There was some very exciting news for sixteen Handball clubs yesterday, and indeed Irish Handball in general as a total of €608k in funding was announced by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport as part of the 2017 Sports Capital Grant Allocation.
A total of €56m will be distributed to clubs and authorities around the country in the latest round of sports capital grants. The programme is the primary means of providing Government funding for capital projects to sport and community organisations at local, regional and national level.
Minister Shane Ross said at the announcement:
"This is a great day for Irish sport. When we originally invited applications under the scheme, we had just €30m to allocate and the record level of applications would have left a large number of good projects unsupported and many clubs disappointed. Happily, following the conclusion of budget discussions, I was delighted to secure the required additional resources to enable me to allocate €56m in total to local sports clubs and organisations throughout the country. The net result of this is that we are able to provide financial assistance towards over 1,700 different projects all over the country."
Out of those 1,700 projects there are sixteen lucky Handball clubs who will receive a financial boost in their efforts to improve their facilities. The 2017 allocation has seen an increase of funding towards Handball Clubs since the previous round of funding in 2015 when seven clubs received a total of €450k funding and this increase was welcomed by National Manager John Kelly.
"I am delighted to see over half a million euro being invested in GAA Handball. The figure this year represents a significant increase on the 2015 funding and this is greatly welcomed and much appreciated. There is a comprehensive process involved in applying for this funding and I complement the clubs for their drive and ambition to seek this funding, which will enhance their facilities and drive Handball to greater heights in these regions. It is just reward for their vision and dedication and I wish each and every one of them the best of luck with their projects. It goes to show that with the right attitude and commitment that there is rewards for such hard work. I also thank the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for their continuation of this scheme which is of huge importance to smaller NGB's"
Of the sixteen Handball Clubs to have benefited there will be glass backwalls, improved changing facilities, new courts, improved heating systems and many more changes as the money will be put to good use.
JP O'Connor, Development Committee Chairperson, Hospital HC spoke of the buzz in the town following the announcement that they would be receiving €43,500 towards the building of a new 40x20 alley.
"Hospital HC are delighted to receive almost €45k in funding through the Sports Capital Programme, and as a result we will soon be able to begin construction of a 40x20 court. This will be a great boost to the Club and the buzz is already palpable in the town. Many thanks to those within the Club who have worked tirelessly on thsi project and continue to do so to maintain the huge Handball tradition in the community. Many thanks also to GAA Handball and Limerick County Handball Board for their continued support."
Robbie McCarthy Jnr, Mullingar HC who received €55,000 towards their planned upgrade of facilities was delighted as he spoke of how it will benefit not just the club but the local area as a whole:
"This is a major lift for the Club and we have no doubt it will help us to expand the development of the sport in the area. We aim to do an all round upgrade, including new heating systems and glass back walls which will increase spectator numbers and accessibility. Our facilities are located in a disadvantaged area, and we hope this funding will enable us to continue our Youth and Tiny Tots programmes, and develop them further by getting more kids in the area into the alleys."
John O’Neill Chairman, Lahorna Handball Club who received €50,500 for their project was equally as delighted to receive the news:
"We are delighted to have been allocated €50,500 under the 2017 SCP. This will allow us to proceed with our plans to develop the facilities at Lahorna which will be a huge benefit not just to handball players but to the whole community. After disappointing results in previous years the committee worked very hard to ensure we submitted a quality application and I’m delighted our hard work has been recognised and rewarded. The future is bright for handball in Lahorna."
Raymond Ryan, Kilfane HC, who received €62,000.
"Kilfane Handball club will Celebrate our Club Centenary in 2018, thanks to the clubs successful grant applications through Kilkenny Leader and the Sports Capital Programme a new 40 x 20 court will become a reality in Kilfane to complement the existing 60 x 30 court. This new facility will increase membership, ensure year round handball for young and old, breathe life into a rural community and ensure the tradition of handball will continue in Kilfane for the next 100 years."
The full list of allocations to Handball Clubs are as follows:
Sports Capital Grant Allocations 2017:
- Kilteely Dromkeen, Limerick Handball Alley & All Weather Practice Wall €76,000
- Liscarroll HC, Cork Development 2017 €68,920
- Ballyheane CS, Mayo Ballyheane Handball/Racquetball Court €64,000
- Kilfane HC, Kilkenny New Court €62,000
- Mullingar HC, Westmeath Court Upgrades €55,000
- Lahorna HC, Tipperary Lahorna HC Extension €50,500
- Glenville, Cork Refurbish of Handball/Squash Facility €47,000
- Hospital HC, Limerick Court Construction €43,500
- Galway City Council Westside Park Hurling/Handball Wall & Court €34,000
- St Macartan's, Monaghan Handball, Cricket and Soccer €24,500
- Crinkle HC, Offaly Roofing of 60x30 €19,000
- Collooney HC, Sligo Renovation of existing old 60x30 Court €19,000
- Boherbue Sports Centre, Cork Handball Court Essential Repairs & Refurb €18,000
- Bridgetown HC, Wexford Refurbishment of 60x30 Court €17,000
- Corduff HC , Monaghan Renovation of Corduff Handball Alley €7,000
- Garryhill HC, Carlow Garryhill Handball Improvement Project €3,000