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Conor McElduff among talent-rich seam of Tyrone handballers

Conor McElduff

There are few counties in Ireland, if any, that has such vibrant handball activity as Tyrone with the home schedule covering all grades and codes of the game.

Red Hand players also made their mark abroad, none more so than Conor McElduff

Not alone is Conor a big star at home but he is also a big player on the European Wall-Ball circuit having climbed to the top of the pile during 2017, the first Irish player to have become European Wall-Ball Number One.

That, however, didn't stop the Loughmacrory man of collecting titles at home as he capped a brilliant calendar year with victory in the Tyrone 40x20 premier league final, in Beragh.

McElduff was in unstoppable form all through the league and secured the premier division title with victory over his clubmate Sean Kerr in the decider, his eighth straight win in the league campaign.

Not surprisingly, Conor McElduff has been named as the Tyrone 40x20 Handballer of the Year, as well as, the European Wall-Ball Number One.

Mixing his codes was Cormac Munroe.

After leading Tyrone to the All-Ireland U17 Football Championship title, he was also impressive on the handball courts and finished the season as winner of the Division One League title.

He secured the honour with a semi-final win over Ruairi Grogan and defeat of Chris Curran in the final. Quite a season for dual performer Munroe who won eight out of his nine league matches.

Also very much to the fore during the past season in Tyrone was Ryan Mullan who lost out to Sean Kerr in the Premier League semi-finals while Kerr had a good season in Irish events, including the Golden Gloves Tournament, in Belfast, when he pushed Irish Nationals' champion Diarmuid Nash in the quarter-finals.

He finished 2017 on a high by winning the US Juniors 19&Under Singles title in Illinois with victory over Tadge O'Neill and then teamed up with the Cork player to reach the Doubles final.

Lorcan McBride was forced to withdraw from the recent league programme because of injury, after he had picked up the Tyrone young handballer of the year award for 2017.

The Carrickmore dual performer became only the fourth Tyrone player in history to capture the All-Ireland 40x20 U16 Championship singles title and he saw off the formidable challenge of the All Ireland winning U16 girls' partnership of Caitlin Conway and Elizabeth McGarvey to secure the prestigious Young Handballer of the Year trophy.

Overall, Tyrone collected 10 All- Ireland Championship wins across all levels in 2017 and a further six major titles were picked up at the Irish nationals in 40x20 and One-Wall, with Shane O'Neill, Johnny Woods, Dara Curran, Kenny Curran, Eilise McCrory, Niall Kerr and Clodagh Munroe all adding their names to the national roll of honour during the year.

TYRONE LEAGUE ROLL OF HONOUR

Premier League - Winner: Conor McElduff; Runner up: Sean Kerr.

Division 1 - Winner: Cormac Munroe; Runner up: Chris Curran.

Division 2 - Winner: John McCullagh; Runner up: Tiernan McAleer

TYRONE'S NATIONAL ROLL OF HONOUR

All Ireland 40x20 championships ...

Intermediate doubles winners: Shane O'Neill & Sean Kerr.

U21 doubles winners: Ryan Mullan & Johnny Woods.

Golden Masters' (b) singles winner: Kenny Curran

Ladies' Junior Singles winner: Eilise McCrory

Boys' U16 singles winner: Lorcan McBride

Girls' U16 doubles winners: Elizabeth McGarvey & Caitlin Conway

All-Ireland Wall-Ball championships ...

Men's Open singles winner: Conor McEduff

Boys' Under 17 singles winner: Dara Curran

All-Ireland 60x30 championships ...

U21 doubles winners: Ryan Mullan & Sean Kerr

Girls' U16 doubles winners: Caitlin Conway & Elizabeth McGarvey

Irish 40x20 Nationals…

Girls' 13&Under singles winner: Clodagh Munroe

Silver Masters singles winner: Niall Kerr

Irish Wall-Ball Nationals ...

Men's Open singles winner: Conor McElduff

Silver Masters' singles winner: Niall Kerr

Boys' 19&Under singles winner: Sean Kerr

Girls' 15&Under singles winner: Caitlin Conway

All Ireland 40x20 Colleges Championships…

Boys' Intermediate doubles winners: Antoin Fox & Lorcan McBride (Omagh CBS).

-end-

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