Lung-busting action: Handball hits Mid-Ulster

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Fancy getting fit and playing a team sport this spring? Olympic Handball could be for you!

It’s not the Irish against a wall version, but is the third most played team sport in Europe and is a fast moving, skilful contact game.

Newry Hockey

Newry Hockey

It’s played professionally in front of packed out arenas throughout mainland Europe and came to the attention of many people through the London Olympics in 2012.

It is seven-a-side, with six outfield players and a goalkeeper and has a lot of transferable skills with football, basketball, rugby, gaelic football, hockey, netball etc. Basically, the team who scores the most goals by throwing the ball into the opposition net wins.

Players can carry the ball for three steps before having to dribble by bouncing the ball, similar to basketball and the ball is slightly smaller than a football. The goals are similar in size to a hockey goal on an indoor pitch a little larger than a basketball court leading to very fast paced high scoring games.

The game is played by men and women and is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and Ireland. Since last summer’s Olympics a club has started in Belfast with another currently being developed in Coleraine.

Now the sport is coming to Mid-Ulster, with four free taster sessions organised at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt. The first one is this Friday at 9pm and is open to anyone who fancies trying their hand at a new sport or even just as a fun way of getting fit.

The organisers are hoping to develop a team from the taster sessions and it’s a chance to be a part of an exciting new sport in the area. You can contact Niall O’Neill on 07845 503004 irishkid@hotmail.fr or Patrick Cullen on 07428 387450 or patrick.cullen89@gmail.com .