Pakie's All-Ireland handball success extends family's impressive record

Two All-Ireland handball championships won recently by a Clonmel handballer have extended the family's honours in the sport to an incredible 27 All-Irelands.

Two All-Ireland handball championships won recently by a Clonmel handballer have extended the family's honours in the sport to an incredible 27 All-Irelands.

Pakie Mullins won the All-Ireland Masters Singles and Doubles to bring his own career haul to 19 titles. And Pakie, who turned 61 in November, says he has no intention of retiring, as he intends to keep playing and give it his best shot again next season.

He teamed up with his brother Billy to win the 60 x 30 doubles crown. The final, played at Talbot's Inch in Kilkenny, proved a real family affair, as they beat the Ryan brothers from Carlow by 21-12 and 21-8.

Another Leinster player, Paddy Reilly from Kilkenny, provided the opposition in the 60 x 30 Masters Singles Final in St. Augustine's College in Dungarvan, a contest that Packie won by 21-19 and 21-6.

Two other Mullins brothers, Jimmy and Kevin, have also enjoyed success at All-Ireland level. Jimmy also combined with Pakie's son Paul to win the national junior doubles title.

The Mullins brothers were reared in Albert Street and honed their skills at the nearby ball alley at the rear of what is now the Griddle Bakery in Irishtown.

Pakie, who now lives in Sweet Briar in Thomas Street, won some of his All-Irelands in the company of some other well-known players including locals Tom Morrissey, Eddie Farrell, Sean Doyle, Ken Conway, Noel O'Brien and Billy McCarthy, as well as Jim Ryan from Silvermines.

He won the All-Ireland Junior title to graduate to the Senior ranks in 1981 and another career highlight came when he lifted the senior inter-club crown in the company of Tom Morrissey, Billy Mackey and Eddie Farrell.

At present Pakie plays twice a week at the alley at the GAA Sportsfield, but come competition time will step up his training and preparation to three and four weekly sessions.