Honours laden former Wexford handball player John Fleming is elected Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council

Written by AOB

Back in the 1980s and 90s he gained a reputation as one of Wexford’s best ever handballers, with major achievements at World and All Ireland level, but in more recent times former Ballyanne stalwart John Fleming has been making the headlines in the equally difficult political arena. The Fianna Fail man had his first major success in 2014 when he contested and won a seat on Wexford County Council and he returned to the chambers again in 2019 when his hard work was recognized and rewarded by the electorate of New Ross and surrounding areas. He went on to serve as Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of New Ross on a couple of occasions in recent years and last week he gained the support of a majority of his colleagues throughout the county, before being elected by a comfortable margin to the highest political office in Wexford. 

   Outgoing Cathaoirleach George Lawlor presentes the chain of office to John Fleming following his election last week. Also in the picture is incoming Leas Cathaoirleach, Ger Carty.

During his distinguished handball career, John Fleming and the late Pat Cleary carved out a reputation for themselves as a fearsome partnership and after dominating during their juvenile and under 21 years they went straight into, and against all the odds won, the senior grade in 1982. It took a top class pairing to win that title against far more experienced and older players, but the Wexfordmen proved it was no fluke by successfully defending their crown in both 1983 and ’84. The enormity of that achievement can be gauged by the fact that almost 40 years later, they remain the only Wexford players to have won this 40×20 premier grade. 

On the world stage Fleming represented Ireland in world championships in Toronto, Canada as well as Melbourne, Australia and in 1994 he came out in top in the Over 35 grade when the games were held in Ireland.

Another link with handball on this historic political occasion saw Ger Carty elected as Leas Cathaoirleach. He is a son of former Wexford Handball Board Chairman, the late Leo Carty, who held office from 1954-63.