By Dónal Doyle


St Martin’s Handball Club was founded in 1983. Francis Maddock and Jimmy O’ Brien were the main organisers in the early years. The first tournament at St Martin’s community centre attracted over eighty entries. Several league, junior and intermediate county titles were won in the intervening years.

Our members have taken a number of All-Ireland titles. James Bergin and James Doyle won the U-21 doubles in 1998. In 2007 Tadhg Foran and Nick Curran won the Silver All- Ireland Masters. Tom Donoghue and Tommy Rossiter won the Diamond All- Ireland Masters in the same year.

Prior to the founding of the club in 1983, handball was played at various locations in the parish. The Drinagh Chapel alley, with its excellent clay floor and historic surroundings, was renowned at the beginning of the last century. Patron day in Drinagh was on 29 June every year and the occasion attracted very large crowds. An annual handball tournament was held on the day and the substantial monetary prizes generated enormous interest.


Drinagh Chapel handball alley  

Kilmacree Alley was another significant venue in the same era. The magnificent alley here was refurbished in the 1950s and was the centre for the sport within the parish until recently.


Kilmacree Handball Alley  

St Martin’s Handball Club is thriving and is constantly looking for new members to re-invigorate the ancient game.