Report by Siobhan Tully
Roscommon Community College hosted the fifth annual Roscommon Post-Primary One-Wall Handball Blitz, held in the Meánscoil Mhuire gan Smál gymnasium in Roscommon Town. This fantastic venue provided three full size One-Wall courts which facilitated the jammed packed event with the completion of over thirty handball games, over four hours!
This year, there were more entries than ever before, with five post-primary schools taking part – Roscommon Community College, C.B.S Roscommon, Meánscoil Mhuire gan Smál Roscommon, Elphin Community College and Dunmore Community School. In total, there were twenty-one teams of four from first and second year classes. As this event is targeted at beginners, great credit must go to the teachers in the respective schools for the time and effort which they put in to preparing teams.
It was a very enjoyable day and as the days matches wore on, the fun element was equalled by the determination, as sights were set on the cup and shield titles. It was great to see that as the semi’s played out, the five schools had representatives in either the cup or shield finals!
In the Cup event, it was an all Meánscoil Mhuire gan Smál Roscommon final for the Girls Cup and an all Dunmore Community School Boys Cup final. ‘Team 1’ and ‘Team 2’ from the all-girls Roscommon Town school battled it out after coming through semi-finals against Dunmore Community School (Team 1) and Dunmore Community School (Team 2), respectively. In the end, it was the Convent’s ‘Team 1’ that came out victorious after two games of doubles of seven minutes each, ensuring the girls school retained the Cup title for the second year in a row. The winning team was Eimear Farrell, Niamh Fitzgerald, Anna Campbell and Ellen Cafferkey. The runners-up team was Mella Lawless, Reece Higgins, Roisin Kilcline and Aoibheann Whelehen, with both teams being coached by Sarah Farragher and Sean Boland.
Despite it being Dunmore’s first time to enter the event, the school had an extremely successful day. In the Boys Cup event Dunmore Community School Team 2 and Team 3 faced each other in the final, after both came through tight semi-finals against Roscommon C.B.S.’s Team 1 and Team 2. In the end, Dunmore ‘Team 2’ were crowned the champions. The winning team was Darren Ward, Rory Farago, PJ Donnellan and Dylan Coleman with the runners-up team consisting of Cormac Heneghan, Patrick Doory, Sean Carr and Ethan Green. Both teams were coached by Mary Grehan.
In the Girls Shield event, the Convent’s third team made it to the final along with Elphin Community College’s Team 1, where they battled it out after coming through matches against Roscommon Community College and Elphin’s Team 2 in the semis. Despite Elphin’s best efforts, the Convent girls were too strong and in the end, they came out on top. The winning team was Maria Farooq, Kawany Marques, Maria Eduarda and Nicole Reaney. The runners-up team was Shannon Dowd, Ruth Shanagher, Rachel Gormley and Sarah Cannioy, coached by Cathal O’Dowd and his Transition Year students.
The final event was the Boys Shield event, which saw Dunmore take home their second prize of the day. The Dunmore Team (Team 1) were unfortunate to narrowly lose out in their first game of the day which meant they dropped down into the Plate competition. From entering the Plate, Dunmore dominated and overcame Roscommon Community College (Team 1) in their last game. The winning team was Michael Hett, Thomas Ronayne, Liam Healy and Cathal Meehan. The runners-up team was Aaron Flaherty, Eoghain Gilleran, Leo Gately and Paddy Naughton, who were coached by Fergal Timmons.
As always, the Roscommon Handball County Board generously put up the prizes and sponsored the event, which is aimed at promoting handball in schools throughout the county.
A sincere thanks to all the members of St. Coman’s Handball club who helped out with referring and officiating, including Mary Tully, Aengus Cunningham, Mogamed Yaekayev, Liam Egan, Shauna Clogher, Ashling Treacy, Siobhan Treacy and Carragh Kennedy. Thanks also to Darragh Daly, National Development Officer at Croke Park, for sending down wristbands and t-shirts that were disseminated to the students on the day. Thanks to all the teachers who took the time out of their busy schedule to teach the students the rules of the sport and hopefully they will continue to encourage them to keep it up. Finally, a massive thanks to the boys and girls who participated in what was an action packed and fun filled event. We hope this event will ignite a passion within the kids and we hope they continue to play and develop their skills even further.
Michael and Ann Naughton, two prestigious members of St. Coman’s Handball Club, who have dedicated their life to the club, popped into the event to see the talents on display.