Dublin International meets IHF President at VELUX Final 4

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DI HC President Magnus Clarke took the clubs rightful place at this year’s VELUX Final 4 in Cologne, Germany. Invited as Irelands current champions to the Club Forum meeting, the club sat side by side with illustrious teams such as RS Zagreb, Ciudad Real, Barcelona and HSV. Also present was the German National Team legend, and former world champion Stefan Kerschman representing the media. During the meeting discussions took place on a wide range of topics, where DI where asked to voice their opinion on several topics, including the future of Champions League handball and recent proposed changes to the powers of the IHF.

The final

The VELUX Final 4 saw Europe’s top 4 teams, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, HSV, Barcelona and Ciudad Real, met in what was to prove a thrilling tournament and a great advertisement for the Final 4 format. Going into the games, many favoured HSV to win due to the strength of their squad. However, the games proved that handball is all but predictable, even at the highest level. In the first round, both Spanish teams went on to the final.

Barcelona v Ciudad Real turned into a thrilling game and showed the highest standard of handball. The telling difference between the 2 teams where the 2 goal keepers. Danjel Saric, Barcelona’s Croatian goal keeper, showed why so many consider him the best goal keeper in the world by his man of the match performance with a staggering save percentage, even getting on the score sheet with a goal for himself. Barcelona took the final in an amazing final, winning 27-24.

Meeting the IHF President

Granting DI HC club president’s request for a one to one, IHF president Mustafa and Magnus Clarke discussed Irish handball and how to best improve the game in the developing nation. President Mustafa admitted not being aware that handball was played in Ireland but agreed that he would assist DI in securing vital help to build on the clubs already impressive set up and results. DI’s last European results were highlighted as particularly impressive. After the meeting, a beaming club president said; “Dr Mutstafa and I discussed a wide range of topics, including potential help from the IHF to the countries superior team in recent years. And with this support, we will take the club even further. “

Magnus Clarke also held fruitful and promising discussions with Arendal’s managing director Kurt and Knut Waage from Fyllingen regarding a potential cooperation. Various suggestion’s where discussed, including training camps and tournaments. Arendal will be in the second round of the Challenge Cup in July’s draw together with DI. Both DI President and Arendal Managing Director Kurt both agreed it would be an excellent chance to start a relationship should the 2 teams be drawn in the tournament.

Montpelier club president Robert Molines also showed an interest in DI’s results, as did club representative for IK Savehof and handball legend and Olympic Silver medallist Peter Gentzel, famous Swedish National Team coach Ingemar Linnell. All sat at length with Magnus to discuss the standard of the team and the challenges of handball in Ireland.
All parties agreed to continue discussions at the next Club Forum meeting.

The IOHA where also present at the games with 3 representatives, including Finat Lyons, Susan Maloney and 1 National team player. However the delegation made no attempt to communicate with the current irish champions, which is proof of a further snub to the national champions.

The future

As a result of DI HC previous games and fantastic results in official EHF tournament, the meetings have proven to be a vital component for the clubs future. Club President Magnus Clarke believes this will ensure the future of the club and help develop the sport in Ireland in cooperation with the IHF and major European clubs. At the next Forum Club Handball meeting, DI has another opportunity to continue their quest to grow this fantastic sport in Ireland regardless of social standard.