MINNEAPOLIS – There were two new World Four-Wall Singles Handball Champions crowned in Minneapolis over the weekend. Martin Mulkerrins and Catriona Casey both broke through and claimed their first title in the World Open Singles division.
Mulkerrins was not only looking for his first World Title, but also his first Four-Wall Open singles title. He had played in the final of a Four-Wall Nationals four previous times, but before this weekend had not come out on top. He faced off with the red-hot Sean Lenning in his final, who was also hoping to achieve his first Four-Wall National singles title. Lenning and Mulkerrins had matched up twice prior to this one in 2023, with Lenning coming out on top in both of those matches.
Mulkerrins came out strong and determined in game one, crushing the ball and hitting the bottom board routinely. Lenning could never get into the first game as Mulkerrins took it 21-11.
The second game started evenly, but Lenning caught fire towards the end. He hit several of his highlight reel kill shots and was serving much better. Mulkerrins couldn’t slow him down and lost 14-21 to force the tiebreaker.
Determined to win the tiebreaker, both players came out swinging hard. Mulkerrins found the bottom board a few times while Lenning just missed it a few times. Mulkerrins seemed to be getting stronger as the tiebreaker went on, sensing how close he was to that first national and world title. Sure enough, he scored the eleventh point and let out a joyous roar while raising his arms, as he finally won the titles he has coveted over the years. Mulkerrins played sensationally all weekend and certainly earned the title, beating some of the best in the world to win.
Catriona Casey is the most decorated player in Women’s Handball today, but had not yet won an World Open Singles title. She was on a mission to do so in Minneapolis over the weekend and in her finals victory against Fiona Tully she achieved it.
Casey and Tully have matched up often in the past year, with Casey always getting the best of the two. Tully had been improving on her scores recently against Casey, but was not able to challenge her in the World final.
Casey was not going to let Tully make it a game. The first game started close but that did not last long, and Casey ran away with it 21-8. She was not going to leave any doubt in game two, and played flawless handball from beginning to end. Tully could only manage one point on Casey in game two, and Casey won her first world single’s title.
After losing in the finals of the 2018 World Wallball Singles final, Vlad Klym won the title this year over Minnesota’s David Schiller 25-20. Klym defeated Schiller on his home court, and played well to do so. Schiller gave Klym his toughest test of the weekend but Klym was stronger in the finals.
Ray Ure and Ivan Burgos stunned many people by making the open doubles final. They had some impressive victories that included an 11-10 tiebreaker win over the Peter and Patrick Funchion. They then defeated Sean Lenning and Shorty Ruiz in a tiebreaker in their semifinal match, a win that caught the attention of many. Their run stopped in the finals when they fell to Killian Carroll and Martin Mulkerrins in a thrilling tiebreaker match. Mulkerrins and Carroll relied on their experience, and made far less errors in the tiebreaker. This was Mulkerrins second year in a row winning the Open Doubles final, and Carroll’s first time winning.
Catriona Casey and Aishling O’Keeffe claimed the Women’s Open doubles title by defeating three other strong teams in a round robin format. Casey and O’Keeffe have known each other and played together since they were kids, and their chemistry is evident on the court. Ashley Ruiz and Danielle Daskalakis took second.
The tournament was a huge success, and a big thank you goes out to the Minnesota State Handball Association for being incredible hosts. Thank you to BlackStack Brewing, Lake State Plumbing, and Mantle Buzz for sponsoring the tournament and making it so successful. Thank you to all of the volunteers who worked hard to make the tournament run smoothly for all players involved. It’s not possible without the support of everyone mentioned above.
You can view the final results of the tournament HERE.
Lastly congrats to all of our 2023 USHA National title winners:
Men’s Open: Martin Mulkerrins
Women’s Open: Catriona Casey
Men’s WallBall: Vlad Klym
Men’s A: Gavin Coyle
Women’s A: Taylor Bell
Men’s B: Malachy Flisk
Women’s B: Katie Barrett
Men’s C: Darragh Mulkerrins
Juniors 17-and-under: Ayden Brule
Women’s 55+: Jennifer Schmitt
35+: Adam Bernhard
40+: Adam Bernhard
40b+: Jacob Pelech
45+: Kevin Pettus
50+: George Repine
55+: John Henning
60+: Joe Tierney
60b+: Mark Alteri
65+: David Steinberg
70+: Greg Sizemore
70b+: Mike Vane
75+: Greg Raya
80+: Robert Braine
Men’s Open: Martin Mulkerrins/Killian Carroll
Women’s Open: Catriona Casey/Aishling O’Keeffe
Men’s A: Kevin Barrett/Collin Peters
Men’s B: Zach Sandy/Drew Sandy
40+: Alex Garcia/Jorge Lopez
50+: Mike McDonald/Lennart De La Torre
60+: Lloyd Garcia/Gary Scogin
65+: Lloyd Garcia/Gary Scogin
70+: Greg Sizemore/Bob Lohmueller
75+: Rodney Fink/Greg Raya
80+: Robert Braine/Joel O’Connor
MINNEAPOLIS – For the third consecutive year, there will be a new USHA Men’s Open Singles champion. In the first semifinal and rematch of last year’s final, Martin Mulkerrins delivered a dominant performance against Diarmaid Nash. A tiebreaker determined last year’s outcome, but with determined focus, the stoic Mulkerrins never allowed Nash into the match. The defending champion made a late push in the second game, but that effort was countered with Mulkerrins’ crisp shots that rocketed off the Rec and Wellness Center’s concrete walls for a 21-8, 21-14 victory.
In the remaining semifinal, Sean Lenning put on an equally impressive performance against defending World Champion Killian Carroll. In their last meeting in the WPH Player’s Championship, Carroll bested his opponent in a tiebreaker. This time around, Lenning knew a strong start would be needed to keep the speedy Carroll on his heels. With a capacity crowd in attendance, Lenning sprayed an array of amazing shots from the unlikeliest places and from impossible angles all on the court—something fans have enjoyed watching for over two decades. But Carroll seemed poised to force a third game in the second, staying close with Lenning, only trailing 18-16. A sense of urgency began pushing each serve and return from Lenning, not wanting to face his dangerous opponent in a tiebreaker for the second consecutive tournament, winning in two games, 21-7, 21-17.
Lenning and Mulkerrins will play for the Men’s National and World title, Sunday at 11 am Central following the Women’s final between Catriona Casey and Fiona Tulle (played at 10 am). Matches will be streamed live at the USHA’s YouTube Channel.
Saturday evening closed with the USHA Nationals Banquet in the Pinnacle Ballroom of The Graduate Minneapolis. The event celebrated USHA Hall of Fame Inductee Lisa Fraser-Gilmore and Minnesota State Handball Hall of Fame Inductees, Mitchell Lallier, Pete Crouser and Matt Hiber. The MSHA inductees shared their love of the game and the stories that fueled their paths to distinction. The night closed with Fraser-Gilmore’s long-awaited Hall of Fame Ceremony. In her acceptance speech, Fraser-Gilmore thanked her opponents who challenged, pushed and encouraged her over the years. Those same opponents also became longtime friends. To close, the first-ever Canadian inductee shared that her “heart was full” and invited her family to share the stage with her.
Wallball matches began yesterday at nearby Clayland Park, Minnesota’s newest outdoor one-wall courts.
See today’s updated results HERE.
MINNEAPOLIS — Over 270 players will be competing in The 72nd USHA Four-Wall Nationals and World Handball Invitational at the Minnesota University Recreation and Wellness Center. Play begins Thursday morning and will conclude with doubles finals on Monday morning.
This event will be for a World Championship in the Four-Wall and Wallball Open Singles and Doubles events. You can read the Press Release from the World Handball Council and USHA HERE.
Start times and draws will be posted early next week, and you can view them HERE. Please remember these are subject to change, and you should continue to check your start time to make sure it hasn’t changed.
Banquet tickets will be sold at the tournament desk. The Banquet will be Saturday night at 6pm at the Graduate Hotel. Lisa Fraser-Gilmore will have her Hall of Fame Ceremony during that time.
Reserved seats for the show court will be sold at the tournament desk. We will be livestreaming matches on our YouTube channel for those of you who are unable to make it to the tournament.
Here is a schedule of important events at the tournament:
– Wed., May 24: Registration at Rec & Wellness Center (4-7 p.m.). Warm-up and free play from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.
– Thurs., May 25: Play begins with singles. If you come up short, be sure to sign up for a drop-down event.
– Sat., May 27: Men’s & Women’s Open Singles Semifinals. Men’s and Women’s Wallball events begin at Clayland Park. The USHA Reception & Hall of Fame Ceremony for Lisa Fraser-Gilmore at The Graduate Pinnacle Room (6 p.m.).
-Sun. May 28: Men’s and Women’s Open Singles Final, Sunday afternoon. Wallball finals at 3 p.m. (subject to change).
– Mon., May 29: Men’s & Women’s Open Doubles Finals. All other Finals through 2 p.m.
Make sure to follow along here for daily recaps of the tournament.