Reilly’s the new champion
TWO days after Aishling Reilly’s historic win over Fiona Shannon in the final of the World Handball Championships singles, and the new star still had not fully accepted the scale of her achievement.
In beating Shannon, Reilly had stopped her St Paul’s club mate from winning a fourth World Championship singles title in-a-row, but she also confirmed her status as the queen of handball having already won four competitions already this season.
However, it was this tournament, the biggest in the world, and held in an incredible purpose-built venue at the Citywest in Dublin, that set her achievement apart from any other.
Reilly spoke to Gaelic Life from Dublin where she was still coming to terms with her place as the World Champion.
“It is only starting to sink in now, it is all a bit surreal,” she said.
“It all went in a blur to be honest.”
Reilly had lost the first game 21-9, but fought back in the second to win 21-6, and then won the tie breaker, 11-5, to break Shannon’s heart.
“I had beaten her before, but it was a lot different because it was on such a big stage.
“I knew that I could beat her, but it was good to finally make it happen.”
But what was the difference? Shannon was the three-time world champion, dominating the competition since 2003. However, she had said in the run up the player that she most feared was Reilly.
“I think that preparations were important,” Reilly said.
“Though I didn’t do any more than I would usually do for any other competition.
“In the first game she blew me away. Everything she did, I had no answer for. But then I started to play my own handball.”
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday October 18. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here