Memories from 1959: A thriving Ballyanne Handball Club was at the heart of the community

Written by AOB

Ballyanne has very special memories for me as it was there I was introduced to the game. While the picture below was a little bit before my time, I can remember many of those playing there, or being around the club as either non playing members or supporters.

A very young (about 16) Dick Lyng is there (2nd from left at top of picture) and other very good players that I can recall are, Pat Slevin who trained regularly with Dick Lyng, Martin Grace, Marty Breen, a fine player who also served as club secretary for many years, Seamus Daly, a real character who always told you he was going to beat you before the game, but didn’t always deliver (I beat him in the famous O’Byrne Cup* final when I was 19), Billy Lyng, advised many young players (including me) on the shots of the game and strongly discouraged hitting with the fist, Tom Murphy (he is beside Billy Lyng – surname is missing) who was a terrific handballer and second only to Dick Lyng in the club, Val Lyng, brother of Dick and with the best pair of hands in the Lyng family, Eddie Culleton etc. Many of the others pictured also played but were before my time at the club which commenced around 1966.

*The O’Byrne Cup was the big in-house competition played at Ballyanne each year and was eagerly awaited by both players and local people alike. Ballyanne had a very big membership in those days and everybody took part in the tournament. You could only win it once and it was a badge of honour within the local community to have done so. Dick Lyng was the youngest to win it when he was 16.

Outside Ballyanne ball alley in 1959