Killala Handball Club in Co. Mayo
Killala Handball Club was formed in 1963. The youngsters of Killala then played handball on the streets and it was decided to build an Alley. The youth of Killala funded the building of the Alley by paying a sum of money each week. They also held dances and marquees.
In the early 80’s, boys and girls from Killala won gold, silver and bronze medals in Community Games Handball. They also took part in the Tailteann Games. Some of their senior players also took All-Ireland medals during that time.
It lapsed for a few years then, until a FÁS Scheme in 1994 employed two coaches – Michael McHale and David O’Hara and it was then that the club really took off.
In 1996, the club made a breakthrough in Connacht handball with boys taking gold and silver in under-15’s, 16’s and 17’s. Also that year, Killala had under-15 boys and girls teams representing Mayo in Community Games.
In 1998, Lorraine McHale and Rachel Taheny won gold in the All-Ireland juvenile Championships. In 1999, Helen Cooney took gold in the All-Ireland juvenile Championships and the under-13 boys and girls teams took silver medals in the Community Games.
In 2000, Olivia Kilbane took gold in the Colleges All-Ireland Championship under-13. In 2001, Lorraine McHale and Noelle Ruddy took gold in the All-Ireland juvenile Championships and the under-13 boys got certificates in Community Games.
Over the intervening years Killala have had numerous All-Ireland silver and bronze winners as well as Mayo and Connacht gold, silver and bronze winners.
There are over 50 juvenile members in the club, ranging from ages 8 to 18 and there are at least 20 adult members. For such a small club, Killala handballers are an exceptional group of people. The steering committee is made up of parents of juvenile members.