Loughmacrory GAA Handball Club will play host to over 180 students from schools right across the province at the first “She’s Ace GAA Handball Conference”.
The event being organised by Ulster GAA and funded by the ‘Department for Communities’ will have Ladies Open Stars Fiona Shannon and Lorraine Havern on site as part of a vastly experienced team of people presenting various workshops over the course of the day.
Lorraine Havern, the current Irish Nationals Ladies Open Wallball Champion, is excited by this latest promotional endeavour and certainly sees a very bright future for the ladies game.
Tell us about your experience of GAA Handball and why you think young girls from across the province should be thinking of getting involved?
I got involved in handball when I was 12 years old and from there it opened up so many doors for me. I got to travel all around the world playing handball and making many good friends along the way. I think GAA Handball is great for young girls, it’s great for building confidence as you can participate at any age and any level.
You have won the Irish nationals wallball open title now 4 times. Tell us about wallball, its growth and about the tournaments and events staged in it every year?
In the last number of years I have personally found the Irish nationals has grown dramatically, its the most popular tournament and a great all round family event. Yes I have won the nationals 4 times and have my sights set on winning the nationals again this year, along with the Ulster Onewall and the Loughmacrory Showdown – both these tournaments are growing in numbers showing the progression of the number of young people playing Wallball in the province.
The sport is played at international level and world championships will be staged again in 2018 in USA- tell us about how the sport is advancing at international level and what female players are emerging to challenge now for top honours?
Yes I am looking forward to the World championships in the US. Handball as a whole has come on leaps and bounds, new countries are now emerging onto the scene and it’s a great celebration for everyone to come together and play for the most prestigious title possible in our sport. There is quite a lot of young female players making their way up the ranks.
Ones to look out for are Megan McCann from Armagh and Mairead Fox from Tyrone.
This event is to boost ladies handball in Ulster – what would you say to any girls about getting involved and what they could benefit from Fridays She’s Ace event?
In the last number of years I have really noticed a great increase in female handball players, a lot more than when I started and I feel it’s a great way to keep active and to socialise
In terms of handball facilities around the province the event is being stage in a new purpose built one wall arena in loughmacrory. What is your thoughts on this venue and in one wall courts generally going up around the province?
Loughmacrory is a great venue for one-wall courts, they are very different and definitely the way forward as in terms of accessibility – out in the open for people to see and to easy to pick up a ball and get involved. Recently in my own club we have erected two new Onewall courts which have generated a lot of interest from our younger generation, we even have a womens night on a Monday.