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Second-level Ulster schools to test their skills in one-wall handball blitz days

Tony McGee

FOR the fourth consecutive year, second-level school pupils will be given the chance to test their skills at One-Wall Handball blitz days across Ulster.

Better still, there is a chance the Ulster winners will go on to a shootout with winners from elsewhere in the country: “That is a possibility,” said Shane McCann, the Ulster Council official in charge of the tournaments. w

“Darragh Daly at Croke Park is hoping to organise a similar series of blitz days in and around Dublin and then we could have a north-v-east final.”

Before that, the Ulster pupils will be in action, with schools from all nine counties taking part and there may be room for a few more if any school has missed out on getting in touch with McCann (shane.mccann.ulster@gaa.ie): “Young people are very anxious to become involved in handball and it is great to see so many schools involved in Ulster," he added. 

"These blitz days are open to all second-level schools, boys and girls. The only proviso is that a boy or girl who has won a handball competition, at any level, provincial or national, is ineligible to take part. These blitz days are solely for players, or those who want to become players, who have not had success already. For the good of the tournamants, we want to encourage pupils who are really new to the game and wanting to get experience.

“The blitz days are not really a problem to organise. Most schools are pretty keen to facilitate, allowing their pupils time off to participate. Many schools have a minibus available to transport pupils to sanctioned competitions and the Ulster Council cover all the costs incurred. Schools are limited to entering eight players, so that could mean that they travel in two cars. Venues have been organised as well as possible to cut down on travel.”

Year three and four boys in Six County schools, plus year two and three boys from Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal will have their blitz day during November, with the final of that being staged at St Ciarán's in Ballygawley on November 25. An Ulster final for third and fourth year girls in Six County schools and second and third year Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal girls will be held at Beechill in Monaghan on November 18. There won't be any blitz days for this section. Boys in eighth and ninth year, along with Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal girls in first year only will not be in action until March, with the Ulster final at Holy Trinity, Cookstown on March 24.

Finally, girls in years eight and nine in Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal will play the provincial final at St Joseph's, Coalisland on April 7.

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