Cork’s Killian Carroll is regarded as one of the supreme juniors in the Irish game at present, who can go on and collect major international honours in the elite flight of senior handball in the near future.
Having already scooped USA Junior National titles at under 15, 17 and 19 and GAA National victories at minor and under 23, the Munster teen is hoping to continue on that winning habit at the 2012 World Championships at the Citywest International Events Arena this October.
He will be using all his skills and experience to date combined with lightening quick feet and reflexes to help book a spot on the Official Irish side for that upcoming World series at the same venue, at the One Wall Irish Nationals this weekend.
Carroll is one of 500 competitors contesting one of the 25 grades on offer from under 11 to over 65 in both male and female brackets. Eleven of those brackets will lead to sought-after spots on Team Ireland. Carroll is after the 19 and under slot and is seeded at number one but he knows that won’t be an easy feat to accomplish.
“My preparation for the One Wall Nationals wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be, mainly because I have just finished my leaving cert 2 weeks ago. I haven’t put in the time I would have wanted to but I’m really pumped to play, so I’ll see how it goes,” said Carroll.
The 19 and under division will provide stern opposition which will include Galway’s Martin Mulkerrins who captured the USA Collegiate title in February before bagging the GAA Handball Intermediate win back in April to secure senior status in the 40×20.
Last year’s 19 and under one wall winner at the Irish Nationals, New York’s Josh Garcia who narrowly defeated Carroll in the final is not in the draw this time around but the competition remains fierce.
“The key opposition would be Martin Mulkerrins (Galway), Kieth Kavanagh (Wicklow) and I also think Conor McElduff (Tyrone) will be a fighter for the title. I think it is very important to win a place on the Irish team for the World Championships because of the extra training from the top coaches in the country and that will give any player an extra edge over the rest.”
“Playing this weekend at the City West Arena is a fantastic time for the people who are going to the worlds, to see and maybe play in the courts and to have a practice to see what it will be like.”
In the top grades, 2011 GAA Handball softball senior champion, Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy and Armagh’s James Doyle are two of the favourite to prevail in the mens open, while Down’s Lorrain Havern is the number one ranked female player.
The action will reach a climax as the major finals and Worlds team places will go up for grabs this Sunday, from 11.30am (free admission) at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin. GAA Handball Ireland have constructed a unique and ambitious arena where 23 handball courts will be in place for the 2012 World Handball Championships this October and this weekend will certainly provide an eagerly anticipated taste of what will come later in the year.