Handballing star Ní Churraoin is on top of the worldOctober 26, 2012 - 7:00am
INVERIN’S Ciana Ní Churraoin underlined her status as one of the most exciting young talents in handball when she claimed three gold medals at the 2012 World Handball Championships in the CityWest Arena, Dublin last week.
The Micheal Breathnach player secured her World titles in the U-17 40x20 girls’ singles, the U-17 One-Wall girls’ singles and the U-19 One-Wall girls’ doubles, which she won with Tyrone partner Maeve McElduff.
Ní Churraoin – a 2011 Galway Sport Stars Award recipient and multiple Irish champion – also claimed a silver medal, alongside Roscommon’s Lauren O’Riordan, in the Women’s ‘A’ 40x20 girls’ doubles.
Her recent haul brings her World Championship gold medal tally to five – adding to the two she won in Portland in 2009 – and Ní Churraoin, also a talented inter-county ladies footballer and camogie player, was understandably delighted with her showing.
“I felt pretty confident [going into the tournament] because I was on the Irish team and I had won the trials before this to get on the Irish team. So, it was kind of expected that I would do well,” begins the Coláiste na Coiribe student.
That said, that expectation proved somewhat of a burden with Ní Churraoin losing the first set to Limerick’s Martina McMahon in the U-17 40x20 girls singles decider – the first of her three finals – last Wednesday. “The one I was mainly focused on would have been the 40x20 singles and I was mostly training for that.
“I’d rather the 40x20 to the One-Wall and I would have tougher opponents in that [discipline]. The final was definitely the toughest match I played because the girl won the first game and then I won the second one, which sent the game to a tie-breaker. I was a bit nervous to start off, a bit edgy, but I came into it then.
“I thought if I could just keep working [after going a game down] I could get myself back into it. I thought after all the training I had done I wasn’t going to let it go that easily. I won the second set 21-7 and then the tie-breaker 11-4,” says the delighted 16-year-old.
While Ní Churraoin’s triple gold medal haul was undoubtedly the highlight from a Galway perspective, there was plenty of other success. Indeed, Galway was well represented at the Championships, with 120 entrants, ranging from U-10 to O-75, from nine different clubs competing.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.