Handball ace Carroll takes USA by storm

Killian Carroll.

Killian Carroll.

Killian Carroll left Mallow at the age of 22 to travel to America to live his dream, to play the best handball players in the world at professional level on the pro-circuit which is run over an eight month period, from New York to Texas, Salt Lake City to New Orleans, and Oregon to Orange County. After winning five USHA nationals, six Irish nationals, five All-Ireland medals and one world title at junior level, Carroll then went senior at the age of 20. By the time he was 21 he had won four senior ranking tournaments including the Irish Senior Nationals. Killian, who is now based in Boston, took the Canadian and Boston Opens back-to-back and then went back to Canada to test himself in the Senior World Handball Championship, and to everyone’s surprise reached the final, only to lose to Cavan handball and football star Paul Brady, who is now 5-times world champion and holds ten senior All-Ireland titles, 10 US nationals, 17 WPH tour stops and has only lost 4 games in the last 12 years. This makes him the greatest handball player in the world, past and present. Carroll had only one ambition and that was to beat Paul Brady before he retired from the game.

Carroll lost to Brady in the quarter final in Texas. After 3 pro stops, Carroll had accumulated enough ranking points to be ranked 8th. Carroll then lost to Brady in New Orleans and also in New York. The final event of the pro tour is called the Players’ Championship where the elite eight compete for the biggest purse and bonus. In the quarter final, Carroll played Perez from LA, who had previously taken him down in two games in Salt Lake City. Then at the Players’ Championship Perez led the first game 13-8, but Carroll turned it around and finished off the match 15-13. Now one game up, Carroll took Perez apart in the second game, running out a 15-4 winner.

Carroll was now set to face Brady in the semi-final later that night. In their first game, Brady raced into a 9-3 lead in six minutes; there seemed to be no stopping the Brady train. Carroll then changed his game plan which worked to his advantage as he had Brady running right and left. He managed to wear Brady down and at 12-11 changed his game to an offensive one which Brady never expected. With two power serves and 14-11 ahead, Carroll managed to finish the game 15-12 with a power serve and a fly kill.

In game two Brady started fast and furious, going into a 4-0 lead. Carroll managed to tie Brady in long defensive rallies and at 5-4 to Carroll he sensed Brady tiring and changed to an offensive game. Brady didn’t serve again. Carroll became the third player to beat Brady in eleven years.

In the final Carroll was up against Sean Lenning, the number 2 seed. They call Lenning ‘The Freak’ because of the unorthodox way he plays, which makes him impossible to read on the court. Carroll attacked ferociously, trying not to let Lenning settle, and it worked to his advantage as in game one he took the game 15-6. Lenning, unfazed and with his experience matching Carroll’s, raced ahead in the second game 6-1. Carroll kept Lenning in long rallies, however Lenning’s strength prevailed to take game two 15-12. In the tie-breaker Carroll tired Lenning out by using ceiling shots and Lenning could end the rallies. As the game progressed, it was point for point at 9-9. Carroll then got two aces, bringing the score to 11-9. However, Lenning gained control again and brought the score to a tie at 11-11. Carroll bounced back and as the rally developed Lenning missed an easy get. Carroll sensed weakness and attacked Lenning with three lightning serves to take the WPH Players’ Championship at 15-11.

Killian Carroll would like to thank everyone who has supported him throughout the years, Mallow Handball Club, fellow club mates and friends, the club’s sponsor O’Mahony’s, Centra and his family. He appreciates all the messages that he received during the WPH Pro-Stop.