Riordan was the standout player as Ballyhogue finish the season as top 40×20 club in Wexford
Written by Antóin Ó Braoin, Oifigeach Forbartha
Wexford had never crowned a county 40×20 senior singles champion from outside the triangle of Castlebridge or Wexford town prior to 2018, but after a pulsating campaign just ended, that chain of domination has been broken.
After seeing Barry Goff, Gavin Buggy and Tommy Hynes win countless small court championships year after year, it was accepted by all that it would take something special to dethrone players who continue to show remarkable skill, fitness and determination, despite all now being at the veteran stage of their careers.
The county championships have always been terribly important in Wexford and those who played in them did so with a vigor that was commensurate with that reality. As champions the aforementioned trio valued winning in Wexford and its a testament to their outstanding longevity that despite the emergence of several up and coming challengers over the years it took until 2018 for someone to end their reign and perhaps herald the beginning of a new chapter.
Indeed after the narrow failure of Daniel Kavanagh to turnover reigning champion and St. Josephs clubmate Gavin Buggy in 2017, it was accepted in some quarters that he was the champion in waiting and whether it was this year or next, it would be him that would extend the sequence of champions coming from the town clubs. He kept that possibility alive when he comfortably saw off the defending champion (Buggy) in this years semi final but then saw that narrative shattered by the hugely impressive Galen Riordan from Ballyhogue Handball Club. The 22 year old who has swept all before him this season at intercounty level, maintained that form within Wexford to become the first Ballyhogue player to win a county senior singles title. Additionally, he was the first player ranked junior to take the title and showing the level needed to be a senior champion in Wexford, Riordan then went on the capture the All Ireland junior singles title as well.
That victory by Riordan may have been the highlight of an incredibly successful season for Ballyhogue, but is was but one of many enjoyed by the Enniscorthy district club. Senior, intermediate, junior and minor singles winners medals showed strength across the premier grades and while Riordan took both senior and junior, Peter Hughes upset hot favourite Daniel Kavanagh to win intermediate and Colm Parnell added the minor from a competitive lineup.
Others to share in and contribute to the success story were Michael Rossiter who won both golden masters A singles and diamond masters A singles, Billy Rossiter and Sonny Sheils who notched up their fourth title in a row in diamond masters A doubles and Ciara Parnell who made it a family double when she won the junior D singles.
A brilliant and historic year then for Ballyhogue and one which saw them finish comfortably ahead of the chasing pack for 2018.