Thursday, June 16, 2022

THE John West GAA Handball Féile na nGael 2022 is being held across Laois, Kilkenny and Carlow this weekend with over 60 club teams and approximately 320 players from every corner of the country taking part.

The national and local Féile committees are delighted with the high entry numbers for this year’s Féíle, across all the codes of handball (40×20, 60×30 and Wall-ball), especially considering the backdrop of the serious disruption to handball over the previous two years due to Covid-19 restrictions.

This is one of the highlight events for the GAA, as it provides a platform for players, both male and female, to showcase their talents at a national level. Laois are presented by three clubs in this year’s Féile na nGael with the action commencing on Saturday at 10am in venues right across the three host counties.

Prior to the start of the competition in Laois venues, all players, mentors and coaches will take part in Féile na nGael parades with GAA Handball president Dessie Keegan and Laois GAA Handball Chairperson Joe Brennan leading the parade in Ballacolla on Saturday morning at 9.30am. Meanwhile. Ger Dunne of the Killeshin Pipe Band will lead out the parade to St Brigid’s Handball Club starting at St Abban’s Athletic Club also for 9.30am.

Laois teams in Action:

In the Girls 40×20 Division 2, Cullohill HBC will have the benefit of home court advantage when they face off against very strong opposition in Breacach (Tyrone), Inis Oírr (Galway), Toonagh (Clare) and Mícheál Breathnach (Galway). This division promises to be keenly contested as each of the clubs involved have players of a very high calibre to draw upon. Cullohill will be hoping to go one step further than in 2019, when both their girls’ teams performed brilliantly to reach the division 1 and division 3 plate finals only the narrowly lose out to Garryhill (Carlow) and Annaghdown (Galway) in their respective finals.

The Cullohill boys have been placed in division 5 and the team will travel to Borris, Co. Carlow where they face Mallow (Cork), Conna (Cork) and Mícheál Breathnach (Galway). Cullohill have enjoyed recent success in the boys’ divisions at the Féile with their teams winning division 3 in 2017 and division 4 in 2018. Hopefully the Cullohill side of 2022 can perform to their potential this weekend and challenge their Munster and Connaught opponents for the division 5 title.

St. Brigid’s, Monavea have entered two boys teams in this year’s Féile. Juvenile handball has made a resurgence in the club of late, and both teams will be optimistic of giving a good account of themselves in their respective divisions. St. Brigid’s A team travel to Tinryland, Co. Carlow where they will play in division 6 against Corduff (Monaghan), Ballydesmond (Cork) and Nenagh (Tipperary). St. Brigid’s B team will enjoy home advantage in a very competitive division 7 with games against Clonduff (Down), Kells (Meath), Maynooth (Kildare) and Abbeyside (Waterford) to look forward to. St. Brigid’s last Féile division title was in 2001 when their team captured the division 3 title, so both teams will be hoping to bridge a gap of over 20 years this weekend.

Clough Ballacolla have proven themselves to be a powerhouse in Wall-ball handball at juvenile level and along with Cullohill will share hosting duties for all of the Wall-Ball action at this year’s Féile. Clough Ballacolla’s boys’ team go into this year’s competition aiming to complete a remarkable three in a row having captured the previous two Division 1 Wall-Ball titles in 2018 and 2019. If they are to achieve the three in a row, they will need to overcome strong opposition in Clann Eireann (Armagh), Laochra Láimhe na Modhscoile (Limerick), Naomh Eanna (Antrim) and Abbeylara (Longford).

The Clough Ballacolla girls’ team were very unfortunate in 2019 not to come away with the division 1 title. This year’s side will be hoping to make home court advantage count when they face off against Abbeylara (Longford), Kilfane (Kilkenny), Clann Eireann (Armagh) and Laochra Láimhe na Modhscoile (Limerick) in a highly competitive division.

Laois GAA handball wish all the players taking part this weekend every success in their games. We hope that this year’s Féile na nGael proves an enjoyable and memorable experience for all those taking part. Laois GAA Handball would also like to thank the mentor and coaches in each of the clubs for all of their hard work and commitment in preparing the girls and boys for this year’s Féile na nGael.

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