St Brigid's 10th Memorial Julie Long/Shay O'Reilly Tournamen 2017-06-11 17:06:00

St Brigid’s 10th Memorial Julie Long/Shay O’Reilly Tournament

On last Saturday 10th June 2017, St Brigid’s GAA Club held a hugely successful 10th aniversary tournament to remember and honour two of its past handballing heros – Julie Long and Shay O’Reilly. Players and coaches from as far away as Ballymote and Belfast gathered to witness an outstanding handball doubles competition, an exhibition match between two of Ireland’s finest young 1-wall talents and an after-party which proved a great occasion for contempories of Julie and Shay to recall their exploits and fun times.

Julie Behan (Long) (17th June 1980- 4th March 2007) was an incredibly talented young handballer from Blanchardstown who developed her skills in St Brigid’s GAA Club courts. Her success in 1993 in the U-14 Irish singles proved an early indicator of her prowess. In 1995 she swept the boards in taking U-16 titles in Ireland and the United States and she was awarded Ireland’s Young Player of the Year Award. 1997 proved another outstanding year as she again annexed titles in Ireland and the US together with U-17 European 1-wall and World 40x20 events. Her skills, successes and larger-than-life personality resulted in her passing being mourned by handball communities from all parts of Ireland.

Julie’s success and that of many of her friends was testimony to the commitment of Shay O’Reilly who brought them to St Brigid’s handball courts several times a week and who drove them all over Ireland to take part in provincial and All-Ireland competitions. In spite of health difficulties his dedication, energy and generosity of spirit in advancing ladies handball knew no bounds and he was the Leinster representative on the Irish Ladies Handball Council for many years. His contributions were recognised nationally when the Minister of Sport Dr Jim McDaid presented him with his Waterford Crystal Coach of the Year award. The day before he passed away was fully spent at handball matches supporting his young female players.

Julie’s achievements were complemented by successes at national level by such as Audrey McCormack and Sabrina Hughes, just some of Julie’s wide circle of friends who so successfully organised Saturday’s Memorial Tournament. The events began just after midday with a very competitive series of doubles matches over three grades, involving players of all ages ranging from the teens to the 70s. Players and spectators were sustained throughout the day by a bountiful spread of food organised by Julie’s great friends, Joanne McAndrew and Maria McCarthy. Games were played on the St Brigid’s indoor handball courts, the winners of the A, B and C grades were respectively Terry McElvaney and Cian O’Dalaigh, Sabrina Hughes and Eddie McCavitt and Joanne McAndrew and Dara Cloake.

St Brigids GAA Club,
Russell Park, Navan Road, Dublin 15