Day one of the 2016 GAA Handball WallBall Nationals has produced some shocks as players descended on Breaffy House for the biggest Handball weekend of the year.
In the Mens Open Tyrone's Conor McElduff remains on course for three in a row but will face an inspired Robbie McCarthy from the Defence Forces in Saturday's Semi Final. McCarthy was in excellent form in his quarter final win over Tyrone's Darragh Daly while McElduff was never really troubled as he comfortably accounted for Armagh's James Doyle. In the other half of the draw Paudi Quish took out newly crowned US Nationals champ Cork's Killian Carroll to make the other semi final while Galway's Martin Mulkerrins, the 2015 Finalist, defeated Armagh's Conall McCavitt by the narrowest of margins in a cracker of a game to book his place in the last four. The Mens Semi Final's begin at 1pm on Saturday with two titanic battles in store.
In the Ladies Open it will be a Dutch/Irish affair in both Semi Finals after a number of shocks in the opening rounds. Down's Lorraine Havern, the number one seed, takes on Holland's Harmke Sigersma at 11.40am before European number one Miranda Scheffer from Holland takes on Limerick's Martina McMahon.in the second of the semi finals. Earlier in the day Sigersma appearing in her first Irish Nationals had a narrow win over Kilkenny's Ciara Mahon who herself had one of the results of the day as she accounted for the highly rated Ciana Ní Churraoin from Galway in the Round of 16. Havern was pushed all the way in her quarter final by Armagh's up and coming star Niamh Coleman but showed her experience to book her place in the semis. McMahon was made to work hard too by Tyrone's Maeve McElduff before eventually sealing a 4 point win while Scheffer the European number one accounted for Laois' Niamh Dunne who herself had an eye catching victory over Mayo's Pauline Gallagher in the Round of 16.
A host of other grades from 11&Under up to 65+ also started their quest for glory at this record breaking Nationals where a total of 420 competitors make it the largest Handball tournament to be held outside of the World Handball Championships. Action gets underway in Breaffy House on Saturday at 9.20am with the Open Semi Finals on court at 11.40am. The Open Finals are set to take place on Saturday at 8.20pm.