Abbeylara Handball Club
Abbeylara Handball Club has been serving the North Longford community since 1924 but in 1997 the Abbeylara Handball Club was rejuvenated after the complete refurbishment of the existing handball alley in the Village. This project was undertaken by a host of volunteers from the parish. The site was originally donated by Crawford family when the main wall and side walls were built in 1924 by voluntary labour. The dimensions of the stone Handball Alley are as follows:
Height of main wall: 24′
Width of main wall:30′
Length of side walls: 36′
From the it’s re-emergence in 1997, the club has developed at a astronomical rate and are now an All-Ireland winning club. In recent years the club have built a brand new state of the art Handball Complex. The ambitious project began in July 2004 and consists of one 40×20 and one 60×30 court, with a large viewing area, as well as a meeting room, kitchen, shower and changing facilities. The vast majority of the funding for this project was generated by the monster draw with further funding from grants, sponsorship from local businesses and Abbeylara descendants living abroad.
Prior to the development of this great facility, the club have staged hugely successfully 1 Wall Tournaments in the Handball Alley, most notably the now annual Abbeylara 1 Wall Tournament featuring the John Carthy Memorial Cup which attracts competitors from all over the country in late summer. More recently, the Club has staged the 2012 60×30 All Ireland Championship Finals in the new Handball Complex, which was a massive statement of how far the club have come in such a short time.
Year on year, Abbeylara Handball Club has seen an increasing number of Players join the club and are now producing some of the best underage and senior talent in Ireland. For a club of Abbeylara’s size, this is a truly great achievement. This level of success is in no small part down to the dedication of the Abbeylara Parish Development association and the individuals who manage the club and coach the players, most notably Club Secretary Anna O’Reilly and Handball Coach, U.S. Handball Champion Eugene O’Reilly. Their continued commitment along with the new handball, sports and social centre will insure that local handballers have top facilities on hand to develop and master the art of handball for years to come.
Pictures from the 2012 1 Wall All Ireland Handball Championships hosted in Abbeylara GAA Club: