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Paddy Collins, chairman of Ballina Handball Club. Photograph by John Kelly

Lifesaving addition to Ballina Handball Club

Ballina Handball Club has installed a new defibrillator costing an estimated €1,600 on the outside wall of their handball alley for the benefit of the club and residents.
This latest initiative is part of the club’s drive to increase the provision of facilities for the benefit of the local national school and the local community.
The first part of this drive was the introduction of dads and lads as well as mothers and others in the handball alley to encourage people to engage in a fun physical exercise without the commitment of training for or entering a competition.
This started about three weeks ago and already it is proving very popular with people who never played handball previously.
Teaming up with Defibs for Life in Nenagh, the club contacted this organisation who was delighted to supply a defibrillator on the proviso they would receive a donation.
Club Chairman, Paddy Collins explained a defibrillator is essential for a club and the local community.
“Before the club installed a new defibrillator, the nearest one to thousands of people would have been the one located in McKeogh’s Hardware.
“The new defibrillator can be used by the club during matches and training, if it is needed, and for any resident.
“Defibs for Life in Nenagh provided us with an excellent training course, which was completed by 16 club members and residents. Even Andy Meek from ASecure who fitted the defibrillator free of charge also competed the course. He is living a few doors away from the handball alley.
“He is very good to support community facilities. Defibs for Life in Nenagh works based on donations. Ballina National School will run a no-uniform fundraising day for the club at Easter and all funds will be given to Defibs for Life as well as a club donation.
“The new defibrillator will be a great addition to the local community. The club has organised for everyone in Ballina NS to do the training course including staff and children.
“Ballina NS has a defibrillator that is locked inside the school. This training course will make everyone aware of what the defibrillator is used for,” he explained.
The club has also co-ordinated a visit from the Dillon Quirke Foundation in association with the local GAA club where a nurse and a doctor complete a medical check on children aged 12 years and older in Ballina National School in the coming months.
“The club is anxious to include the local community in everything we do. We are working with the local community and the local national school all the time.
“Every Monday, school children come up to the handball alley for their physical education. All the school teachers have completed a handball coaching course. We are very interactive with the school and the community.
“Some children don’t like contact sports like rugby and Gaelic games. A few children have taken up handball and love it. It is vital that children and teenagers get some form of physical exercise. We want to make handball fun,” he outlined.
Mr Collin’s motto is “handball is a game for life” as children can start from the age of five and continue well into their seventies.
In fact, the chairman is a perfect example of this slogan as he prepares for an All-Ireland doubles 40 by 20 final at the back of the Cusack Stand in Croke Park with Jim Ryan, Nenagh against reigning champions for the last few years, Eugene Kennedy and Ned Flynn.
The Tipperary duo got pipped in a tiebreak last year following a two and a hour battle with the same Dublin pair.
Last year, Mr Collins and Ger McKeogh won the 60 by 30 doubles All-Ireland handball title and had two runners-up medals in the 40 by 20 and singles.
The World Handball Championships one wall takes places at the University of Limerick next August, which promises to be a major event.

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