Hynes 'fresh & ready' for Saturday

Report by Padhraic Roberts
Interview with 60 x 30 County Senior Champion Tommy Hynes of the St Mary’s club, Wexford Town, ahead of his Senior Open Doubles All Ireland quarter final this coming Saturday at Talbots Inch, Kilkenny at 3pm. Tommy is partnered by Gavin Buggy from the St Joseph’s club and they take on Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy and Carl Browne.
Q:  Tommy can you tell us about your match preparation ahead of such an important fixture?
A:   For me the main factors ahead of Saturday are to be fresh and ready to compete on the day. I’m going to relax until Saturday and then we are straight out of the blocks. We have trained hard up to now in both singles and doubles and are ready for Saturday.
Q: What advise would you give up and coming handballer’s on how to prepare for a big game?
A:  Watch all the top players in action, take their advice onboard. Preparation is very important and also listen to their coaches. But most of all enjoy the game, the more you enjoy it the better you will play.
Q: Have you any strange superstitions ahead of handball games?

A: Not really, just in my warm up I like to get into the alley and bang off a few balls to help me prepare mentally. I always know where I’m at after hitting a few warm up balls. I like to be happy with the warm up.

Q: As a youngster what handballer player did you most admire?
A:  Ducksy Walsh, he was only 5 years older than me but was number one at the time. Locally I admired Seamus Buggy, Jimmy Goggins and Noel Beever, they were great handball players.
Q: Has the 60 x 30 game of handball changed since you began playing? (All those years ago!)
A: Yes I feel it has changed dramatically. Since the introduction of the new Challenger ball I feel it’s much harder to keep the ball down. It’s much harder to float the ball in around the corners as it pops back up. Looking at the recent Senior All Ireland doubles winner it seems that powerful strokes are dominating play.
Q: For you as a player in the alley which stroke do you find you have to work hardest at in practice?
A: Personally I have concentrated a lot over the years on the ball off the back wall. I have learned to develop my attacking and defensive shots off the back wall. Also when I was younger I worked hard on my overhead shot, I feel this has developed with experience.

Q: In relation to your doubles partner Gavin, what do you feel is his greatest asset in the alley?

 A: Gavin has exceptional agility and a great reach for the ball. Gavin is also great at covering and has a great left hand.
Q: If you could model yourself on an athlete for any other sport (past or present) who would it be?
A: I’d like to say Roy Keane, he is great professional and always gives 100% the whole time. He is completely committed to winning.
Q: What was the most inspirational feat you have ever witnessed first hand in sport ?
A:  On a personal level I suppose when I won the All Ireland minor singles title and within the County I feel the All Ireland hurling victory in 1996 really gave the whole county a great boost.
Q:   Tommy what superhero best describes you and why?
A: Hard one, maybe Superman, I think he was left handed as well !!!!!!