County adult championship is the jewel in the crown in Wexford

Alley chat with AOB

With over 200 entries in 18 grades the 2019 Wexford county 40×20 adult championship is the biggest and most hotly contested in the country. The battle to win a medal in this most prestigious of domestic competitions begins in late September and concludes its league stages by late December. At that point those with sufficient points get ready for the semi finals and finals in early January, while those who have not made it to the knockout section make their exit having had three months of high intensity handball. Either way the system is meaningful for those who take part and the championship keeps on giving irrespective of grade or age.

Championship Preview 1

Nine go to post for the senior open singles and all of the big names in Wexford handball are in the field.  Last year’s surprise winner Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue will be many peoples favourite to make a successful defense but dangers abound in this top quality lineup.  Chief amongst them will be Gavin Buggy, St. Josephs, a winner of 9 of the previous 12 championships and after his limp performance against clubmate Daniel Kavanagh in last year’s semi final, a man who may feel he still has something to prove. Kavanagh too will want to go one better having been runner up for the past two years, and with the experience gained from these campaigns he looks certain to contend for a third successive season. A real dark horse could be Keith Armstrong, Kilmyshall who came so close to winning the 60×30 title earlier this year and who has the skill to trouble everybody in the smaller court. Who would rule out the ageless Tommy Hynes, St. Mary’s, who showed when blasting Daniel Kavanagh off the court in last year’s league stages that, on his day and even in his non favourite court, he is an extremely serious handballer at any level. Throw in the former All Ireland senior softball doubles champions Barry Goff, Castlebridge and the returning Colin Keeling, St. Mary’s, last years intermediate champion Peter Hughes, Ballyhogue and Paul Lambert, St. Mary’s and the overall strength of the field becomes evident.

Prediction:  Riordan will be terribly difficult to dethrone but Buggy may just have sufficient motivation to regain top spot and if he does it will surely rank as one of his greatest achievements given the age advantage held by many of his challengers.

Further previews of the other grades will follow…..