Goff's return adds intrigue to the county senior softball championship

Five years after he last competed in the county 60×30 championship, Barry Goff quietly returned to action at Castlebridge on Wednesday night last and while the effects of the long layoff will undoubtedly take time to erase, the former champion still had enough in his locker to overcome Mikie Berry, Barntown in the opening round of this year’s competition writes Antoin Ó Braoin.

Goff with Colin Keeling after their All Ireland senior doubles win in 2011.
Barry Goff and Colin Keeling after their All Ireland senior doubles win in 2011.

The Castlebridge stalwart was a major player on the softball circuit for many years and alongside his domination of the county scene in those days he also celebrated winning the All Ireland senior doubles title with Colin Keeling in 2011. His performances back then bore all the hallmarks of greatness and even now at 38 years of age you get the feeling his appetite  may not be fully sated.

His return to action against the very strong Berry brought a few extra people to the magnificently refurbished Castlebridge handball court on Wednesday and while, understandably, it was not the vintage Goff of old, he did show enough in the 21-15, 13-21, 21-9  win to suggest he could cause plenty of trouble for those with designs of the coveted Wexford senior singles title.

Leading that field will be defending champion Tommy Hynes, St. Mary’s who is seeking 5 titles in a row, perennial challenger Gavin Buggy, St. Josephs,  the aforementioned Berry who captured the All Ireland intermediate doubles title in 2015 and the up and coming Daniel Kavanagh, St. Josephs, last year’s All Ireland minor doubles champion. A dislocated kneecap forced the promising Keith Armstrong, Kilmyshall out, while last year’s runner up Galen Riordan is currently in America, but make no mistake about it, this strong group of contenders will make it an honest championship in the best traditions of Wexford handball.

As usual the competition is being run on a league basis which means that all of the main contenders have to meet each other before the semi final places are known. These clashes will add to the overall intrigue of the occasion and a very interesting time lies ahead for all 60×30 connoisseurs in Wexford.

Down here in the sunny south east we don’t normally have to look elsewhere for a warmer climate, but even if the sun does let us down a little bit on this occasion we are certain to find a higher temperature around the courts of the county.

The presence of Barry Goff in the championship looks certain to take care of that!