The bright lights of Croke Park played host to the cream of GAA Handball players and volunteers as a large crowd gathered in Croke Park on Saturday night last to reflect on and celebrate the 2019 year at the O'Neills GAA Handball All Star awards.
The red carpet was full of style as the Handball public dressed to impress on a night of celebration and glamour.
Uachtarán Joe Masterson opened proceedings as he welcomed the crowd and thanked the volunteers for their hard work throughout the year. He paid tribute to the National office for organising the event and said the awards were a fitting tribute to the great work that is going on throughout the country at present. MC on the night and good friend of Handball Eileen Dunne introduced the awards as winners were announced live on the night. The night recognised both volunteers and players as 6 volunteer awards and 4 player awards were presented by Uachtarán Joe Masterson and Cormac Farrell from sponsors O'Neills.
First up was the volunteer awards with Williamstown's Seán FInnegan inducted into the GAA Handball Fame to start the Awards. Clare's Pat Donnelan was the Clubperson of the Year while Na Fianna's Frank Daly was selected as Volunteer of the Year. The Administrator of the Year went to Clare's secretary Paula Carr while Wexford Handball Board were awarded the Media Award as recognition for their impressive website. The Venue of the Year Award went to the impressive Breacach Handball Club in Tyrone while Kilfane Handball Club in Kilkenny were celebrating as the were awarded the 2019 Club of the Year award.
Following the volunteer awards there was a break for entertainment. The undoubted star of the night was Alanna Coggeran from Kilglass Gaels, a young Handballer with an enormous talent for singing as she wowed the crowd with her own Handball version of The Galway Girl that she rewrote herself aswell as the Lumineers hit Hey Ho aided by her father John and Greenday's Time of your life. She thanked GAA Handball for inviting her to perform on what she described as the best day of her life as she finished off her set with another rewritten version of the American Authors hit Best Day of my life to a standing ovation from the large crowd present. Alanna certainly has a bright future ahead of her.
Following the break for entertainment the Players of the Year were announced. First up were the Young Players with a repeat of 2018 as Kildare's Leah Doyle and Monaghan's Eoghan McGinnity took the Female and Male awards respectively following outstanding years for both. Next up the Female Player of the Year Award went to Cork with Catriona Casey taking home the accolade of Female Player of the Year while Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy collected the final award the Male Player of the Year to cap off a fine season for the Mullingar man.
National Manager John Kelly closed the awards by thanking the volunteers for their work throughout the year and spoke of the excitement that is building as the new National Handball centre nears completion. He thanked Uachtarán Joe Masterson for the past 3 years as the crowd rose to their feet to give a standing ovation to the outgoing Uachtarán and show their appreciation. He also complemented all the nominees as he said the fact that they were nominated by the public showed that their hard work is rightly being recognised and appreciated and that they could all be very proud of that fact.
A raffle was also held on the night with the proceeds going to the GAA's five official charities Western Alzheimers, Down Syndrome Ireland, Marie Keating Foundation, Focus Ireland and Enable Ireland. The attendees were treated to a 3 course meal on the night and later on danced the night away as lively band REWIRED kept the crowd on their feet until the end of the night as the 2019 GAA Handball season was closed off in style.
MC for the night RTE's Eileen Dunne
Uachtarán Joe Masterson addresses the crowd at the 2019 All Star Awards
Alanna Coggeran from Kilglass Gaels entertains the crowd
A general view of the crowd at Saturday night
Award Winners on the night
Hall of Fame Winner - Seán Finnegan, Williamstown Handball Club, Galway
Clubperson of the Year - Pat Donnellan, Kilkishen Handball Club, Clare
Volunteer of the Year - Frank Daly, Na Fianna Handball Club, Dublin
Administrator of the Year - Paula Carr, Newmarket on Fergus Handball Club, Clare
Media Award - Wexford GAA Handball Website
Venue of the Year - Breacach Handball Club, Tyrone
Club of the Year - Kilfane Handball Club, Kilkenny
Players of the Year Awards
Young Female Player of the Year - Leah Doyle, Leixlip Handball Club, Kildare
Young Male Player of the Year - Eoghan McGinnity, Monaghan Harps, Monaghan
Female Player of the Year - Catriona Caset, Ballydesmond Handball Club, Cork
Male Player of the Year - Robbie McCarthy, Mullingar Handball Club, Westmeath