Civic Reception for handball legend
Legendary Sligo handball player Paddy Walsh was honoured with a Civic Reception from Sligo Lord Mayor Marcella McGarry, writes Michael McGee
Present at the Civic Reception were former Lord Mayor’s Matt Lyons & Rosaleen O’Grady. Cyril Feehily Sligo G.A.A Board Chairman, Peter Heaney Chairman Connacht Handball Council, Shane Bruen Chairman Sligo Handball Board, Hugh McGarry Chairman Collooney Handball Club, members of Paddy Walsh’s family and Sligo Handball Board Officials & personnel
Lord Mayor Marcella McGarry welcomed everyone to the “Mayors Parlour” for this special occasion to honour Paddy Walsh. In a very professionally scripted speech she described Paddy Walsh as our local sporting hero. “He is one of the most outstanding sportsmen of our generation. What Paddy Walsh has achieved is never to be equalled. His characteristic no nonsense determined approach stood out, he wanted to win every game.
He is the complete dedicated player who has reached legendary status. His achievements at the highest level, both nationally and locally is amazing. He gained his first All-Ireland success in 1974 and just a couple of weeks ago in Clare he gained his 29th National title. At 73, it is an incredible achievement and absolutely brilliant. Paddy is an excellent ambassador at the pinnacle winning 27 more All-Ireland titles including 4 in one year alone. It’s an accomplishment deserving acclaim for his sporting prowess. He has also won 6 County G.A.A titles with Collooney/Ballisodare and 1 with the St. Mary’s club.
He is coaching in the Collooney club and passing on his vast experience to the next generation of handball players. He is immensely proud of his young player’s achievements and happy that they are aspiring to follow in his footsteps.
He was the first to suggest the provision of better playing facilities in the Collooney handball club as far back as 2007. Paddy also received a lifetime sporting achievement award from G.A.A Handball in 2009. The sporting icon is also involved in numerous community organisations to many to mention.”
The Lord Mayor ended by saying “Every sport needs a Paddy Walsh with his energy, inspiration and motivation. “
Shane Bruen Chairman of the Sligo handball Board thanked the Lord Mayor for her great speech. He warmly praised Walsh for all he has achieved in handball spanning 6 decades and for also giving his time to coaching the young players in the Collooney handball club. “Nobody deserves this award more than Paddy Walsh,” said Bruen. The Co. Chairman evoked special memories of Walsh’s early sports career.
After the reception the handball fraternity gathered outside on the steps of the Sligo Borough Council Offices in the warm evening sunshine. All the Sligo handball members shared in Paddy Walsh’s special day. It was “Paddy’s Day” in Sligo. The quiet man in the midst of his fellow handball friends stood tallest his unquenchable sporting spirit beaming , burning brightly as warm and radiant as the autumnal sun’s rays.
It was a very historic occasion for Sligo handball. Walsh will go down in the annals of Sligo G.A.A. as the County’s greatest ever handball player. Walsh has achieved everything in the sport and to receive the distinguished Civic Reception from the Sligo Lord Mayor Marcella McGarry capped off a special year for the Sligo sports legend.
We can all look back with huge pride and affection at his achievements, his unquestionable talent and the super human efforts to win games has dazzled and amazed us all for many years. And also to look forward to see our herculean handball hero winning even more handball titles in the years to come.
Sligo Handball players & Officials celebrating with Paddy Walsh