31 August 2009

Delvin, Co.Westmeath

Delvin, Co.Westeath
Photographed August 2009, by A.Ryan.
Newly built indoor alley on site of former outdoor alley. Local Authority replaced older alley and adjoining courthouse building with an indoor 20x40 alley, housing and a public space. Alley to be open for use in near future.


Anonymous said...

For many years, the late Paddy O'Shaughnessy ran a very successful tournament in the 60 by 30 alley in Delvin. Sadly, a son of his, who was also a good handball player, died young.

Anonymous said...

Paddy O Shaughnessy was the person warmly regarded as the one to have had most influence in this sport in the village of Delvin. His sons Gus ,PJ, and Brian were accomplished players too.

The annual August 15th Handball tournament went ahead every year under Paddy's direction. Incidentially Paddy was the only man in the world that had won a camogie medal (this medal should be still on view at the family pub on main street just across the street from the now demolished ball alley). This story is authentic and must be researched, to appreciate the irish humour that evolved from this incident ...

I remember as a very young boy, witnessing the erection of a temporary back wall alley made up of wood and plywood. As stated this was temporary in order to facilitate two young promising minor handballers to gain needed experience in back wall handballing, Willie Mullen, and Peter Geelan were about to play in an all IRELAND MINOR SOFTBALL DOUBLES FINAL AT Talbots Inch in Kilkenny and thus needed the experience of playing in what was then known as "the box alley", as this temporary arrangement was coming to fruition, the need arose for a temporary stand to be erected also.

Money was scarce in Delvin in this year of 1958, and we were light years away from the arrival of the celtic tiger ...Paddy was building a new house across the street from the ball alley and as such had ample supply of old planks which it was thought by all to be the answer to the erection of the temporary viewing stand...

The planks were transported across the street to the ballalley, and thus commenced the erection of the viewing stand under Paddys supervision, with local free labour, and no union or overtime wages to contend with. The stand was soon erected and given the blessing of all the locals and thus Paddy would greet the local people and with a wink of the eye would marvel at the new found facility.

Great anticipation in the locality and the opening of the new stand was being hailed as a masterpiece of engineering. Suddenly there was the sound of cracking and all a one the new stand and all its inhabitants came crashing to the ground. Luckily no injuries were reported and all was well. The collapse of the stand was the catalyst in the erection of a brand new solid stand that served the people for almost sixty years after.

Incidentally, Willie Mullin and Peter Geelan did win this All Ireland in Talbot's Inch in Kilkenny. this was in August 1958.

Joe Sherwin

Post a Comment