This weekend, in partnership with the Ireland Olympic Handball Association, we hosted the 1st Annual Celtic Cup competition.
The Celtic Cup is a club competition pitting the top three men’s and women’s league teams from Scotland and Ireland against each other in a two-tiered competition. Back in November of 2022, Ireland hosted the group stages of the competition. Several Scottish teams including Troon HC, Livingston HC, Kelvinside HC & Tryst ’77 HC made the trip over to Dublin which decided the qualification for the Celtic Cup Final 4.
The Final 4 was held at Oriam, Scottish Sport Performance Centre, on the weekend of the 18th & 19th of February 2023. Troon HC, Kelvinside HC & Livingston represented the Scottish contingent, whilst three Dublin-based teams, Dublin City HC, Dublin International HC and Astra HC travelled over as their competitors.
From the Semi Finals Day, both Irish women’s teams, Astra HC & Dublin City came out on top with convincing victories to make it an all-Irish Women’s Final. Livingston HC were battled hard by Dublin International HC but made it through to the final by three goals. A strong Dublin City HC came out victorious against a young Kelvinside team to also gain a place in the Men’s Celtic Cup Final.
On the second day of the competition, the Women’s 3rd/4th match saw the two SHA Senior Women’s League teams, Troon HC and Kelvinside HC, play it out for the bronze medal. The game was tight, but Troon had a lead by the end of the first half. Kelvinside came out strong in the second half, but it just wasn’t enough to pull back the gap from the first half. Game finished 18-15 to Troon HC.
Some fantastic handball was displayed in the Men’s 3rd/4th match. The young Scottish side, Kelvinside HC, faced a strong Dublin International HC team, who had beaten them 29:12 in their last encounter. It was an entertaining match with a loud support base from Kelvinside HC. The score sat at 14-10 DIHC at half time. Kelvinside HC played with passion and often took advantage of the empty net left by DIHC. The final score ended 27-24 to DIHC with a significant improvement by Kelvinside from their group stage performance.
The Women’s Final was an impressive spectacle from the first whistle. Both Astra & Dublin City teams played a fierce game however Dublin City HC took an early, and significant, lead. The score sat 9-15 to DCH at half time. DCH suffered an unfortunate suspension at the start of the second half due to their timekeeping, however this didn’t stop their winning ways. The game ended 26-32 to DCH, crowning the City Team the Women’s Celtic Cup Champions.
It was then the men's Scottish Champions time to try and rectify their previous loss against DCH during the group stage of the competition. However, Scottish Champs, Livingston HC, found themselves down 12-19 at half time after an impressive and dynamic start from the Irish side. In the second half Livingston displayed some well worked goals, however it wasn’t enough. DCH were a dominating presence, continuously growing their goal difference. The game ended 28-36 to DCH. The Dublin City HC teams returned home triumphant, as both the Men’s and Women’s Celtic Cup Champions.
Many thanks to all the teams who took part in the competition, and we look forward to the 2nd Annual Celtic Cup Competition next year.