Friday, August 9, 2013

Kilmactigue handball gathering

Group photo.
Back row standing left to right:Francis Mc Cann, Shane Bruen, Seamus Howley, Seamus O' Donnell, Jimmy Hegarty, Ben Ginty, Padraig Maye, Ollie Cassidy, Peter Cassidy.

Seated left to right: Tom Golderick, Fr. Tom Quinn, Tommy Ginty & Jimmy Roper

photo no. 2 Peter Cassidy striking the ball. Also in picture is Ollie Cassidy & Francis McCann

Kilmactigue handball gathering

An historic handball celebration took place in Kilmactigue as part of the “Gathering” on the Bank Holiday Sunday August 4th last writes Michael McGee.  

It brought back special memories of the 1940’s & 1950’s when handball was a popular sport & pastime in Kilmactigue. The old handball alley is 101 years old. The historic court was originally a 3 wall court but oddly enough when a back wall was erected in the late 1950’s interest in handball sadly declined.
The idea  to the handball gathering was to recreate a typical village scene from days of old when locals congregated at the ball alley after Sunday Mass and played each other sometimes even for a small wager before going home (usually late) for their Sunday dinner
A number of inspired locals have restored the alley to its former self especially Seamus O’Donnell, Matt Barren, Brendan Kennedy, Seamus Molloy, Milo Maye & Joseph Gallagher.  An exhibition match took place in brilliant sunshine between Sligo’s Francis McCann & Shane Bruen and Mayo’s the Cassidy brothers Ollie & Peter. Seamus O’Donnell spoke prior to the start of the match and reminiscence about past players and games played in the old court.  

Mayo won the match but more significant the handball alley again reverberating with the sound of handball being played brought back many cherished memories for the large crowd that attended. Padraig Maye and All-Ireland handball champion and an International Athletics Champion played in Kilmactigue hopes that “the exhibition match will be the catalyst to a new generation to take up the game.”

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