KamaGames, the proud sponsors of the Irish Olympic Handball Team, are pleased to share the latest updates on their progress throughout 2019.
In their first competition of the new year, the team travelled to Luxembourg to compete in the qualifying tournament for the European Men’s Handball Championship 2022. This is the first time playing in an official qualification tournament since 2013.
In the first of three challenging games, the team took on their hosts and tournament favourites, Luxembourg. Throughout the game, both Ireland and Luxembourg succeeded in landing a number of impressive goals with Irish team member Joshua Grace scoring seven throughout the course of the match. Unfortunately for the Irish squad, the formidable home team, compiled of mostly professional players, went on to win the game with a score of 35:18.
The following day, the Irish team set out to face off against Great Britain. Both teams were unrelenting in both attack and defence ending the first 40 minutes of the game on an even 20:20 score. A strong performance by Great Britain followed in the 2nd half giving a final score of 26:32 in favour of Ireland’s competitors.
During their last match on the final day of the tournament, Ireland was pitted against an experienced rival, Bulgaria. A fiery first half resulted in both teams receiving multiple two-minute suspensions and left Ireland trailing Bulgaria 17:13. Unfortunately, playing three games in as many days took a toll on the Irish team, allowing Bulgaria to capitalize on Ireland’s fatigue and build a 10-goal lead, finishing on 35:28 to Bulgaria. This memorable game also saw the emergence of Maynooth’s very own Blake Van Duyvenvoorde, who placed the Bulgarian defence under extensive pressure in the second half scoring back-to-back fast breaks.
The trip to Luxemburg was a fantastic learning experience for the Irish team and even though the results did not match the team’s hopes leading into the tournament, the score lines provide a strong indication of their progress and growth in both skill and experience over the last two years which could only be achieved with KamaGames’ support. This was reiterated by the Irish Captain, Alexander Kulesh: “At face value, the results may seem disappointing but I am certain that this past weekend was the most impressive performance from an Irish National Team ever. This is the highest level of competition the team has faced in a long time and we were able to compete in every game. The experience gained will be hugely valuable in future campaigns for this young team.”
The next major tournament for the Irish Olympic Handball Association will be in June 2019 when they get their next opportunity to qualify during the Emerging Nations tournament.
KamaGames has been proud lead sponsors of the IOHA since 2017, providing new, branded uniforms for men’s, ladies and junior teams and also ensuring the Irish national squads are able to travel to international games around the world through the kit sponsorship agreement.
As well as supporting the current national teams, KamaGames also invests in the development and support of handball as a popular, national sport for children encouraging and nurturing the potential next generation of Olympians as well as promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.
To find out more about the Irish Olympic Handball Association visit -http://www.olympichandball.org/