2008 was the year Aisling Reilly from the St Pauls club came of age. In just her first year in the Senior grade she won the Irish Nationals Tournament, defeating her St Pauls colleague Fiona Shannon in two straight games 21-17, 21-12. This was a fantastic achievement for Aisling as Fiona was the reigning World Champion at the time, and the Nationals is the second most important competition in Irish handball, second only to the All-Ireland Championships.
This defeat was obviously the incentive Fiona needed as she turned the tables a month later, beating Aisling in the final of the All-Ireland Championship 21-18, 12-21, 21-14. This was a fiercely fought encounter with both girls determined to win and not giving an inch to their opponent. During the first game the lead changed several times before Fiona got the 3 points she needed for the win. In the second game Aisling came out determined to show her Nationals win was not a fluke, and she gave a magnificent display of handball showing her full range of shots and retrieving ability. Fiona fought hard but could not get to grips with Aisling who went on to win 21-12. The effort to win the second seemed to take its toll on Aisling in the third as she tired a little. This gave Fiona her chance to show her superior fitness and she went on to retain her title with a 21-14 win. Aisling fought right to the end and there will hopefully be more battles like this between these two Antrim players in the future. The crown who packed the new handball court in Abbeylara to watch this final were fully appreciative of the wonderful skills on display.
Fiona and her sister Sibeal went on to win the All-Ireland doubles beating Kildare 21-20, 21-8. The two sisters struggled to find their rhythm in the first game and just made the win. However it was a completely different game in the second with both Antrim girls on top of their game and running out easy winners.