New Handball Court is a credit to Collooney
Written by Antoin Ó Braoin, Rúnaí Contae
As Secretary of a county with a vested interest in seeing the game thriving nationally it was terrific to see another positive development for the sport nearing completion at Collooney, County Sligo this week with the official opening of a magnificent new 40×20 court due to take place on Friday next. As I was visiting the province this week I decided to drop in for a look!
Situated beside the 60×30 court on the outskirts of the village, this brand new building is a credit to both the club committee and its members and to the local community. It is they who not only had the confidence that handball would continue to be important to the people of the area, but also the commitment and determination to see it this project through to completion. Their combined efforts will ensure that current and future generations representing Collooney Handball Club will not be at a disadvantage vis-a-via their opponents when the 40×20 season comes around each year.
Sligo of course has a fine handball tradition dating back many decades and this beautiful facility will add to and enhance that tradition enormously. The playing area is well lit and insulated and ventilated to a level that should ensure condensation will not be a problem and the sizeable viewing area will have, somewhat uniquely for a handball arena, individual seating for its patrons. There is also a spacious area suitable for catering and other activities and the entire facility appears impeccably finished.
One of the first people I saw when I entered the building was busy putting the finishing touches to the already spotlessly clean carpet and when he turned around I saw it was none other than the great Paddy Walsh, holder of numerous All Ireland handball titles. Typical of people of that generation this doyen of the sport was not sitting back and waiting for others to do the work!
Paddy was one of those who pushed the idea of a 40×20 facility back in 2007 and it is somehow fitting that on Friday next just as the new court is officially ‘born’ Paddy will celebrate his 74th birthday. Still extremely hale and hearty, he has emerged from Connacht again this year and will be strongly fancied to add yet another All Ireland medal to his collection.
Also there lending a hand was former Connacht Administrator Conal Cannon, current provincial junior champion Shane Bruen as well as a few others. All putting their own personal ambitions on hold in pursuit of the only ‘goal’ in town – having everything ready for Friday evening.
There too was Club PRO Michael McGee, a man to whom handball should be indebted to for his insightful writing and reporting over a great many years.
Undoubtedly one of the best communications officers within GAA Handball Michael has a huge and well documented CV when it comes to writing about the game and he will ensure the fortunes of Collooney Handball Club are well documented in the coming days, months and years.
Wexford Handball Board are delighted to extend our good wishes to Hugh McGarry and his team on their wonderful accomplishment.