Westmeath players from left to right; Marl, Adam, Darragh, Ricky Barron (Leinster Handball President), Conor and Enrico.

Handball: Development blitz in memory of Bro Hugh Gallagher, OFM

Brother Hugh Gallagher, OFM, was fundamental in developing youth in Multyfarnham and Westmeath throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Bro Hugh, alongside the friars fundraised while Bro Hugh himself completed the covering of both 60x30 alleys within the friary in Multyfarnham himself to ensure the youth could play throughout the winter months.

He travelled the Country with the youth of Westmeath and had many champions such as Liam Cassidy, Seanie Murphy and Caroline Tierney throughout his years involved in handball.

This development blitz was run to honour the work and dedication of Bro Hugh with the youth in Multyfarnham and Westmeath with the blessing of the Franciscan brothers.

It was a bitter cold and frosty morning on Saturday November 19, but there was a buzz of excitement as 44 youths descended on Westmeath’s only 60x30 court, Mullingar, to compete in the Bro Hugh Development blitz of 2022.

There was a fantastic display of handball with players coming from Dublin, Meath, Louth, Longford, Kildare and of course there was some great representation from Westmeath.

Players were given the opportunity to compete in the 60x30 blitz initially with those unsuccessful in the primary rounds going into the 40x20 to play a separate plate competition.

Sportsmanship was reviewed by Leinster officials and referees across the day with “player of the tournament” awards provided to those who displayed outstanding respect and kindness on the court.

Leinster officials and the referees had also assessed skills over the course of the matches to recognise those who displayed the necessary skills in the most fluid manner.

The Mullingar Club had a few extra pictures added to the wall from the colouring table and outdid themselves in arranging raffle prizes, hosting a free raffle on the day with each player included in the draw.

All players were provided with a fabulous Westmeath jersey sponsored by Westmeath Handball alongside balls and promotional items provided by GAA Handball.

The blitz was to be a day of handball and fun for the youth of North Leinster Counties that have not had the opportunity to compete in Championship and was a huge success overall.

· Girls U13 - Coco/Sophie (Meath) beat June/Grace (Dublin) 21-16.

· Girls U13 Plate - Aoife/Holly (Meath) beat Ruth/Vidya (Dublin) 21-17.

· Boys U13 - Eoin/Joseph (Kildare) beat Enrico/Conor (Westmeath) 21-14.

· Boys U13 Plate - Peter/Oisín (Dublin) beat Thiago/Piotor (Louth) 21-12

· U15 - Thomas/Adam (Longford) beat Liam/Lucy (Dublin) 21-7.

· U15 Plate - Patrick/James (Dublin) beat Conor/Sean (Dublin) 21-16.

We would like to thank Leinster for their support - for Leinster President, Ricky Barron, Leinster Coaching Officer, Billy Love, and Leinster Youth Officer, Gerry Murphy taking the time to join us at our event. Not only did they show up, but they assisted with refereeing, time keeping and judging the different awards.

A massive thank you to Mullingar Handball Club for hosting the event, especially to Robbie Snr, Tina, Sandra and Liam. You have all put in so much work to ensure the players had a great day. Thanking the young volunteers of the club who did tremendous work in the lead up to Saturday and a special thanks to the parents who provided drinks and snacks for the players also.

Thank you to those who sponsored prizes, the McCarthy family, Fagan’s Toymaster and GAA Handball.

Thanks to our own two senior players, Aoife and Robbie, for taking the time to support the very players who look up to them. Two minutes of their time playing ball or chatting meant the world to some of our young players.

With lots of memories made and some new friendships formed, we want to thank the players, parents and coaches for supporting the blitz - we hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!

Congratulations to all players but as special mention to our very own Enrico Patrizi and Conor Matthews who performed amazingly on the day to reach the U13 final. Although they bowed out to Kildare on a scoreline of 21-16 in the final, the shot of the day was Conor’s first competitive rollout kill.

Enrico was nominated male sports player of the tournament for his sportsmanship by Leinster Coaching Officer, Billy Love and we also had Darragh Hannon who placed third in the U13 skills and Mark Barry who placed third in the U15 skills.

We had Adam Hannon and Ziva Patrizi receive the Host club Juvenile Volunteer of the Blitz awards for all their assistance with everything leading up to and on the day. Congratulations and well done to our young players, you should all be very proud of yourselves.

Congratulations to Robbie McCarthy Snr who was crowned All-Ireland WallBall Champion last weekend. Robbie travelled to Roscommon on Saturday of last week to compete the All-Ireland finals weekend. Having defeated John Herlihy of Cork on a scoreline of 15-1, 15-4, Robbie was crowned All-Ireland Champion once again.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Aoife McCarthy who was narrowly defeated by Cork’s Catriona Casey, missing out on a tiebreaker with a second game score of 15-14 in the Ladies Open.

Golden Gloves

Wishing Robbie McCarthy Junior and Aoife McCarthy as they kick off their 40x20 season with a trip to Belfast for the annual Golden Gloves Senior ranking tournament. We’re sure they will do us proud as always!