Ireland national handball team
|Association||Irish Olympic Handball Association|
|Last updated on Unknown.|
The EHF Challenge Trophy 2009
The schedule for the tournament resulted in Ireland playing the hosts Malta in the 1st Match and in front of a passionate home crowd of over 700 people the Irish campaign got off to a disastrous start. Technical errors and nerves resulted in the Irish going in at half time 20:7 down. With the result not in doubt the Irish had nothing but pride to play for and played much better in the second half and ended up being beaten by a 36 to 20 scoreline. The game was marred by what could have been a very serious injury to Sligo's Brian Campion following a foul by a Maltese player. The Maltese player in question received a straight red card for the challenge.
The 2nd game of the tournament for the Irish saw them taking on the favourites and eventual winners Finland. The Finns had arrived in Malta on the back of 3 victories in a 4 nation tournament the previous weekend. The Finns won comfortably by 38 goals to 19. Brian Campion recovered from the previous day's action to take his place in the team.
Ireland's 3rd game would see them take on their closest friends and foes Scotland. Both teams had lost their opening 2 matches and so this match would be their last chance for glory. The Irish settled well into the game but the Scots who boasted 4 players from the Great Britain Olympic Program settled even better and led 15:14 at half time. The Irish ran out victors by 35:29.
The Bronze medal was not the only award the Irish won at the Tournament. Centre player Oisin O' Brannagain was voted on to the tournaments all star team .
The EHF Challenge Trophy 2011
The most recent Irish international games took place at the University of Limerick for the 2011 edition of the EHF Challenge Trophy.
The Irish came in with a very young squad, with just 5 players remaining from the tournament in Malta two years previously, the team had recently been on a training camp in Spain and ended with a friendly victory over Andorra.
The first two games proved to be difficult challenges, in both cases the Irish team were on a par for large periods of the game but ended up not having the ability to keep it up for the entire match. The first game with eventual champions Faroe Islands ended in a 30–20 defeat with Kevin Murphy's 5 goals top scoring for the Irish and Alim Khaliq receiving man of the match in goal. The second match with Georgia was a similar story, the Irish losing 37–21. Chris O'Reilly top scored with 6 and Steffan Meyer's 4 goals helping him claim the man of the match for the Ireland.
The final game with England was highly anticipated and made a lot more interesting with the loss of 3 of the 5 Irish players from the last tournament due to injuries. The game started brightly and Ireland took a 15–11 lead in the first half. However, a seemingly lack of depth in the Irish bench and strong English defence produced a large turnaround, the game ended 29–24 to England. The scoring in this game came mainly from the back court, with O'Reilly once again top scoring with 11 goals and Meyer adding 5. Both players were named in the All-Star team for the tournament which despite the disappointment, was a true sign of potential from the young team. It competed in European qualifiers for the first time in June 2012. All three matches, however, resulted in huge losses.