The Festival that turns children on to a lifetime of sport
GAA Handball Ireland are once again delighted to see a tremendous turnout in the handballing competitions which will once again undoubtedly portray the terrific talent in the sport throughout the country.
This is such a special event and GAA Handball President, Walter O’Connor, is in no doubt that it signifies the very best in our sport. “I have brilliant memories of Féile na nGael myself as a player and the occasion is so special due to the unique club relationship which all players competing can enjoy in a National event. This portrays again the great synergy of handball with hurling and camogie and is a fine example of how well all the gaelic games codes can work and benefit together”.
I have great memories of it myself. We won Division Two way back in 1998 in Wexford. The team – myself, Patrick Clerkin, Padraig Cahill and current Cavan senior football captain Sean Johnston – headed off on the Thursday in Fr Gilhooley’s car and came home on the Saturday with the cup. The next day, we watched Derry beat Armagh by eight points in a sweltering St Tiernach’s Park. Those were great days, and the sort of memories which turn young fellas on to a sport for life.
We’ll be represented again this weekend, with a team in Division Three and another development side in Division Six. Padraig and I (along with world number one Paul Brady, a member of the winning team in 1993, also in Galway) will coach the lads, heading into the west on Friday morning. The wheel keeps turning in handball…
Ulster is well-represented, as always. Brackey, with the exceptional Sean Kerr et al, look very strong. Great work is going on in coaching by the likes of Niall Kerr and Sean Clarke and many others in Tyrone, and it’s paying off.
Munster, and Clare in particular, are also very strong, while Coolboy of Wicklow have Daniel Curry, a sensational prospect, in their ranks. Look for the Monaghan clubs, in particular the Harps, to make their presence felt, too.
The action in this year’s Féile will commence this Friday at 1pm at venues around the county with the blue riband events in Boys 40×20 Division 1 in Moycullen, Girls 40×20 Division 1 in Salthill and Boys 60×30 Division 1 in Williamstown.