Golden weekend for Wexford juvenile handballers

Report compiled by Gavin Buggy
It was a very momentous day for Castlebridge Handball Club and it’s officials as they hosted the GAA Handball 60X30 All Ireland Juvenile Finals and an equally special one for Wexford Juvenile Handball as they swept the boards clocking up five of the six titles on offer at the famous ‘Over the Water’ venue..Months of preparations bore fruit in spectacular fashion as the carefully scheduled County Championships laid the foundations for All Ireland glory for what must be said is a golden generation of younger talent within the county..The next step on the ladder won’t be as easily achieved but for now the performances and memories of yesterday should go a long way towards giving those players every chance of standing the test of time..Castlebridge excelled in staging a wonderful programme of matches and the Court remained dry throughout..Diarmuid Moore & Dean O’Neill (Ballymitty) after a disastrous start in their opening game of the Boys U-15 Doubles (and a very stern exchange of views in the dressing room) came out a completely different pair for the remainder of the match..They put Brian McAleer & Jack Darcy (Tyrone) to the sword in no uncertain terms thereafter and ultimately,despite a wobble in the 3rd ran out convincing 8-15,15-5,15-6 victors..This was Diarmuid’s second All Ireland after his 2016 40X20 U-14 Doubles Gold while Dean was winning the very first Juvenile All Ireland for Ballymitty in any Court (although I stand corrected on that)..Mark Doyle (Taghmon) & Ben Keeling looked ‘nailed on’ before a ball was struck against Gearoid Healy & Keelan Murphy (Cork) in Boys U-14 Doubles and so it proved as they completely outclassed the Munster boys winning 2 Straight..All Ireland number two for Mark while Ben was the recipient of his first Gold..Josh Kavanagh & Cian Kehoe had won the U-16 Doubles last weekend and Ciarán Power & Robert Cogley the Coolgreany/Ballymitty partnership strolled to the title at Boys U-17 Doubles defeating Niall Delaney & Brooklyn Hickey (Cork) 21-6,21-8 thus ensuring an unprecedented clean sweep of Boys Doubles honours U-14 through to U-17 for Wexford..
The Wexford juveniles with Gavin Buggy, Martin Power and Marguerite Gore of the county juvenile committee. Missing are Cian Kehoe, All Ireland under 16 doubles winner and two members of the juvenile committee Seamie O'Neill and Robert Doyle
The Wexford juveniles with Gavin Buggy, Martin Power and Marguerite Gore of the county juvenile committee. Missing are Cian Kehoe, All Ireland under 16 doubles winner and two members of the juvenile committee, Seamie O’Neill and Robert Doyle
Not to be outdone the girls made a healthy contribution to the medal haul as Clodagh White & Lucia Merrigan (Coolgreany) posted a terrific performance at Girls U-17 Doubles against the more fancied Keri Murphy & Ciara McCarthy (Limerick)..When it came down to it Clodagh & Lucia had all the answers and won with plenty to spare 21-7,21-7..Cora Doyle like the U-14 Boys was a very strong favourite and she justified her status with a very impressive 21-2,21-8 defeat of Ashling Shanahan (Limerick)..Cora made every post a winning one and found the bottom of the wall with a radar like consistency to clock up her debut All Ireland after knocking on the door for a little while..The only Championship Singles defeat locally or nationally Cora suffered all year was to the very highly regarded Megan McCann (Armagh) in the 40X20 All Ireland Minor Singles Final..After five straight victories Colm Parnell (Ballyhogue) went to post in Boys U-17 Singles against Conor Owens (Cavan) and hopes had been high beforehand that he was well placed to give it a right good rattle but it soon became apparent that the expectation of a sixth Wexford win on the day was weighing heavily on his shoulders and allied to that was an opponent who was way above average..Colm tried valiantly but Conor Owens was simply too strong and it was he who won the All Ireland on a 21-7,21-10 scoreline..A tough end for the Ballyhogue youngster but he went down fighting..Seven All Ireland Juvenile Finals bore six titles for Wexford,an achievement to match anything the county has previously recorded but it’s how we build on it now is the key issue..A topic for another day as yesterday was a fabulous day of success for our Juveniles,and one that many other counties could only dream of..A huge amount of credit goes to the players themselves for their application in training and their resolve to stick to the task night in,night out over the last four months so many congratulations to them all..To their parents or guardians for their unstinting support over the course of the Championship..And to Juvenile Secretary Marguerite Gore who went way beyond the call of duty on the players behalf..Special thank you to Virginia Rossiter who was ever present to help out and who Live Streamed Co.Finals,Leinster Finals and again yesterday at the All Ireland Finals..Castlebridge have been a revelation in terms of helping out with Courts and personnel and to Mick Flood & Fintan Furlong in St.Marys for their time and advice to all the Juveniles..