Kilglass Gaels Handball Club celebrates 10 years in 2022.

On February 3rd, 2012 a meeting was held in the Clubhouse to explore the possibility of establishing a handball club in Kilglass. With no major tradition of closed alley handball in the parish, it was proposed that Kilglass Handball Club be formed with the creation of 3 Wall-Ball (One-Wall) Alleys in the Sportshall. The result of this 1st meeting was the foundation of Kilglass Handball Club, and the first elected Officers of this Club were:

Chairperson: Anthony Mahady
Secretary: Eddie Conboy
Treasurer: Leo Cox
PRO: Niall Kilcrann
Co. Delegate: Johnny McHugh

A plan of action was agreed with the aim to promote Handball in Kilglass, develop players, coaches and, of course, encourage others to get involved. The first get-together session was held on Sunday Feb 19th at 6pm in the Kilglass Gaels sports hall.

However, it is in the past four years that Kilglass Handball Club has flourished. Since 2020, 21 titles have been brought home, including our first Provincial and National honours. Club membership is at its highest number ever, consisting of almost 30 players-Adults & Juveniles. Kilglass players are getting regular games with players from neighbouring clubs in Co. Roscommon, Co. Leitrim & Co. Longford in Wall-Ball, 40×20 and 60×30 codes.

The Club has developed massively since its formation 10 years ago, and with a club structure fully functioning, the youth coaching programme was further developed with coaching being provided on a weekly basis. In addition our facilities are regarded as one of the finest for One-Wall competitions in the country having been chosen to host the All Ireland Wall-Ball Championships in 2018 and as a training base for team Ireland prior to the 2018 World Handball Championships in Minnesota.

The Roscommon Sports Partnership recently ran a hugely successful “Introduction to Handball’’ Programme which facilitated just under 20 juveniles playing Handball every Thursday evening. The four week programme, held in Kilglass Sportshall, was led by Damien Martin and Roscommon Handball star Fiona Tully who both shared their invaluable experience with the youngsters.

In July 2022, Kilglass Handball Club will co-host the biggest event on the Irish Handball calendar, the 2022 Wall-Ball Nationals. With its usual home of Breaffy House out of action it was decided to take the Onewall Nationals back to Roscommon, where they started in 1997.

Playing History
History was made in April 2012 when Kilglass Handball Club took to the competition courts for the first time. The Club didn’t have to wait long for success, as Adam Coggeran and Thomas Mahady won the U-11 40×20 Doubles Co. Final, the club’s first County Title. The duo went on to represent Roscommon in the Connacht Final, where they went down to Mayo after a tough battle.

Ireland held the World Handball Championships in October 2012, and the huge success of these games saw a resurgence in the interest of Handball nationally. Throughout 2012 boys and girls from the Club gave excellent accounts of themselves in numerous One-Wall and 40×20 juvenile blitzes, with the standard of players from a Club less than a year in existence, impressing Handball observers in both Roscommon and Connacht.

2013 was the first year the club took part in the adult “small court” championship, having only played One-Wall in 2012. In January, John Coggeran reached the Men’s 40×20 County Final. John put in a great performance but eventually lost in a tiebreaker.

A second & third wall were added in 2013 as Kilglass was the venue for the inaugural Roscommon Colleges One-Wall Handball blitz. It was the first time Kilglass had got the opportunity to showcase the wonderful facility at county level. The hugely successful event was contested by 1st and 2nd year students from secondary schools in Roscommon Town, Elphin and Strokestown.

In 2015 Eddie Conboy won the first Adult County Title for the club when he claimed the Roscommon One-Wall championship in Mount Talbot. Eddie went all the way to the Connacht Final where he was unlucky to lose out after a thrilling battle. More County Titles and Connacht Final appearances followed in 2017, 2018 & 2019 with Natasha Mahady, Eddie Conboy, John Coggeran & Dermot Washington all falling short in provincial OneWall deciders.

Kilglass Handballers had a short but successful 2020 until the Covid-19 pandemic stopped us in our tracks. However, it was to be the year that Kilglass Handballers really began to make their mark, not just in OneWall but also in the 40×20 and 60×30 games.

John and David Coggeran claimed three 40×20 County titles. John won the Over-40s County Final before being unlucky to lose out in the Connacht Final to a Galway opponent in 2 games. David Coggeran went even closer in the Junior B Singles. A great win in the County final was followed up with another impressive win in the Connacht semi-final. In an exciting Connacht Final, David fell just short, losing out in a tie breaker.

John and David then combined in the Junior B Doubles and won the Roscommon title.

Alanna Coggeran continued her dramatic rise by winning her first U15 County 60×30 title, the first 60×30 Title for the club. An impressive win in the Connacht semi-final saw her reach the Connacht Final against the experienced Karly Cooney from Sligo. Unfortunately, Karly proved too strong for Alanna on the day.

John and Alanna did eventually claim the provincial honours they deserved when they won the Cully One Wall Tournament. This was to be the last handball played in 2020.

2021 was the most successful year for the club to date as Kilglass won 8x titles.

When action got back underway in June when the Club had 7 players enter the County Onewall Championship, staged in Mount Talbot. First up was John Coggeran, who won the Master’s County title. David Coggeran followed up his brother’s success by winning the Men’s B title. New member Fionn Cusack then claimed the Men’s A competition. The historic day was brought to a close by Thomas Mahady, who won his County Title in the Men’s C. Alanna Coggeran fell just short in the U17 Girls Final.

In October, John and Alanna were unstoppable as they teamed up to win the very competitive Abbeylara Doubles Competition.

The Tourmakeady Onewall Tournament took place in November and Kilglass took home 3x titles. Alanna was flawless on the day as she comprehensively won the Ladies Cup. She followed up that win in style by also claiming the Doubles competition. Eddie Conboy was the winner of the Men’s Cup, deservingly winning a hard-fought battle in a thrilling final.

The club began its 10th year in existence in style as Alanna Coggeran added more silverware to her rapidly growing collection as she claimed the u-17 Ladies Plate at the She’s Ace Competition in Tyrone.

John & David Coggeran teamed up to win the Club’s first Provincial Title in March when they won the Master’s B Connacht Championship. The dynamic duo were unlucky to lose to the eventual All Ireland Champions in the semi final, which lasted almost 90 minutes.

More history was made in May, when Alanna Coggeran won the Club’s first ever National Title when she won the 40×20 Girls u17B at the Junior Nationals in Tyrone. On a historic day, all Alanna’s hard work was rewarded with a tremendous 15-13.15-6 against Karly Cooney from Sligo.

John & Alanna Coggeran prepared for the 2022 OneWall Nationals by winning titles in Killarney, Annaghdown and Inis Mor.

Thank you to our sponsors Wash Fitness (Dermot Washington) and McWeeney Coaches for their generous donations in 2022. Their sponsorship is greatly appreciated.