Galen Riordan and Mark Doyle provide a facinating and historic senior final tonight
Wexford GAA Handball 4-Wall senior open singles final at St. Josephs – Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue v Mark Doyle, Taghmon
Preview by AOB
A long standing tradition will be broken tonight at St Josephs Community Centre, when the county 4-wall senior open singles final takes place without either a Wexford town, Castlebridge or Ballyanne player being involved. Available records show that since county 40×20 championships began in Wexford in the late 1970s the premier senior championship has been dominated by players from those clubs, and in the 34 championships played since 1986, 32 were won by a player from Ballyanne, St. Mary’s, Castlebridge or St. Josephs. Fittingly perhaps, the other two titles went to one of tonight’s finalists, Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue, who broke the mould in 2018 and 2019 when he beat St. Josephs representatives, Gavin Buggy and Daniel Kavanagh, respectively.
After winning for the second time in 2019, Riordan went travelling abroad and therefore was not around to defend the title in 2020, but now he’s back and having defeated the 14 times champion Gavin Buggy in the semi final, he will be a warm favourite to prevail against 18 year old Mark Doyle, Taghmon in tonight’s facinating clash. The presence of two young players in this final is an important statement from the current generation too, with the combined ages of the two players (Riordan is 26) being less than that of the remarkable Gavin Buggy, who won his 14th senior 4-wall (40×20) title in 2020 at the age of 46. At the opposite end of that age scale, and just as notable, Mark Doyle will take part in his first senior final, knowing that if he goes on to win it, he will not just become the youngest ever winner of Wexford’s blue riband 4-wall event, he will also be the youngest senior singles championship winner in the history of Wexford handball.
Galen Riordan will be very aware of the ability of his young adversary and will have taken particular note of his victory over Tommy Hynes in the semi final, as well as a whole series of notable countrywide acheivements the Taghmon youngster has clocked up to date. He won’t approach this with anything other than caution and respect and a brilliant match is in prospect.
4-Wall championship title stats involving players from the current era (1996-2022)
Tommy Hynes first in 1996 – last in 2015 (4 times champion)
Gavin Buggy first in 1997 – last in 2020 (14 times champion)
Barry Goff first in 1998 – last in 2012 (3 times champion)
Colin Keeling first in 2004 – last in 2006 (2 times champion)
Galen Riordan first in 2018 – last in 2019 (2 times champion)