14th Irish Open win for Noel

Joe McEvilly Manager of AIB Ballinrobe presenting the top prize to Noel O'Callaghan at the weekend.

Fermoy man Noel O’Callaghan won the Irish Open Racquetball Championship for the 14th time last weekend.

Noel who has an outstanding record was up against the European Champion from Germany and the Dutch National Champion at the Open which was played in Ballinrobe in County Mayo. 

Noel, who is 46, has once again defied the odds by beating international champions, some of them only half his age. 

“I shouldn’t be up where I am at this age. I was the Irish number 1 since I was 17 and I held that rank for more than two decades,” explained Noel. 

“The standard of players is good but I don’t see a lot of younger player coming up,” he explained. 

Noel played his first match of the Open against America professional Erika Manilla and moved forward into the quarter finals against Irishman Kenny Cottrell, beating him 15-4 and 15-3. In the semi-finals Noel was up against Araglin man Darragh O’Donoghue before competing in the final against the Irish No 1, Mark Murphy. 

Noel has a good match against Mark, finishing 11-7 in a tiebreak game. 

Despite some knee trouble, Noel hopes to be back again next year to contest for his 15th Irish Open Championship. “I’ll keep going until my body says no,” Noel told The Avondhu.