THE Northern Ireland Dodge Ball team, which has three local player in its ranks, won BRONZE in the recent World Championships in New York!
Josh McIlroy, Jonny McAllister and Aaron Murphy played their part in the superb showing in the NI side in the States.
Twenty-three-year-old McIlroy was proud captain of the medal winning side.
McAllister (23), from Ballymena, and Murphy (23) from Kells, were delighted with the team’s performance.]
In their opening match NI beat USA 18-6, then beat Canada 16-10 and England 16-8.
Next they drew 15-15 with Australia to finish runners-up in their Group.
In the quarter-finals NI beat Egypt 18-10, but in the semi-finals they lost 9-17 to eventual World champions Austria.
In the play-off for third place NI got back to winning ways, seeing off England 15-13, with their winning points coming in the very last seconds.
Matches were played at Basketball City NYC and at the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland came second in the European Championships last year, the team honoured to receive the Nicholas Pinnock Fair Play award, which qualified them a place in the 2018 World event.
The ‘dodge ball three’ came up through Cambridge House together and then onto Queen's University Belfast where they joined the University Dodge Ball Team.
They were part of the NI side which won the University Championships in 2016 over in England.
The three have also been in the Northern Ireland Knights since 2014, when they first represented NI in the Six Nations.
This was followed by the European Championships in Austria.
The first Dodgeball World Cup was in 2016 in Manchester where NI was they were narrowly knocked out, in overtime, by Australia in the quarter-finals.
In this tournament NI notched up wins over Scotland and the USA and played a close match against Malaysia.
In New York this time round NI were up against teams from Austraila, Austria, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Egypt, Malaysia the Republic of Ireland and Singapore.
Shannen Smyth, from Kells was unlucky not to have qualified herself for the New York trip.
The 23-year-plays on the NI Ladies dodge ball team
Shannen, a former pupil at Ballymena Academy, went on to study at Queens.
The winger plays for Northern Ireland Knights and competed before in the European Championships, and the first World Cup.
Unfortunately this time they failed to qualify for this year’s showpiece in New York.