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Ladies defend their title in style
Three weeks after winning The IOHA Cup, the women and men of DI HC were again called to action with the 2016 All Ireland title at stake. Both teams trained hard in preparation, determined not to surrender the titles to the opponents.
Dublin City University was the venue and DI HC Ladies were to defend the title first. Even with three important players out of the squad Coach Eva Herzeg and her team looked like a confident bunch about to face Astra HC. Astra’s Coach Andrea Ongaro had a full squad at his disposal and was determined to give DI girls more of a challenge compared to their Cup Finals.
At 2:30 pm, DCU hall filled with spectators saw the beginning of what was to be a hurricane defence created by the DI girls. Ingrid Laursen, Alexandra Radzewicz and company played a textbook defence stopping every serious attempt through the middle. With an impenetrable defensive wall, Astra’s ladies were forced to take difficult and half chance shots. Near perfect defence was backed by absolutely superb Velta Vuskane in goal. Great defending created fast breaks which Thuriane Le Guen and Susette Louwen converted into easy goals. As Velta” pulled down the shutters” over her goal it was 7:0 for the Ladies in Black before Astra got on the scoreboard.
With the first half result of 8:1 to DI, it was already quite clear who’s going to finish on top. Astra consolidated somewhat while, Coach Herzeg made plenty of rotations to offer everybody plenty of game time. This meant that game went into goal for goal with DI really always in control.
It was only matter of time before Dublin International Ladies were to jump for joy and celebrate their double crown.
Final Result: Dublin International HC 17- 11 Astra HC
Player of the Match: Velta Vuskane
Notable performances: Alexandra Radzewicz, Thuriane Le Guen, Ingrid Laursen, Paola Felix, Susette Louwen
Invincible Men in Black
After a fantastic performance by the ladies, it was the boys turn to defend their throne. Playing Coach Tomas Martinonis and his assistants Amalric Brugeolle and Tomas Grassl had a full and healthy squad at their command. They had to face new and improved UCD Handball Club led by former DI player Kari Andresson. The game started in mirror to the ladies game. Defence held strong, Regis Loubatiere collected some great saves and the boys scored from the brakes. The initial score 5:0 for DI could have been higher if the boys converted three missed penalties and a couple of good chances. Aivaras Januelis Janusauskas kept running the counters and picking the UCD defence apart. Man marking DI playmaker Gianni Goretti did little for the Sky Blues and The Internationals were cruising.
It was goal for goal for a while, the UCD mounted a comeback. In their best period of the game, Kari’s men pulled back to 11 – 11. DI struggled to regain the composure and it was for Dragos Busuioc and Goran Seselj to produce a piece of individual magic and make it 13 – 12 going into the break.
Some important words must have been said in the halftime because the boys came back a much improved side. It may not have been the prettiest performance, but hard graft focus and composure meant DI HC went 7 clear at 45 minutes played. Dogged UCD side managed to stay in touch for the rest of the game, but never really threatened to jeopardize the DI win.
Coach Martinonis “emptied the bench” towards the end allowing UCD to pull back a bit, but Regis and Pedro Magnani in goal kept UCD at bay.
Final result: Dublin International HC 27 – 24 UCD HC
Man of the Match: Regis Loubatiere
Notable performances: Aivaras Januelis Janusauskas, Pedro Magnani, Goran Seselj
Fintan Lyons, Irish Olympic Handball Association presented the winners’ trophies to our DI captains Gabriela Rebreanu and Tomas Martinonis as well as the winners medals.
With club only in existence since 2007, it is simply magnificent to have already won ten titles (8 men, 2 ladies). It is with pride that the women and men of Dublin International Handball Club will wear a star over their crest from next season.
Big thank you to organisers of the league and especially to our fair and worthy opponents Astra HC and UCD HC.