UL maintained its recent dominance of the domestic collegiate handball scene in the second half of 2016 and managed to extend their success to the global stage with a series of controlled performances. The club alternated between Intervarsity competitions in Kilkenny, Wexford and international tournaments in Spain, Netherlands and Italy as well as several local tournaments during the first semester.
UL had a difficult start to the domestic year in Kilkenny in the 60x30 Intervarsities as an injury lead to a re-shuffle of the A and the B teams and although both teams reached their respective finals, the weakened teams were defeated by Dublin opposition in disappointing fashion. The Ladies Doubles partnership of Ciana Ní Churraoin and Niamh Dunne managed to re-group to claim the Open title and bring one title back to UL.
UL emphatically bounced back from this disappointing showing and almost secured a clean sweep of titles in the next Intervarsities in Wexford as they had finalists in all five finals, with UL facing off against each other in 2 of those finals. UL secured gold and silver in the Men’s A and B Doubles grades as well as gold in Women’s A Doubles division. The clean sweep fell short as UL lost the other two finals on agonising 11-10 score lines in the tiebreaker of the Men’s C Doubles and Beginners One Wall divisions.
UL held a monopoly of the B division of the European ProTour stops in Spain and Netherlands as the club won the B singles and doubles in both tournaments to add to the C doubles title from Spain. The club travelled to the GAA Handball Championships in Italy prior to Christmas in high hopes aiming to prove themselves against the best European handball teams. The club narrowly fell short of their ambition to become the top European club as the UL A and B teams finished in 2nd and 3rd place respectively following a series of tough encounters.
Although the club experienced a tough start to the semester, they recovered rapidly and produced some astonishing skills in the subsequent tournaments. The club’s performances saw the club secure forty-one major medals including twenty-six Intervarsity medals and fifteen European medals.
This semester starts off with the biggest Intervarsity on the calendar in Kingscourt, Cavan. This kicks off a whistle stop tour around Ireland, Europe and Northern America for the club. Arizona, Italy, Dublin, Roscommon, Cork, Inis Mór, Belfast, Kilkenny, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway, Tipperary and London are all included in the clubs trips for this semester. The club will also be taking part in a series of tournaments and leagues in the Limerick and Tipperary area as well as organising their own events. The Limerick Metropolitan Handball Series, a series of leagues and one-day tournaments, is run by the UL Handball Club and is the only Series run by a club in Ireland.