Optimism abounds as 2022 gets underway with the county 4-wall championships

After a barren spell which saw no county 4 wall championships completed in 2021, all handball folk will hope for better things to happen in the new year as the sport attempts to find a way to continue its activities amid the ongoing coronavirus. With that in mind, a lower risk and therefore safer way of promoting our games will be the ‘new normal’ when the 2022 county championship kicks off on January 4th and we strongly encourage full adherence to current guidelines and safety measures at all venues. An entry of 135 for our domestic championships is clearly indicating that players are ready to return to the courts and with singles and doubles both included on this occasion, a full set of championship grades is ready to be contested. With no official activities permitted after 8pm, midweek matches at set to start earlier than normal, while full programmes of matches are scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday. 

The opening match of the new championship takes place at Piercestown on Tuesday evening when one of the up and coming youngsters in the sport, Mark Doyle, Taghmon takes on the experienced Barry McWilliams, Horeswood in a round of 8 junior singles tie. The Horeswood stalwart produced several good performances when the championships were last played in 2020, including beating Darren O’Toole 21-19 in the third set and pushing Adam Walsh all the way in the semi final before going out 21-20, 17-21, 21-17. He will need to reproduce that type of form against the brilliant Doyle to have any chance at all.   

On Saturday, January 8th, the first of two senior open singles R8 ties will see Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue make a welcome return to the sport when he takes on the talented Adam Walsh, St. Mary’s and the county senior singles champion from 2018 and 2019 will need to be close to his best against this tricky opponent in a match that gets underway at 2.45pm at St. Josephs Community Center. This will be followed by the very interesting clash of Paul Lambert, St. Mary’s and Mark Doyle, Taghmon and because Lambert usually produces at this level, it will be fascinating to see how he copes against one of the hottest prospects in the game right now.

On Sunday, the recently crowned All Ireland over 45 singles champion Tommy Hynes, St. Mary’s will be in action and while one of Wexford’s best ever players surely cannot continue to defy the body clock much longer, he may just have enough to see off what is certain to be a strong challenge from Josh Kavanagh, St. Josephs, another of the most promising young players in the game.

To see the full programme of matches for next week click Fixture 1