Galen Riordan and Gavin Buggy produce another contender for match of the year in a riveting Moyne Veterinary Hospital Winter League Final

Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue and Gavin Buggy, St. Mary’s with Tomás O’Shea of Moyne Veterinary Hospital (sponsors) and Ricky Barron, Wexford GAA Handball after last nights final


For Wexford’s top 4-wall (40×20) handballers Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue and Gavin Buggy, St. Mary’s, it’s been a long and unforgettable season. Although softball may not have been the code in which many would have expected the pairing to make their first major statement as a partnership, they carved their way through the field to win a first ever All Ireland senior doubles title together. That historic and emotionally charged day at Castlebridge on September 24th will live long in the memory of those lucky enough to have been there, and undoubtedly left many, but probably especially the two players, physically and mentally drained. And so, when these two faced off in last night’s Moyne Veterinary Hospital county 4-wall singles league Group A final, it would have been understandable if they couldn’t find it within themselves to produce a classic. Well, we needn’t have worried, because when it comes to winning, these two simply don’t distinguish between local and national!     

Buggy made all the early running and for a while in that first game he seemed to have Riordan’s measure. The high tempo appeared to suit him more than Riordan and while the rallies were long and draining, more often than not, he was finding the right corner with impressive regularity. By contrast Riordan was hanging on by his fingertips, but he was never out of contention and gradually his more clinical serve began to pay dividends. Having been 2-7 and 10-15 behind, he eventually regained parity at 17 all, before closing it out 21-18 for a lead that was to prove crucial. In those closing exchanges he had the all round small court game to win some vital rallies and when it took flat kills to win these, and it invariably did, he had them in his locker. The second game was equally relentless and with each player demonstrating an uncanny ability to ‘pick’ most of their opponents’ shots, scores were desperately hard to come by. At 12-8 in favour of Riordan, three scoreless serves each, spoke to the intensity of the battle, but these fruitless visits were to prove costly to Buggy, as Riordan emerged from his final timeout to surge clear for a 21-14 win.

This deserved win for the 27-year-old Ballyhogue player strengthens his position as 4-wall numero uno in the county, while Buggy’s reputation as a warrior continues to be enhanced. And that’s without mentioning age!