A few surprise results point to the openness of many grades in the county 4 wall champinships
In a week when covid intervened in a number of games, a total of 16 matches did take place, including three quarter finals in the senior open singles. With top seed Gavin Buggy, St. Mary’s having a first round bye, the other six entrants were all in action this weekend.
Many eyes were on the returning 2018 and 2019 champion Galen Riordan and the Ballyhogue man did not disappoint as he produced a masterful performance to see off the challenge of the promising Adam Walsh, St. Mary’s on a scoreline of 21-13, 21-8. After taking a sabbatical from the game for two years and losing his top seed position as a result, he now faces Gavin Buggy in what should be a fascinating semi final. Second seed Tommy Hynes, St. Mary’s is also safely through to the last four, but he had to overcome an early deficit against Josh Kavanagh, St. Josephs, before costing home 21-11, 21-12. He will now take on Mark Doyle, Taghmon, after the youngest player in the grade confirmed his promise and progress by seeing off the challenge of intermediate player Paul Lambert, St. Mary’s 21-14, 21-16.
Elsewhere, the ‘big hitters’ in junior B flexed their muscles, with both Michéal Busher, Bridgetown, a 21-2, 21-5 winner over David Doyle, Castlebridge and David Stanners, St. Martins, who defeated Dean O’Neill, Ballymitty 21-9, 21-3, both displaying good early form. The slight surprise of the round was the defeat of the fancied Robert Byrne, Bridgetown who went out to the always difficult to beat Fergal McWilliams, Horeswood. The winning margin was 16-21, 21-18, 21-14 in a very competitive encounter and in this form McWilliams will fancy his chances against anyone.
Junior C is another tough grade in Wexford and here Jack Roche, Bridgetown produced the shock of the week, when he saw off the challenge of the fancied Laurance Dunne, Kilmyshall in a R16 tie. Both had been away from the game for a period, but while Dunne, a winner of an All Ireland U17D softball title a few years ago would have expected to negotiate this opening hurdle, Roche was in no mood to accommodate him and was full value for his 21-18, 15-21, 21-15 win in a thrilling contest. There was better luck for another All Ireland U17D softball winner Ciaran Power, Coolgreany, however, as he produced a fine display to oust the recent Winter League winner Conor Keeling, St. Josephs, 21-11, 15-21, 21-3
Junior D has a mix of experience and youth, with many of the youngsters taking part while still in the juvenile ranks. For them its a development grade, where they can test themselves against the adult ball and the craft and cunning of older opponents at the same time. The oldest and the youngest in this grade went head to head yesterday evening at Horeswood and youth in the shape of 14 year old Jamie Moran, Templeudigan came out on top against Eamonn Bowe, Davistown. It was a well contested tie and Moran, who has had a difficult few months recently, suffering a fracture to his knee in the county U15 football final as well as needing 18 stitches to his hand following a hurling field accident, can be well satisfied with his 21-16, 21-9 win. Eugene English is another very experienced handballer in this grade and the Ballyhogue man justified his high seeding with a well worked 9-21, 21-12, 21-3 win over Gavin Lacey, Ballymitty.
Masters B singles is often a mini All Ireland in Wexford and this year the field is probably stronger than ever before. Noel Holohan, Templeudigan is making his debut in this grade and his presence raises the stakes for those with title ambitions. He got his campaign underway with a comfortable 21-7, 21-12 win against Conor Keeling, St. Josephs, while Fergal McWilliams, Horeswood began a successful week for himself with a 21-6, 21-18 victory against Colin Redmond, Castlebridge in the same competition.
In golden masters B singles there were wins for Damien Kelly, Coolgreany against Stephen Murphy, Castlebridge and Tommy Armstrong, Kilmyshall over Tomas O’Shea, Davidstown, while in diamond masters B singles Ray Wickham, St. Mary’s continued his winning ways with a comfortable victory over Brendan Murphy, Castlebridge.
To see all the results for the past week click Fixture 1 Results
For upcoming fixtures click Fixture 2