Leitrim handballer Donal Wrynn is on the verge of making GAA Handball history

History beckons for Donal  Wrynn & Leitrim by Michael McGee

Thanks to Michael McGhee, Handball Correspondent, Hogan Stand for allowing us to reproduce this article from the Hogan Stand  http://hoganstand.com/Leitrim/ArticleForm.aspx?ID=164361

Leitrim handballer Donal Wrynn is on the verge of making G.A.A. Handball history as he attempts to bring the All-Ireland handball Minor Singles 40 x 20 title to Leitrim for the very first time. Not in its thirty-seven year history has a Leitrim player taken home the Minor singles 40 x 20 championship. Three years ago the Fenagh club man took the World by storm winning the Boys 15 & under World one-wall title in Portland Oregon.  Wrynn’s meteoric rise to World champion was astounding. The Irish & World handball fraternity stood up to take notice of Letrim’s rising young star.  In the intervening years Wrynn has won a Connacht U-15 40 x 20 title and both 40 x 20 & 60 x 30 at U-16 level.

Wrynn’s season began last November when he reached the final of the Boys 17 & under National 40 x 20 final only to lose narrowly to Clare’s Colin Corbett, who went on to win the U.S. Nationals in December with relative ease.  Despite that setback Wrynn worked hard on his game and was rewarded as a member of the successful Fenagh Junior B team that accounted for Garryhill Carlow in the All-Ireland club final. Wrynn has prepared meticulously over the past few months â€Å“I have worked hard onÓgetting into physically the right condition for the championship and have spent many hours in the court working on my various shots.â€Â

In the Connacht championships Wrynn breezed past opponents effortlessly.  His All-Ireland semi-final opponent was Monaghan’s Darren Doherty an Irish, U.S. & World champion. Wrynn suffered a heart breaking 1 point defeat at the hands of Doherty in the 2010 All-Ireland U-16 singles 60 x 30 final in Abbeylara that went to a tie breaker.  St. Coman’s Roscommon was the venue for this latest instalment and this time Wyrnn was ready for the battle.  It took three intensive games to dislodge Doherty & Wrynn showed his mettle to finally beat his great rival.
In recent weeks Wrynn has played Aengus Cunningham (Roscommon), Niall O’Connor (Kildare), Terry McElvaney (Monaghan) and this has helped to give him a ruthless & steely edge to his game.

â€Å“I’m hitting the ball much stronger than I have been doing before and my shot selection has improved. At the moment I am playing with a bit more confidence, having racked up a few important wins lately.â€Â

Wrynn has also represented Leitrim G.A.A at underage level and freely admits football has helped his handball game.  â€Å“Gaelic is a great help to me as it helps me to build up my fitness levels, and is also  great help in making me more aggressive in the handball courts. â€Å“ Wrynn, a 1st year student in DCU studying Accounting & Finance helped the DCU team to the Freshers A football league title recently.

Despite all his successes Wrynn has taken it all in his stride.  The gentle giant standing at 6’3â€Â is unfazed at the thought of winning Leitrim’s first Minor singles 40 x 20 title â€Å“Obviously I’m looking forward to the occasion. I think it is important that I don’t let it get to me. Galen Riordan will be a very tough opponent but hopefully I will just be able to edge it. This week I won’t train that much as I want to be as fresh and relaxed as possible going into the game.  I always find when I am more relaxed I play much better.â€Â

A natural born & skilful athlete Wrynn is blessed with great handball hands explosive speed and devastating firepower combined with great self inner belief. It is expected that there will be huge support from Leitrim travelling to the Roscommon venue.

In an enticing 3 match programme in St. Coman’s Roscommon Cavan’s Paul Brady Irish & World champion will be attempting to win the Men’s singles title for an unprecedented 8th successive year and 9th overall.  Brady’s opponent is Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy. McCarthy had a sensational 2011 winning the Men’s Hardball, Softball, Irish Nationals & U.S. Open. A mouth watering spectacle is in prospect with Brady wholly determined to re write the history books. The ladies final is a repeat of last year’s finale with reigning champions in Kerry’s Maria Daly & Ashley Prendiville facing the experienced Fiona Shannon & Sibeal Gallagher.  The TG4 cameras will be covering the finals which will be televised later in the season.

Path to the final:

Connacht semi-final Donal Wrynn bt Cathal Connelly Ros 21-6, 21-7
Connacht final: Donal bt Michael Lalor Galway  21-6, 21-2
All-Ireland semi-final Donal bt Darren Doherty Monaghan  12-21, 21-13, 21-11

The 2012 GAA Handball ONeills All Ireland Senior 40×20 Singles Final Saturday 24th March 2012, in St. Coman’s, Roscommon

12.00pm: Minor Singles â€â€œ Letrim (Donal Wyrnn) v Wexford (Galen Riordan)
1.15pm: Ladies Senior Doubles Final – Kerry (Maria Daly/Ashley Prendiville) v Antrim (Fiona Shannon/Sibeal Gallagher)
3.00pm: Mens Senior Singles Final – Westmeath (Robbie McCarthy) v Cavan (Paul Brady)

Michael McGee
Handball Correspondent



16-Mar-12 by Colette Fox – PRO