Ballincurry Handball Alley opens

Pauline Scott Mayor of Galway Cllr. Seán Canny was in Glinsk on Saturday last to perform the official opening of Ballincurry Handball Alley. Guests were welcomed to the event by Brian Kilcommons, MC for the occasion. He said it was a big day for Glinsk and thanked all the people of Glinsk and surrounding areas who were so generous in terms of collecting money for the new facility. ‘There is one person here and only for his work I don’t think there would be any ball alley here today,’ said Mr. Kilcommons, paying tribute to Michael Hurley, Chairman of Ballincurry Ball Alley Committee and the man who spearheaded the project. He also noted that because of Mr. Hurley’s efforts, a lot of young people are now playing handball once again in Glinsk. Michael Hurley praised the work of the committee, saying that members were very good at selling tickets for socials and raffles. ‘I think it’s five years ago since we started, and signed the contract with Michael Comer and I’m delighted that he’s here today,’ said Mr. Hurley. Mayor of Galway Sean Canny told guests that he had taken a tour of the facility and was gobsmacked by what can be done in a small community. ‘It’s all about people and people working together. This is an example of how a community can work together, fundraising bonds a community together and I am delighted Galway County Council has been active in supporting this, also GRD and the VEC.’ ‘It is some job when you are out raising money, but people are so good and you have the local leadership in Ballincurry, coming from Michael Hurley.’ Former GAA President and current CEO of Galway Vocational Education Committee, Joe McDonagh, began by noting that his father had taught in nearby Sonnagh NS and he recalled names such as Al Mullaney and Michael Egan from is father’s time in Glinsk.  He described the facility as outstanding and praised ‘how a community can place so much faith in itself.’ The tradition of playing handball in Glinsk was referred to by Mr. McDonagh and he mentioned the successes of people like Donnie Dowd, Brian Kilcommons and the late Johnny Lohan and he commented on the wonderful exercise which people get while playing handball. Concluding, he praised the leadership of Michael Hurley and commended all who assisted in terms of dynamism. Miriam Steward of Galway Rural Development praised all involved in the project and said that she had seen the amount of work that went into building the centre and preparing to draw down funding for the project. Sean Duffy, Education Officer with Galway VEC congratulated Michael Hurley and all committee members on their efforts. ‘It is a wonderful achievement to continue the old tradition of handball in this part of the parish,’ said Mr. Duffy.  A number of councillors also addressed the gathering, including Tony Ward, Deputy Mayor of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Michael Connolly, Cllr. Tiarnan Walsh and Cllr. Tom Reilly. Cllr. Tony Ward drew a parallel between the action undertaken in Ballincurry and that which took place almost twenty years ago in Curraghboy, when a new ball alley was constructed. ‘I have to say to Michael and the committee, fair play, I know what it takes being involved in fundraising. You can never say you won’t be back again.’ Concluding, he advised people to use, not abuse the new facility.  Principal of Glinsk NS and Secretary of Glinsk Community Council Martin Ward also spoke. He noted that the original alley was built after people moved to the area from Mount Mary and for the first time in their lives they had some leisure time. ‘They got together with their horses and carts and spades and shovels and it’s great to think that over the last ten or fifteen years that Michael Hurley and his group have been carrying on that tradition.’ He paid tribute to Michael Hurley for the many hours of work that went in behind the scenes.