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Ó Tuama: 'Behind-the-scenes crew helping make Gloves a success'

Golden Gloves Tournament Director Séamus Ó Tuama has paid tribute to the volunteers who have done so much behind the scenes to turn the annual Belfast event into the best club-run tournament in the country – and possibly even the world.

The ‘Gloves’ started decades ago as a much smaller event but has grown hugely over the years and is at full capacity this year, which Ó Tuama sees as a real vote of confidence from players around the country.

Given the cost of travel and accommodation at present, the record 205 entries is even more remarkable and, he said, hasn’t come about by accident.

“We’re just really, really excited. We’re building back better since Covid and this year we’ve broken the 200 mark for the first time ever in the history of the tournament which is very, very exciting,” ‘Socket’ told Kill Shot.

“It brings its own challenges but we have a fantastic organising team, spearheaded by Paul Graham who has been working wonders for Antrim handball for the last two to three years, from schools development to juvenile club development and of course the GG.

“Charly Shanks has got involved on the technological side of it and has been brilliant and Sean Digney looks after the financial side of it and makes sure everything is right and well organised and the entires are coming in and everybody is propoerly categorised and organised.

“Aisling Reilly is a big help as well and then of course we’ve got the volunteers from our local clubs involved in refereeing and managing all the sites over the weekend, they’re all primed and ready to go.”

Is the Golden Gloves the best tournament in the country?

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The tournament will utilise five venues across the city.

“Every court in Belfast is going to be action-packed from early Friday evening to late Sunday evening, particularly this year given the amount of players involved. We are really, really excited about it, we’re looking forward to it.

“Preparation is everything and no stone has been left unturned by the team in ensuring that players will be taken care of, courts will be ready and everything will run on time as best as possible. We feel we’re ready to go, we’ve got great experience of running it over the last few years.

“Breaking the 200 mark is great cause for celebration, I think we’ve got 25 or 26 different counties represented plus one player [Californian Loren Collado] coming across the pond from the States as well.”

Action serves off on Friday evening.

To purchase playing gloves in advance of the event, click here.

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