Hynes keeps clear water between himself and the rest

Age may well be a barrier to some things in life but if you are Tommy Hynes it does nothing to stop you from winning county senior softball titles, even in one of the toughest domestic championships in Ireland. The 44 year old St. Mary’s handballer coasted to his fourth title in a row at his local court recently by beating young pretender Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue and on the evidence of his 21-10, 21-6 victory, he is far from ready to abdicate voluntarily.

Galen Riordan and Tommy Hynes with County Chairman Ricky Barron
Galen Riordan and Tommy Hynes with County Chairman Ricky Barron

By his own high standards it was not his best ever display but after he had taken the opening game without playing particularly well, Hynes showed just what he was capable of when the talented Riordan, the current All Ireland under 21 singles champion, jumped into a 6-3 lead in the second game. Suddenly the reigning champion became focused again and from there to the finish the good attendance were treated to a clinical display of power and precision as Hynes pulled away to clinch the title without the concession of another point.

It was a difficult but necessary experience for Riordan but one he will be looking to benefit from, as Hynes forced him to play at pace and kept him out of that vital centre court area. This caused him to shoot from distance and reduced his chances of winning the rallies. The Ballyhogueman appears to have the talent to win a senior championship and time is certainly on his side, but like the others queuing up (Keith Armstrong, Daniel Kavanagh etc) he will have to ‘come and take it’, as Hynes continues to operate at a level that thus far the others have not shown they can reach.

Tommy Hynes (in 60×30) and Gavin Buggy (in 40×20) may be ‘elder statesmen’ nowadays, but they are not fading champions and will be hard to dislodge. That they can still perform at such a level is a huge testament to the standards they continue to set, rather than any lack of quality in those coming behind.