The final act of Castleisland Racquetball Club was played out recently, when Tommy Martin presented the closing bank balance of the club account to Pieta House.
“I had very mixed emotions about it all,” said Tommy.
“It was sad to come to the realisation that it was time to wind the club up. While those of us still involved knew it was the correct thing to do, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. What definitely made it easier was the complete agreement of everyone to donate the closing Bank balance to Pieta House.
Top Class Players
“Castleisland Racquetball Club was very strong at one stage, and produced a number of top class players, in particular Con Brosnan, who won numbers of Irish titles, and a European Silver medal. The club was founded in the mid 1970’s when racquetball was introduced to Ireland from the States, and it quickly went from strength to strength. I had great days there, feeding ten penny coins into the light meter and spending hour after hour honing and practicing the skills of the game.
“My Father Joe was a member of Castleisland Handball Club Committee, who generously voted in 1977, to allow the handball court be shared with the burgeoning sport of racquetball. To tease me, he regularly tells me that he had voted against the resolution to facilitate racquetball, but I don’t believe a word of it!
Heyday of the Club
“The heyday of the club was when there were four different divisions based on ability, with very large numbers playing on an on-going basis. I remember being well ensconced in one of the lower divisions, and playing in a tournament, with one player from each division forming a team, playing against similar teams. I won’t name names, but suffice to say, when I dropped a suit into a local dry cleaner who was also a teammate, I was told that if I didn’t win my upcoming game, there might well be a hole in my suit when I called to collect it! I went on to scrape a win, and my suit survived.
“There are a few hardy annuals amongst us who still play racquetball – in Ballymacelligott and Tralee. I enjoy playing very much, and it is a great way to stay fit. The pace of the game is very quick – I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Joe Barry and Mikie Joe Conway
“I like to think that the great people who set the club up initially, and drove it on, such as the late Joe Barry and Mikie Joe Conway, would agree that handing funds over to such a great cause as Pieta House, was the right way to bring the curtain down on what was a very good racquetball club in Castleisland,” said Tommy.
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