Carthy to represent Ireland in the US

St. Coman’s’ Rory Carthy is the toast of Roscommon handball after winning his way onto the Irish juvenile team that will play in San Francisco, USA over the upcoming Christmas holidays.

Rory will represent Ireland in the U-17 grade, after displaying incredible character and will-to-win over the weekend in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan.

The achievement is made even more impressive by the fact that up until two days before the trials it looked like Rory wouldn’t even take part, due to a nasty ankle injury. Rory passed some stringent fitness tests to allow him to play, but having missed nearly three weeks of training and with doubts over his durability, he started his first match against Kilkenny’s Noah Minogue very tentatively.

Minogue is a fine player, who recently beat Rory’s younger brother Eoghan in the All-Ireland U-16 60×30 final and he didn’t need to be encouraged to take advantage of Rory’s slow start, racing into a 13-5 lead.

However, Rory slowly found his rhythm and started using his power to great effect, eventually tying the scores at 14 each. From there on in, there was only one player in it with Rory finishing the match off 21-14, 21-5.

This set up a semi-final later that day against Wexford’s Joshua Roche. Rory started this match more impressively than his first, but was matched nearly all the way by a very clinical opponent. But the desire to win is very strong in Rory and when the pressure came on at 17-17 it was Roche who made a few crucial mistakes that gave Rory the first 21-17. The second was well contested but Rory always held the upper hand and took it 21-12.

The final was played on Sunday and served up the unusual scenario of two left-handers facing each other. Kilkenny’s Conor Doyle was the opponent. He been beaten by Eoghan Carthy in the delayed 2020 U-14 60×30 All-Ireland final but is the reigning 40×20 U-16 All-Ireland champion. Rory was carrying a bruise on his dominant hand picked up in the semi-final and looked at sea in the first game. Doyle dominated from the start and easily won the first 21-6.

Rory came out much stronger in the second and finally seemed to hit some consistent form. His normally lethal backwall, which had been hit and miss up to then, steadied up considerably and his deceptive ability to pick balls seemingly out of reach and re-kill them saw him win the second decisively 21-13.

The tie-breaker to 11 started very well with Rory taking a 5-0 lead and although Doyle battled the whole way, those five points were the difference in the end as Rory finished off a very entertaining match 11-6.

The US trip is a fitting reward for a very dedicated player who endured the disappointment of seeing handball championships being cancelled in 2021 when he would have been a very strong contender for both the 40×20 and 60×30 U-16 All-Irelands. On the trip, he will be joined by his long-term coach Aengus Cunningham, who was recently appointed as coach for the Irish team. All in Roscommon Handball wish them both the best of luck.

Roscommon had three other competitors in the trials: Carragh Kennedy and Siobhan Treacy were both beaten by Kilkenny’s excellent Amy Brennan in the U-19 grade, while Alanna Coggeran was beaten by Amy’s younger sister Katie in the U-17 grade. All three girls had limited preparation for various reasons but played well in the circumstances.