Saturday, 30 August 2014

Connacht Masters B 60 x 30 doubles title for Bruen & Cooney

Congratulations to Collooney & Sligo star Shane Bruen who teamed up with Castleconnor’s Martin Cooney to win the Masters B Connacht title with a 21-15, 21-2 victory over Roscommon’s John Kennedy & Seamie Conneely

Collooney handball club celebrate

                         Mick Kelly & Paddy Walsh cut the tape to open the new court

                                                   Collooney handball club committee

Collooney handball club celebrate

After many years of dedication, hard work and commitment the Collooney handball Club Committee were at last able to celebrate the opening of their state of the art 40 x 20 handball court last Friday evening, writes Michael McGee

A huge gathering of people from all over Ireland attended the opening of the Collooney handball 40 x 20 court on Friday evening last. In attendance was Joe TaaffeSligo G.A.A Chairman, Eamonn McMunn Sligo G.A.A Administrator. Shane Malone Main Contractor, P.J. Moran Engineer on the project. Wexford Handball Secretary Tony Breen and his wife Betty made the long journey to Collooney.  Amongst the attendance was Michael McElroy son of William McElroy the Club’s first Secretary in 1928. Also there was Brian Cooper of Markree Castle the family who kindly donated a plot of ground on the Fairgreen where the handball courts are now situated. With the viewing gallery full to capacity the evening started with an Ecumenical Blessing by Fr. Pat Peyton P.P. Collooney and Rev Adam Pullen Ballisodare.   After the blessing two of the legends of the game in Sligo Paddy Walsh & Mick Kelly who between them have won 39 All-Ireland handball titles had the honour of cutting the tape to open the new €200,000 state of the art handball court. It was a case of double celebration for Walsh as he also celebrated his 74th birthday. D.J. Charlie Brown provided the musical entertainment.

Development Chairman Hugh McGarry gave the speech and began by sincerely thanking the Cooper Family of Markree Castle who kindly donated the ground in the Fairgreen back in 1928 where the handball court is built. McGarry had a warm “Cead Mile Failte” for Brian Cooper who was in attendance.  McGarry praised Fr. Pat Peyton PP Collooney who launched the plan back in 2011 and said “that the people of Collooney are very lucky to have him.”  “Fr. Pat is a tremendous help to us over the last 3-4 years”.   The Development Chairman thanked Tony McLoughlin T.D. who was instrumental in helping the club receive the €50,000 sports lottery funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport in January of last year which greatly aided the project.   He also thanked all the support received from the weekly Bingo in Collooney hall and acknowledged “that this would not have happened only for the support of their loyal supporters”. P.J. Moran a lecturer in Engineering was described as a “great guy” by McGarry.  “This was his ideas and plans and great credit to him.”  McGarry was full of praise for the main contractor Shane Malone “when Shane came on board my problems was solved.”  Shane is an absolute gentleman McGarry added.   Malone’s team of contractor’s Jimmy Kilgallon, Eamon Waters, Padraic Harte, Michael Harte & the Walsh brothers were also thanked for their excellent work.

 McGarry remembered great friends of the club who are now deceased people like Willy Loftus, Ned Connelly, Mrs Jackson, Mickey Finn, Kathleen Finn, Gabriel Walsh & John O’Hara and with that there was 30 seconds of silence for those departed.   McGarry mentioned past players the Clifford brothers, Mannion brothers, Kenneth McKenna, Bergin brothers, Flynn brothers, Johnson brothers Ballisodare, Harry Colleary, Sonny Hennessy &Tom Colleary. The Development Chairman reiterated his desire to continue their development during the winter months to renovate the 60 x 30 court and have an Official opening  in Spring of next year.  All of the committee were individually thanked for their extraordinary dedication and commitment in the last number of years.  McGarry was delighted to see Michael McElroy son of William McElroy the first Club Secretary in 1928 looking hale and hearty at the opening.   McGarry looks forward to seeing the club players reach their potential in the years to come and that the new generation will also bring great success to the club.

Collooney handball 40 x 20 opening Friday August 29th in photos

Sean Reilly, Angela McLoughlin, Pat Connolly & Anthony McGarry

                                  Michael & Mona Elroy, Jim Gilligan & John Leydon

Liam Kelly, Rian Kelly, Mick & Sally Kelly, Enya Kelly & Angela Killalea
Betty & Tony Breen our great friends in Wexford. Thanks Tony & Betty for sharing with us on our historic opening
Connell Cannon, Rev Adam Pullen & Fr Pat Peyton PP Collooney
Shane Bruen, Martin Golden, Francie Cawley, John Cawley & Johnny Banks

Brendan Carey, Mick McMorrow & Francis McCann

Councillor Tomas Healy, Shane Bruen & Daniel Gallagher AKA D.J. Charlie Brown
John McGarty, Jean Connell, Ailish & Eimear McGarry, Peter Davey, Mairead Philips & Annabella Nolan
Shane Malone Main Contractor, Hugh McGarry Dev Club Chairman  & P.J. Nolan Engineer
Carl Brennan Champion photographer, John McLoughlin Connacht Handball Secretary, Mick Kelly & Hugh McGarry
Larry Jones & Michael Ginley

Connell Cannon, Fr. Pat & Rev Adam Pullen at the Blessing
Mick Kelly & Paddy Walsh cut the tape to open the alley

Collooney handball committee

Paddy, Eugene & Mick

Michael & Mona Elroy, Maureen Mullin & Jim Gilligan
Still got it: PJ Moran displaying his handball skills

Tony Breen Wexford handball secretary, Hugh McGarry & P.J. Moran
Tony Breen, Hugh McGarry, P.J. Moran & Michael McGee
Michael Flynn & Hugh McGarry

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Hugh McGarry's Interview with Darragh Cox Ocean FM

Listen to Hugh McGarry's Interview with Ocean FM'S Darragh Cox form last Friday. Click HERE to listen to the recording.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tony Breen visits Collooney

A very welcome visitor to Collooney is Wexford County Secretary Tony Breen.  Tony is doing a magnificent job in Wexford as an handball Official and looks after the the very impressive Wexford handball website well worth looking at. Tony is an All-Ireland handball Champion and received the Water Crystal Handball Awards "Official of the Year in 2000. Another award for this very hard working & affable handball official is over due. Tony is also a World Handball Champion.

Tony with Paddy Walsh

Tony with Connell Cannon Sligo County Secretary

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Collooney handball club ready for opening

Group photo at the clean up Peter Davey, Stanley Harte, Michael McGee, Seamus Duffy &  Connell Cannon.

Connell Cannon, Seamus Duffy & Shane Bruen 

The two blow ins Meath's Michael McGee & Donegal's  Dave Mulhern.

The legendary Paddy Walsh putting the finishing touches to the handball court.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bruen is Connacht champion

Congratulations to club player Shane Bruen who won the Masters B singles Connacht final against Roscommon’s John Kennedy on Saturday in Williamstown. Bruen won in straight games and goes forward to the All-Ireland semi-finals where he will face the Munster champion. Another club player Peter Davey was beaten by Mayo Joe Neary in the Diamond Masters B singles final.

Results Connacht 60 x 30 finals:
Masters B: Shane Bruen (Sligo) dft John Kennedy (Ros) 21-12, 21-10

Diamond Masters B singles: Peter Davey (Sligo) lost to Joe Neary (Mayo) 3-21, 6-21

Friday, 22 August 2014

Collooney pair in Connacht final

Connacht Handball Championships 60 x 30  Finals
Saturday August 23rd in Williamstown at 5 p.m.
Masters B:  Shane Bruen (Sligo) v John Kennedy (Ros)

Diamond Masters B singles:  Peter Davey (Sligo) v Joe Neary (Mayo)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Collooney handball club celebrate

Collooney handball club celebrate opening of its 40 x 20 handball court

The Collooney handball club will celebrate another major milestone in their 86 year history with the opening of their new 40 x 20 court on Friday 29th August next, writes Michael McGee.

The club has a rich history. In 1928 the then Chairman Alfie Higgins a signal man on the Midland Railway & Secretary WP McElroy approached the land owners the Cooper Family of Markree Castle who kindly donated a plot of ground on the Fairgreen.

 At the official opening that year Joe & Paddy Bergin who had local connections and were residing in Tipperary played Jim Hunt & Eddie Perry from Sligo. Others who played included Joe Lane, Guard Cunnion from Ballintogher, Jim & Mickey O’Rourke from Ballisodare.

The Club has seen many changes along the way.

 In 1996/97 the height of the walls was extended to 27ft and the installing of a new floor. Dressing rooms were added in 1999.The old galvanised roof was replaced in 2001 with a modern roof. With the added facilities Collooney hosted many Connacht handball championships matches and a number of All-Ireland semi-finals & finals. 

The idea of a 40 x 20 handball court was first mooted in 2007 by Paddy Walsh, & Stanley Harte club stalwarts and others who were coaching the young players in Collooney.    

McGarry’s midas touch

And with that the idea firmly ingrained in Development Chairman Hugh McGarry mind the seeds were sown. McGarry immediately set out about forming a Committee to undertake the seemingly impossible task.  In fact the project was nearly grounded before it even started. The Park Committee who own the park were reluctant at first to give up any ground at and McGarry the man that he is bought a piece of additional ground and exchanged it for the ground where the 40 x 20 court is presently built. McGarry’s midas touch made sure the project would progress and has worked tirelessly on it. And with that McGarry & Co could dare to dream an almost impossible dream.

Fundraising began almost immediately with tickets sales bringing in €13,000 initially. 

The Committee members included Hugh McGarry, Paddy Walsh, Stanley Harte, Peter Davey, Mick Kelly, Peter Chambers, Connell Cannon, Shane Bruen, Michael McGee, Brendan Carey, Seamus Duffy, Aoife McDonagh & Denise Mullen.

In August of 2009 Andy Healy (a Sligo native) President of the Boston Sligo Association handed over $2,000 to the club following a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser in Boston to club officials in Collooney handball club.

The plans for the handball court was unveiled in January 2011 in Collooney  Former Chairman of the Owenmore G.A.A Club Martin Cannon spoke at the unveiling of the plans as did  then Sligo G.A.A Chairman Cyril Feehily & P.J. Moran the technical advisor. Fr. Pat Peyton PP Collooney was also in attendance and has given the club great encouragement for many years.  The Club got great support from the local Owenmore Gaels G.A.A Club with their award winning Connolly Park and the Fairgreen Committee opening the Children’s playground beside the handball court.

The sod turning ceremony took place on Friday May 18th 2012 and was attended by local politicians, G.A.A. Officials & the people of Collooney.  What pleased the Club most was the entire Collooney community turned out for the celebrations. Local G.A.A stalwarts Michael Flynn & Maureen Mullin were given the honour of turning the first sod on the club’s new handball court. Maureen Mullin was treasurer of the St. Feichin’s Community Games from 1973-1998 and Treasurer of the Teeling Centre for the past 27 years.  Michael Flynn was handball trustee back in the 1970’s.

Last year the club received the welcome news that they would receive funding of €50,000 from the Department of Sports and Tourism which greatly helped in reducing the overall cost of the project.

A huge amount of work went into it according to McGarry the development Chairman. “It is a great site and fundamentally we wanted it to be in the middle of the village and beside the existing alley.  There was a lot of work to do to get the loan from Clann Credo as we had to prove to them what sources of income we have and this had to be certified by an accountant. We also had to provide them with Bank Statements etc.  The Bingo is proving very successful for us and we need to keep the money coming in to pay off the debt.”

McGarry is very positive about the future of the Collooney handball centre.  “Boys & Girls will now have a home venue to train and the court will now be up to inter county standard.  Our players will now be training in the best facilities going.” 

McGarry acknowledged the great work of PJ Moran Engineer who designed the building.  “Once we seen the blueprint from P.J. on paper we worked on from that. Shane Malone is the main contractor and numerous tradesmen all did an outstanding job for us.  I cannot be more pleased with how it all turned out.”

The Development Chairman greatly acknowledged the extraordinary support from all the people who attend the club’s weekly bingo in the Collooney hall each Thursday evening.
“Without their support this would not have been possible.”

 McGarry also “praised the committee for their commitment, dedication and energy and to all the people in Collooney who have supported handball over many years.”

The Club also received a loan of €76,000 from “Clann Credo and the money is being paid back by two sources of revenue the Bingo and from the club members themselves who put in €5 every week.    The bingo is running for the past 4 years.
The main contractor is Shane Malone from Boyle. Shane has already built two award winning developments in Collooney at Bramble Hallow and at Hawthorn Court. The Club’s Technical Advisor is none other than P.J. Moran an All-Ireland handball champion from Roscommon.

The Club’s players have distinguished themselves at National & International level. Players of the calibre of Shane Bruen,  Paddy Walsh, Vincent McKeon, Hugh McGarry, Connell Cannon, Mick Kelly, Peter Davey, John McLoughlin, Seamus Duffy, Stanley Harte, Sean Coen, Mick McMorrow, Michael McGee & Peter Chambers all have won numerous Connacht & All-Ireland handball titles. Two months ago the Club reached the All-Ireland club semi-finals. Shane Bruen has already reached this year’s All-Ireland’s semi-finals.  Two of the club’s best known players Paddy Walsh & Mick Kelly between them have won a staggering 39 All-Ireland handball titles.

And with the likes of Stanley Harte Jnr, Patrick Fox, Tommy Trill all coming through the underage structure hopes are high of future success.

The cost of the entire project is costing €200,000 to build. Legendary players Paddy Walsh & Mick Kelly have been given the honour of cutting the tape to open the new court.

The project began on August 12th 2013.

 It says much for Hugh McGarry and his committee that in the middle of a recession the project stayed on course.  At the sod turning ceremony on the 18th May 2012 with words taken from a famous Barack Obama speech McGarry gave a passionate and rousing speech that will live long in the memory. In his last parting words he said to all in attendance he said “Stick with us and we will do it. If feidir linn.”  McGarry’s superhuman efforts and that of his team have seen an almost impossible dream become a reality. 

The modern building stands in the shadow of the majestic spire of the Church of the Assumption in Collooney.  Handball in Collooney has finally come home. Home in the heart of Collooney.  The visionaries of 1928 will be more than pleased with what their successors have now achieved.

McGarry’s prophetic words have come true “Yes we can and Yes we did it”

The historic opening will begin with an Ecumenical blessing by Fr Pat Peyton PP Collooney & Rev Adam Pullen Ballisodare at 5.30 p.m. Legendary handball players Paddy Walsh & Mick Kelly will have the honour of cutting the tape to open the new facility. Collooney handball club development Chairman Hugh McGarry will deliver the speech.  Refreshments will be provided and the Collooney handball club extend an invitation for all to attend.  

Michael McGee

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Historic opening of Collooney handball 40 x 20 court on Friday August 29th 2014

The Collooney handball Club are delighted to announce of opening of their new 40 x 20 handball court in Collooney on Friday August 29th at 5.30 p.m.. After many years of fundraising the project is now completed. Shane Malone is the main contractor along with many local tradesmen who also worked on the project.   The 40  x 20 handball court cost €200,000 to build.

The historic opening will begin with an Ecumenical blessing by Fr Pat Peyton PP Collooney & Rev Adam Pullen Ballisodare.  Legendary handball players Paddy Walsh & Mick Kelly will have the honour of cutting the tape to open the new facility. Collooney handball club development Chairman Hugh McGarry will deliver the speech.  Refreshments will be provided and the Collooney handball club extend an invitation for all to attend.  It is hoped to have the official opening of the handball courts sometime in 2015 when work on a glass black wall is to be installed in the 60 x 30 court and work on the viewing gallery will be completed.

To mark the occasion on the opening of the new court the handball Bingo committee are adding €500 to the jackpot game on Thursday night August 28th. The Jackpot will then be €2000. On the last game the winner of the full house will receive €400 to make the occasion.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Collooney handball 40 x 20 court development update

The latest photos with thanks to Connell Cannon can be viewed Here

Work is progressing fast and already since the photos were taken the glass back wall is installed.

It is hoped to have the court ready for the start of the new 40 x 20 season. A meeting will take place shortly about organizing the official opening of the new court. It is a remarkable achievement by the club  members who have worked tirelessly on the project for the past number of years. The new court will rival any 40 x 20 playing facility in Ireland.

Collooney handball players in Connacht championships semi-finals

Connacht Handball 60 x 30  Championships semi-finals involving Collooney club players
Saturday 9th August in Ballymote at 5 p.m.
Junior C singles:  Emmett Brannigan (Sligo) v Jonathon Conrory (Mayo)
Emerald Masters A singles:  Michael McMorrow (Sligo) v Geraghty/Hopkins or Heraty
Masters B singles: Shane Bruen (Sligo) v Michael Ginley (Mayo)

Sunday 10th August in Ballymote at 3 p.m.
Junior B singles: Pat Ward (Sligo) v (Mayo)

Result already played:
Golden Masters B singles:  Stanley Harte defeated by George Miller (Mayo 7-21, 15-21.

Bye to singles final:
Diamond Masters B singles:  Peter Davey (Sligo) v Joe Neary (Mayo)
Over 70’s: Paddy Walsh  (Sligo) v Sean Heaney (Mayo)
Minor Singles: Stanley Harte Jnr (Sligo) v Niall Joyce (Mayo)

Connacht Handball 60 x 30 championships Doubles semi-finals v Mayo (away fixtures)
Sunday 17th August in Castlebar at 3 p.m.
Masters B Doubles: Shane Bruen & Martin Cooney (Sligo) v Joe Cummins & John  Cunninghham (Mayo)
Golden Masters B doubles: Peter Chambers & Stanley Harte (Sligo) v Peter & Seamus Howard (Mayo)

Bye to doubles final: 

Minor Doubles:  Stanley Harte & Patrick Fox (Sligo) v  Niall Joyce & Sean Cunnane (Mayo)