MUIREANN O’BRIEN from Kilworth and Celine Kelleher from Boherbue who won the Girls U15 All-Ireland doubles handball title are the April winners of the Rebel Óg Monthly Awards, sponsored by the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs, Cummins Sports, with the Evening Echo and RedFM as media partners.
Celine started playing handball when she was nine years of age in Boherbue handball club. Celine’s trainers are Danny Linehan, Kieran O’Connor and Shane Flynn.
It is a very active club, with many boys but only three other girls – her sister Carmel Kelleher, Edel Murphy and Aoidhbe Ducey. Together the four girls won the Féile Division 3 handball competition last summer.
The club trains children in all age categories, the girls training with the boys. Celine also plays football for Araglen Desmond Buí. Fourteen-year-old Celine attends Boherbue Comprehensive school.
Muireann has been playing with Kilworth Handball Club since she was eight years of age. She plays with clubmates Samantha O’Donnell, Ellen Murphy and Anna Dunne.
It is mainly a 40 by 20 club with 14 All-Ireland medals to its name over the years.
Muireann has been on the county panel for a few years and has competed at inter-county level.
When the players to represent Cork in girls and boys juvenile championship 2018 were finalised last December, the partnership chosen for the Girls U15 doubles was Muireann and Celine.
Because the girls are living a good distance from one another, a lot of training, coaching and travel lay ahead as they set out to prepare for the task confronting them.
With the help of club members, parents and those overseeing the training and coaching of Cork juveniles they put in a lot of hard work, which resulted in a huge improvement in their play. In particular, their display against a highly fancied Tyrone pair in the All-Ireland semi-final clearly showed that hard work, commitment and dedication pays off.
That win over Tyrone greatly boosted their confidence as they prepared for a clash with Roscommon in the final at Kingscourt. The preparation they did during the championship campaign was again very evident in the final as they put in a flawless display running out convincing winners to be crowned All-Ireland U15 champions.