Kilkenny has a long history with the GAA, we all know that. Very often we focus on the huge success we have had on a grass pitch. However, on the pitch we also experienced the euphoria of All Ireland’s success.
Most of these successes have come from the hands of Ducksie Walsh. Whether in singles or doubles, Ducksie was indeed a champion of the sport in Kilkenny and beyond. Even until his untimely passing in 2016, he was competing at the top of his game.
Someone who keeps up the winning tradition in Marble City is Paddy Delaney. Paddy has been back in training for the past two years, and it seems all that training has paid off. No doubt on his mantle spot is both a County and Leinster winners medal, an achievement he can certainly be proud of.
“I won County and Leinster with some good games to play. I did well so I’m quite happy with it. I offered my opponent two extra weeks because he had covid at the time but had to make the home venue play. He came down from Kildare, so fair play for him. I beat him, it was a great game, so I’m glad I came out on top.
“I started tipping and getting the kids involved. Got the love and bug for it again. The competitions started coming, and I said I’ll give it a try. I didn’t know how far the road was going to be. It went further than I expected. »
“I like coaching young people. It’s just about getting them. It would be great to see them happen, it’s all about the future.
Frank Manogue works with the county council to promote the sport and maintain a treadmill of talent in the county. This can be difficult given the amount of field sports handball competes against, however, Frank believes some skills are transferable;
“I am the County Council Juvenile Constable, in this position since the start of this year. There is a great desire to get back into it and continue the games. When the pandemic hit, we were at various final stages in so many different age groups. They did them as soon as the restrictions were lifted, so it had no impact on the 2022 season.”
“Handball is one of our national sports. It would be great to see more coverage of it. It’s an indoor sport, so in the winter it’s great when you can’t get out on the pitch. Endless handball compliments. We had four players in the U20 team who are good handball players.
“You see the skills of someone like Billy Drennan, not to say it all comes from handball, but you can see that touch.”
From a club perspective, Kilkenny has 10 registered clubs according to Kilkennygaa.ie. These clubs serve varying amounts of members. From the O’Loughlin Gaels perspective, John Morrissey gave us insight into how the club has bounced back from the pandemic;
“The rivalry in handball is probably not the same in the sense that it is in hurling. We all shoot at once. We represent Kilkenny at the end of the day.
“We are very strong at the minute however, at O’Loughlins we have had 40 returning juveniles since October and almost 50 adults. We are still a little below where we were a few years ago. Some are a bit afraid to go inside, but please God, in the near future we will bring them back again.
Paddy Grogan Memorial Invitational Tournament
Elsewhere, the top 6 boys and girls Under-18 and Under-16 players have been selected to take part in the Paddy Grogan Memorial Invitational Tournament taking place in Tyrone. In total, these are nine Kilkenny players selected out of a total of 24 players from across the country. Good luck to all participants
Amy Brennan (Clogh)
Una Duggan (Galmoy)
Anthony Clifford (inch Talbots
Noé Manogue (O’Loughlin Gaels)
Listen to Paddy, John and Frank’s full interview on Scoreline Extra below: