joseph’s were unlucky to bow out of the 13 and under doubles at the semi-final stage as they lost out to Cahir Munroe and James O’Toole from Galway on a 25-14 score line. While a frustrating day for Josh saw him also defeated in the semi-final of the 13 and under singles, on this occasion James O’Toole was the winner on a 25-14 score line however it was a brilliant achievement for Mark and Josh to make the last four of the World Championships.
Other Wexford players who lined out in the one wall competitions included Bobby Doyle in the 11 and under singles and he lost out agonisingly close to victory before losing out 25-24 to Joshua Harkin from Cork.
Noel Holohan and Sean Nolan lost out in the quarter final of the Men’s C doubles against Niall and Darren Flynn from Longford on a 25-19 score line with the Longford duo winning out the competition after that. Noel also took part in the one wall singles and he lost out in the quarter finals to Shane Murphy from Limerick on a 25-24 score line.