BLITZ 2003 Report
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60X30 Sligo Intervarsities 2003

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Report from the UCD 2002 40x20 Intervarsity Blitz
By Alan Pearson and Shane Hennelly

Following the success of this years inaugural 60x30 intervarsity competition hosted by NUIG the introduction to the 3rd level 40x20 season was provided by the annual UCD handball Blitz. The two day competition was organised by Alan Pearson and Shane Hennelly was held in the UCD home court on the 22nd and 23rd of November. Players form third level institutions all over the country including UCD, TCD, DIT, UIG, WIT, LIT and ITT travelled to UCD to take part. The tournament consisted of a senior singles competition, a junior/intermediate singles competition run on a drop down basis and a mixed ability doubles competition all games were time based. The hectic schedule of the first day was kicked off by B. McAndrew (TCD) and M. McGowan (DIT) resulting in a win for TCD. This was followed by almost two dozen other games which produced some excellent handball. The quality of the games was highlighted by the constant huddle of spectators in the viewing gallery. Throughout the first day all singles competitions were played up to the semi-finals. In the senior singles O. Cassidy (ITT) beat N. McDermott (NUIG) 25-17 to secure his place in the final. The other semi saw B. Fleming (ITT) beat B. McAndrew 29-11 to ensure an all Tralee final.
The intermediate competition also saw a lot of close games between evenly matched players with the first round loser dropping into the Junior division. In the first of the intermediate semi-finale S. Heffernan (DIT) beat his DIT team mate E. MacMahon 24-14 and in the other semi A. Pearson (UCD) played D. Hannon of NUIG resulting in a 19-11 win for NUIG. In the juniors it was again the turn of DIT to secure a place in the final through R. Costello who beat the home teams K. Gannon 31-10 only to face another UCD player in the final S. Hennlley who had disposed of DIT’s D. Reynolds in the other semi final. With most finals scheduled for the second day the day was brought to a close with the senior plate competition which was won by P. Reynolds of LIT defeating fellow Donegal man M. McGowan of DIT.
Day two kicked off with the draw for the doubles teams putting each senior player with a junior and pairing off intermediate players to level the field for everyone. This mix of abilities and the pairing of players from different colleges made the doubles event immense fun and a great spectacle. In the end the eight teams came down to a DIT team of McGowan and MacMahon against a combined UCD ITT team of O. Cassidy and K. Gannon who took the gold medals in spectacular fashion with a 28-8 win over the DIT pair. The last leg of the tournament began with the junior final in which S. Hennelly (UCD) took an early lead, however, DIT’s R. Costello wasn’t giving up and soon took control of the game in which each player covered every inch of the court. Costello took the lead towards the end to win 17-13 and claim the junior title for DIT. The intermediate final was also exciting with Heffernan (DIT) and Hannon (NUIG) matching each other point for point until the Galway player pulled away in the last two minutes to win 22-19. The last game of the tournament was the senior singles played in a best of three format. B. Fleming and O. Cassidy both of ITT provided and excellent match to close the tournament with, Fleming took the first game 21-13 after nearly 40 minutes. In the second Ollie Cassidy started well but again Fleming worked hard to win the game 21-15 to give him the match and the senior title.
Overall the atmosphere and quality of the handball was excellent. The willingness of players to act as referees ensured a fair competition as did the use of the drop-down system, it was an honour for UCD Handball Club to host this tournament and it is something the club are very proud of, so all that remains is to thank the competitors and extend an open invitation to all 3rd level players for next years tournament.


Blitz Organisers Alan Pearson And Shane Hennelly