Coaching is key to get to next level
Coaching was the key to success in handball and more needed to be done to bring young players on the next level.
That was the message delivered to the annual GAA Convention by the Secretary of the Handball Board, Michael McGee. Recalling a highly successful year for handball in the county, the Secretary highlighted a number of outstanding achievements.
Aoife Quinn won a national title, Castleconnor were the Connacht inter-club 60 x 30 champions, Gerry Coleman won three medals at the World Police and Fire Games and the legendary Paddy Walsh won yet another national tlte. The county won seven Connacht titles and one All Ireland title at adult level.
Sligo won nine Connacht juvenile titles, including an historic first Irish national girls Under 15 title.
"With the added bonus of new facilities coming on stream in the near future, things will improve greatly," the Secretary predicted.
"All of our players are well capable of winning Connacht titles and with a little better preparation more All-Ireland titles will come to Sligo in the future"
It was also a year of notable progress in terms of development. Work had commenced on the Collooney 40 x 20 project.
"Even in these difficult times, the club has steadfastly carried on with the project and the fruits of their labour will be there for all to see when the court is up and running", said Mr. McGee.
Great improvements had taken place at the Castelconnor 40 x 20 court and Ballymote had planning permission for a new 40 x 20 court. The Secretary pointed out that Ballymote, Castleconnor and Collooney all had juvenile sections in their clubs.
"With top coaches in these clubs, the game will continue to strive in the years ahead," he said.
"Getting a consistent number of players up to the 'A' standards each year has to be the goal of the County Board. With time, patience, dedication and willing coaching officers on board, this will happen," he added.
The Secretary paid a special tribute to Paddy Walsh, describing him as a 'living legend'.
Paddy won Sligo's only All Ireland title at adult level in 2013 and was honoured with a Civic Reception by the Mayor in recognition of his outstanding career.
He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sligo Champion Club All Stars banquet.
"Paddy's exploits should inspire us all to do the very best we can to bring further honour to Sligo," said Mr. McGee.