Buggy takes down Riordan in convincing fashion to claim his 15th county senior singles title


When it comes to the Wexford Championships, history and tradition tells the story. Great players such as Ryan, Lyng, Murphy, Buggy, Fleming, Cleary and Hynes, are but a few of the headline names to have added stature to our local competitions over the years and as the decades roll by, our best and most competitive players have ensured the brand that is the Wexford Championships has not diminished one iota. Everbody wants to take part in it and everyone wants to win it. Irrespective of grade or age!

None epitomisies this want more than Gavin Buggy, who, since he arrived on the scene in 1989 as a county juvenile champion, has made taking part in county competitons a personal priority. His presence in the senior grade throughout the years has added value to the event and, when it comes to the 4-wall (40×20) code, he is invarably one of the hardest to beat.     

The recent county senior open singles final played at the new handball arena at Davidstown Courtnacuddy GAA Centre, provided further evidence of his single-mindedess in this regard, as, at the age of 49, he produced one of his very best performances to lower the colours of defending champion Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue and win his 15th county 4-wall (40×20) senior singles title in a final befitting both the occasion and the venue.  

Gavin Buggy, St Mary’s and Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue are with county committee Chairperson Ricky Barron following the senior singles final at Davidstown Courtnacuddy GAA Club

Riordan went into this match as the deserving favourite, having remained unbeaten in Wexford since 2018, when he won his first senior championshp. He successfully defended that the following year and although he was away travelling in both 2020 and 2021, he returned last year to win it for a third time. At 28 years of age and having partnered Buggy to All Ireland senior softball glory last September, if was felt he would only get better, while in Buggy’s case the clock had ticked past 26 years since he’d won his first title at the age of 23, and surely, surely, his best was behind him?

How little do we know!   

In what turned out to be a remarkable clash in many respects, the tie was evenly balanced throughout a hotly contested first game, but after Riordan had called an injury time out at 16-15, it was the persistant Buggy who got the all important points to win the game 21-19, after the scores had been tied at 19-19. It was the outcome that most people felt was needed if Buggy was to remain in contention throughout this final and the accuracy of that assumption was soon evident when a fully recovered Riordan turned on the afterburners in the second game to blitz his way to a 21-4 win and take this final into the trenches. Riordan was now in full flow and while it was never a 21-4 type game, the winning margin was convincing and the signs looked ominious for Buggy as the third got underway.

Signs can be wrong sometimes!

Well, it was the Wexford senior final and the first major event at the packed new GAA Centre at Davidstown Courtnacuddy and, oh yes, prior to the final Buggy had said to this writer “I think there is one more in me”.

Lots of motivation there yes, but really? Against an opponent like Riordan and with 14 senior singles winners medals already on the mantlepiece, and with an age gap of 21 years separating the players, taking this final to a deciding set could already be considered an acheivement. If you were satisified with that of course! 

The third game of this final was close up to the half way point, but with the scores level at 11-11 it was Buggy who pushed for home. Try as he might, Riordan had been unable to wrest control of this match in the third set, and with the winning post looming on the horizon, it was the St. Mary’s stalwart who was looking the stronger. From there to the finish we saw Buggy at his very best and he never conceded again on his way to a remarkable 21-11 win.

For Riordan it was a tough defeat to take. He had defended the title with everything he had, but on the night he found in Buggy an opponent whose pursuit of a 15th title was relentless and undeniable. 

In a career laced with many highlights, this may well have been Buggy’s finest hour!