Catriona Casey and Diarmuid Nash put Golden Gloves handball titles on line

Golden Gloves Ladies winner Catronia Casey of Cork with Tournament Director Seamus Twomey after her win against former World champion Aisling Reilly in the final on Sunday November 2018. Picture by Seamus Loughran.
Tony McGee

LADIES Open treble-chasing Catriona Casey and reigning men's Open champion Diarmuid Nash put their titles on the line this weekend at the FonaCAB Golden Gloves Tournament, in association with CM Precision Components, and organised by the St Paul's Club in Belfast.

Corkonian Casey comes into the tournament after recently winning her 19th title on the WPH Tour in Arizona while Banner boy Nash defends his title after being out of action for almost three months.

“I damaged ligaments in my finger during the Irish Championship final and it was in a sling for two-and-a-half months. The ligaments were torn and I haven't played any serious handball since then but I am looking forward to defending my title at St Paul's. This is the start of a new ranking season so I will be doing my best to hold on to the title but I know it won't be easy,” agrees Nash who won the World Doubles title along with Robbie McCarthy in 2017.

It was McCarthy who defeated Nash in the Irish 40x20 Singles decider and the Westmeath man is ranked Number Two for this weekend's action with Nash, as defending champion at Number One.

Local member Aisling Reilly, last year's runner-up to Casey, is in the top half of the draw with the Cork girl with the prospects of another clash between the players, who in the past, met so often in combat.

Casey begins her aim for a hat-trick against either Megan McCann (Armagh) or Westmeath's Aoife McCarthy – they meet tomorrow (8.45am) at Gort na Mona in the Round of 16 with the winner travelling to St Paul's for a 2pm clash with Casey.

“I rate the Golden Gloves very highly as it is a great tournament very well run by St Paul's. The competition is very stiff this time but I will do my best to complete the hat-trick,” said Casey.

I have been in good form since winning the Memorial Tournament in Tucson this month and, hopefully, I can carry that form into this weekend's action.”

McMahon begins her tournament at St Paul's (1.00) in the quarter-finals against either Doireann Murphy or Mollie Dagg tomorrow at St Paul's (1.00).

Fiona Tully (Roscommon) is seeded at Number Three and will play Niamh Heffernan in a quarter-final at St Paul's tomorrow (2.00) while Aisling Reilly, also at St Paul's (2.00), battles with Kerry player Aishling O'Keeffe.

There is a record entry of 177 players over the various competitions in the Golden Gloves this weekend with many interesting clashes in store, many of them in the men’s and women's Open grades but, also, at other levels.

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