Avril now in top ten in world

A young Donegal handballer has jumped up the World Ladies Handball ranking table and into the top ten lady handball players in the world.

A young Donegal handballer has jumped up the World Ladies Handball ranking table and into the top ten lady handball players in the world.

Avril McNamee, from Knock, Ballybofey, a member of the Sean MacCumhaills GAA Club, is now ranked number eight lady handballer in the world, in the official World Handball ranking.

This follows her impressive performances at the recent World Handball Championships in Dublin.

At the championship, Avril, who is a two time Irish champion, reached the quarter-final stage and captured the imagination of all of the handball public that packed into the City West, to watch her performances.

In the championship she had two wins, before bowing out at the quarter-final stage. Her wins were straight sets victories over Laura Mannion, from Roscommon and Kara Smith, from the USA, before she lost at the quarter-final stage to Pauline Gallagher from Mayo.

Gallagher was the number one seed at the championship and following her win over Avril went on to win the gold medal and was crowned World champion.

Competing in the Ladies A division, Avril defeated the Roscommon woman, Mannion, in two straight sets before overcoming the highly acclaimed Smith, from Minnesota, in the second round.

After a slow start in the quarter-final against Gallagher, Avril recovered well in the second game and at times dominated before the craft and experience saw the Mayo woman take the set and the match.

In the end Gallagher was the worthy winner but overall the Ballybofey woman should have been happy with her performance in such a quality field and making it through to the quarter-final.

Her performance was all the more impressive given that she was hampered by injury for the best part of the previous year and a half and had played little or no competitive handball in the build up to the championships.

Her objective now has to be to build on her recent performances and move further up the rankling and be in a position to challenge for world honours at the next world championships which are in Serbia at the end of 2013.

The World Handball Championships were recently at the City West International events and Conference Centre in Dublin.

Over 2,000 competitors from 30 different countries competed in the championship with almost 4,000 matches played over the week long championship.