It was the first week in July when 74 handball teams from 47 handball clubs descended on the Irish capital for Féile na nGael 2012. Cullohill Handball Club was the only Laois team entered in the competition of handball, proudly entering three handball teams to the competition, one girls team and two boys teams.
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Following on from last year’s victory Gold for the boys and Silver for the girls at Galway Féile na nGael 2011. Cullohill Handball Club hoped to capitalise on this success with all roads leading to the capital on the morning of Thursday July 5th, 2012. The teams, families, mentors and supporters left Cullohill to travel to Dublin for the weekend. Amidst the damp conditions of our “Irish Summer” they arrived for the Féile na nGael parade walking proudly as a united team with their banner through the streets of Dublin.
The girls team consisted of Avril Deegan (captain), Emily McGuigan, Rebecca Walsh, Louise Walsh and Eimear Dunphy who were based in Erin’s Isle. The girls got off to a flying start defeating Crinkle of Offaly, they then went forward to compete against Coolboy of Wicklow, and shared the spoils each with a game in hand. This set them up for a duo with Kilfane of Kilkenny for the final game of their group on Friday morning. With both clubs level on points it was going to be make or break for a place in the final.
The first boys team consisted of Barry Deegan (captain), Andrew Dunphy, Liam McNeill, Rory Deegan and Conor Delaney who were based in Santry, where they played Annaghdown of Galway on Thursday. Being the first competiton for the boys it took a while for them to get used to the fast pace. They then took on Brian Boru of Dublin and displayed their best handball ever where they were narrowly beaten after a tightening struggle. The boys won their final game against Clogh of Kilkenny which made the weekend for the new team.
The second boys team consisted of Tommy Whyte (captain), Padraig Delaney, Eoghan Doheny, Pauric Dunne & Tiarnach Doheny who were based in City West, the venue for this year’s world handball championships in October.
The boys faced Mallow of Cork in their first match where they got off to a flying start by taking the first game, where Mallow came back levelling it up by taking the second. Wexford were next for the Cullohill boys where the boys were unlucky not to take one of the two games.
Friday saw Cullohill taking of Crinkle of Offaly which at the very early stages of the game Padraig Delaney was forced to retire due to injury which saw Tiarnach Doheny replacing him. This was not Cullohill’s weekend for this handball team but went on to have a great win over Leixlip of Kildare in their last and final game of this year’s competition.
Back in Erin’s Isle for the girls last game against Kilfane, the Cullohill girls were ahead going into the final game however it was not to be Cullohill’s weekend after a extremely close and tight nail bighting game the Kilfane girls narrowly knocked out the Cullohill girls. Kilfane coincidently went on to win the overall final of the division. It was a fantastic performance from the Cullohill team considering that four of these girls never played in the competiton before.
A word of thanks must be expressed to the following people. Firstly to Eddie and Helen Dunne for their total commitment to the girls team with countless training sessions both home and away; To Liam Dunphy and Noel Delaney for their commitment to the boys team and looking after them in Santry; To Eamon Doheny and Danny Delaney for their commitment to the boys teams with countless trainging sessions the teams put in huge amount of work to progress nicely with 8 of the 10 boys being able to compete again in next years competiton which will be of great benefit to them.
To Elaine Maher PRO & club photographer; To the parents & supporters for constantly being available to lend a hand or being the taxi service to the countless trainings; finally a big thank you to the people of Cullohill for their support at the annual fundraiser.
Handball is fondly called “the perfect game”. When one travels round the country it is eminent to see that the small rural clubs are the most successful. It just shows Cullohill Handball Club too can be part of this success when everybody works together. The players, mentors & family members and supporters really enjoyed the whole experience and again to mention the parade down O’ Connell Street which was truly unique and will be remembered for years to come.
Congratulations to Eoghan Doheny who won the Féile award for his Division in recognition of outstanding performance on and off the court in 2012. Eoghan was presented with his cert by Jerome Conway national Féile Chairman.
Congratulations and well done to Leah Dunphy & Eimear Delaney who reached the Leinster semi-final 60x30 recently. Winning the first game, the girls narrowly lost out in the second game to the Kilkenny girls.
For regular updates on Cullohill Handball Club and photos from the Féile weekend check out our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cullohill-Handball-Club/152407021451973 or contact the club on firstname.lastname@example.org