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International Handball - Ireland vs Basque Country

  • 07-12-2005 6:58pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 718 ✭✭✭ thirdmantackle



    Ireland’s handballers will be out to avenge their 3-0 Handball International Rules defeat at the hands of the Basque Country in Azkoitia last October, when a delegation from the Pelota playing nation touches down in Dublin today (Thursday, 8th of December), for a six day tour.

    The Series will feature the first Official Basque Handball team to visit Ireland in over 73 years, when President Eamon De Valera welcomed the team as a former player of handball when incarcerated in Kilmainham after the 1916 Easter Rising.

    National champions from both countries will compete in a range of Singles and Doubles clashes in both the 60 x 30 and One Wall courts in two tests in Co. Roscommon and Co. Tyrone.

    St Coman’s Handball Complex in Roscommon town is the setting for the first test at 3.00 p.m. on Saturday, 10th of December, when All-Ireland 60 x 30 Champion, Eoin Kennedy of Dublin, will head an Irish line-up consisting of Roscommon’s Damien Martin and Rikki O’Gara in the U22 Doubles, current holders of the Intermediate Doubles All-Ireland title; Ger Coonan of Tipperary in the U22 Singles and Mayo’s Dessie Keegan and Vincent Moran in the Senior Doubles.

    The series then moves northwards on Sunday, 11th of December at 4.00 p.m., when current Irish One Wall Champion, James Doyle of Armagh will represent Ireland in the Senior Singles. In a series of four One Wall encounters, fellow Armagh man, Charly Shanks, who won the US Collegiates Title earlier this year, will be joined by Tyrone’s Ryan Daly in the Senior Doubles.

    Tyrone’s Darragh Daly and Gary McCrory will represent Ireland in the U22 Doubles, while fellow-Tyrone man, Padraig McGlinchey, will play in the U22 Singles.

    The Basque team, who individually have the potential to eventually earn up to €300,000 per year playing Pelota, will confirm their final line-up for all games on Saturday morning. The full touring party consists of Players: Iker Etxebarria, One Wall ‘A’ Singles World Champion; Oinatz Gonzalez, Gipuzkoa Singles Champion; Maixi Castillo, Araba Champion 2004; Mikel Etxebarria, Basque Country Doubles National Champion 2002; Eric Fernandez, Junior Singles Champion; Koxme Elurbe, Junior Doubles Champion 2002 and Mikel Gonzalez, One Wall ‘A’ Doubles World Champion and U22 Basque Country Champion. Basque Officials are, Txema Aldamiz-Etxeberria (President of the Basque Pelota National Federation), Oscar Recalde (International Official) and Kepa Arroitajauregi (Coach).

    Speaking about their forthcoming trip, Basque Oficial, Oscar Recalde said “We are delighted to be in Ireland as we know this is the country with the toughest opposition in the World. We have been training hard to adapt to the Irish rules and the fast ball and know they are out for revenge on home ground. It should be an interesting few days for both players and spectators”.

    Tom Walsh, Uachtarán of the Irish Handball Council said “In the last few months, the Basque team have played tournaments in the United States, Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina and therefore will be well used to adapting their superb style of play. However, there can be no doubt that Irish handballers are at the top of the tree at present and I am confident we will still be there come Sunday evening”.

    The Basque Team players will be guests of honour at the Connacht Handball Awards on Friday evening and at Civic Receptions held by Ballaghaderreen Town Council and Omagh District Council, before returning to Biarritz next Tuesday afternoon.

    Admission is €10 to each test and further information and the full tour itinerary can be seen on


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,166 ✭✭✭ The Rooster

    Sounds very interesting.

    Any chance of TG4 or Setanta televising some of it, I wonder?