Catriona Casey aims to become first female to qualify for male pro handball tournament

Men’s field is headed by current world number one, Cavan’s Paul Brady

Paul Fitzpatrick Young Cork sensation Catriona Casey will attempt to become the first female ever to qualify for a male professional handball tournament this weekend when she lines out in the pre-tournament qualifier at the WPH Race4Eight tournament in San Francisco.

Irish and American number one Casey, from Ballydesmond, has been in dominant form on the women’s circuit over the last 18 months but she expects a tough test in the men’s qualifier, which serves off on Thursday.

“I expect that qualifying will be very tough,” said the 20-year-old UL student. “While I have some experience in sparring with male pros, I know competitive action is a completely different ball game. I do hope to give a good account of myself - I’m not there to waste anyone’s time.

“The women’s competition is obviously my main priority. If I thought playing both would compromise my efforts in the women’s bracket in any way I wouldn’t do it.


“I think I’ll have to be more aggressive in my approach and maybe take more risks than I normally would,” she added.

The men's field is headed by Cavan's Paul Brady, the current world number one who is coming off the back of a comprehensive win in Houston, Texas three weeks ago.