On Wednesday Nov 3rd Clonkill Handball club was officially launched. Local handballers and founders of the club Eoiny Price and Niall Mitchell travelled to handball clubs all over the midlands to play and had the idea of setting up their own club using the fantastic facilities at Clonkill Hurling Club (who were a huge support to the lads). A huge crowd of almost 400 people, young and old, turned up to support the launch and were treated to an exhibition game by local handballers Niall Mitchell and Darren Carter.
Clonkill HC would like to thank all their sponsors including Moran signs, Eddie Casey and in particular Kilmurreys hardware in Mullingar for sponsoring all of the materials for the wall. Special thanks also to our local carpenters Paul Kellaghan, Mark Keegan, OReilly/Fitzsimons construction, and Niall Dowdall for giving up their time to construct the walls. We would also like to thank the local community group for helping with refreshments on the night and Marie Nea and David Scally for helping with the organisation of grants to get the club up and running.
Without doubt the highlight of the night was the attendance of Kilkenny hurling legend Richie Hogan who himself has 26 All Ireland Handball titles and a world title. The dozens of children in attendance were delighted to meet their hero and on our first underage coaching session after the launch we had almost 30 children enjoying the game. We had huge support from our local primary school loughegar and Principal Niall Brennan who introduced handball to their PE lessons.
Finally, we want to thank the local media (Westmeath examiner and topic), midlands radio and GAA handball Ireland for their support. The hall is available for booking on Monday evenings between 5 and 10 along with underage coaching every Sunday morning between 11 and 12.30. For more information on the club just follow Clonkill Handball Club on Facebook for all updates and contact information. We will be organising tournaments in the new year, and we look forward to our future All Ireland handballers.