Irish M20 Squad return from IHF Trophy in Kosovo

Monday October 29th saw the members of the Irish Men’s U-20 squad and their Coaching and management team gather for an early morning flight in Pristina airport on the 1st leg of their journey home following their participation in the IHF Trophy, European Zone.

The team had been the guests of the Kosovo handball federation for a week that saw them play 5 matches over 6 days in a quest for the Trophy. There was a variety of experience within the squad as some players were making their international debut while for others, including team captain Colm Thiel,  were returning to Kosovo 2 years after the Emerging Nations trophy. The competition was only announced in August and so preparation time was minimum at best with some of the players meeting for the first time.

Ireland finished 5th out of 6 teams having gained 1 point from a draw with Malta and behind competition winners Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova and Great Britain.

Full results and standings are available here

Speaking following the draw with Malta, M20 Coach Tomas Martinonis said¬† “It was a great match between two small nations who never gave up. The match was tight and both teams were neck on neck during the whole 60 minutes. The final result was a fair result; we struggled with a few injured players during the match as well as it probably was not our best performance through the tournament. It is always great to see small countries like Ireland and Malta participating in international tournaments, as it is not always that they have the chance to do so. We wish the Maltese squad and Maltese Handball Federation all the best in future tournaments and looking forward to meeting again soon!”

The tournament provided an opportunity for the younger players to continue their development and perhaps give the Senior Mens Coach, Roman Abramenko food for thought ahead of the EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers in January 2019 and the Emerging Nations Trophy next June.

Coach Martinonis also completed an IHF Coaching Course which took place alongside the tournament.

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Thanks to viewresults-sports for additional reporting.