Softball Nationals 2022 a Great Success in the Sunny South East

The Irish Softball Nationals 2022 were held in Wexford at the weekend with approximately 200 players, both adult and juveniles, taking part across seven Wexford venues.

The Nationals were last held in Wexford in 2019 but due to the pandemic, the competition was not held in 2020 or 2021. It was extra special therefore to welcome players and spectators from all over the country back to Wexford for this prestigious tournament.

Wexford certainly lived up to its name with lovely weather all weekend, but it did make conditions more difficult for the players who had to contend with the heat inside the alleys. The seven host clubs involved certainly pulled out all the stops to make it a memorable event for players and spectators. Great credit must be given to the volunteers in Ballymitty, Castlebridge, Coolgreany, Kilmyshall, St. Marys, Taghmon and Templeudigan handball clubs for going the extra mile to make sure that everyone that attended the event had an enjoyable time.

In the Mens Open Tommy Hynes from St. Marys had a very good tournament, seeing off Chris Doyle (Wicklow) in the last 16. His Quarter final against Gavin Buggy was one of the highlights of the weekend with his clubmate Gavin taking the first 15-12. Tommy turned things around to take the second 15-3, and he closed it out 11-8 in the tie breaker. He then had to come through another tie break (11-5) against Michael Gregan (Wicklow) in the Semi Final. His opponent in the other half of the draw, top seed Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath) had an easier path to the Final with two straight game wins in the Quarter and Semi-Finals. The Final proved one step too far for Tommy and Robbie justified the favourites tag with another straight games win. In the Ladies Open the favourite Martina McMahon (Limerick) took the title beating Ashling O’Keeffe (Cork) in two games.

There were two straight Finals in Kilmyshall with Wexford winning both. Noel Holohan (Templeudigan) and Sean Nolan (Kilmyshall) repeated their 2019 success against the same Kilkenny opponents William Murphy and John Morrissey. This game was a close affair with both pairs taking a game each before the Wexford lads won the tie break 11-6. The Golden Masters Final saw Damien Kelly (Coolgreany) and Mick Armstrong (Kilmyshall) proving too strong for Ricky Barron (Taghmon) and Tommy Armstrong (Kilmyshall) in two straight games. The Diamond Masters had three pairs in it so it was played as a round robin, and after they all played each other, the Meath pair of Anthony McConnell and James Reilly came out on top with Benny Doyle (Horeswood) and Michael Rossiter (Ballyhogue) runners up.

In Templeudigan Cliodhna O’Connell (Coolgreany) teamed up with Aoife Brophy from Laois to take the Ladies B/C title, again in round robin format, with Siobhan Tracey and Carragh Kennedy from Roscommon runners up.

Jodie Keeling (St. Josephs) was our only outright Juvenile winner when she paired up with Hannah Grace from Tipperary in Girls 17 & under and they beat Nathania Jackson and Emer Barron from Kilkenny in two straight games. Amber Cronin Kenny & Kitty Roche (Coolgreany/ Castlebridge) had a great battle against Maggie Quirke (Kerry) and Shauna Hayes (Kilkenny) in the Girls 13 & under Final. The Kerry/ Kilkenny pairing took the first game comfortably but Amber and Kitty fought back really well and took the second. They went behind early in the tie break and they came back again but their opponents had just enough to get over the line.

We had adult Plate winners in Mens Open, Galen Riordan (Ballyhogue); Mens A, David Kenny & Shane Birney (Castlebridge); Mens C, Dean O’Neill & JR Finn (Ballymitty) and Masters, Robert Byrne & David Stanners (Bridgetown/ St. Martins).

Our Juvenile Plate winners were Girls 13&U, Boo Murphy & Zahara Dunne Sweeney (Taghmon), with Angel Cronin Kenny & Chloe Murphy (Coolgreany/ Castlebridge) runners up; Boys 15&U, Jamie Moran & Sean Fitzharris (Templeudigan) with Shane Cleary (Ballymitty) & James Kenny (Kilkenny) runners up; Boys 17&U, John Hayes (Kilkenny) & Jamie Barnes (ST. Marys) with Bobby Doyle & Jack Whitty (Taghmon) runners up;

Charlie Roche and Nathan Lawlor (Castlebridge/ Taghmon) were runners up in the 13 & under Plate Final.

Coolgreany hosted the Boys and Girls U11 fun event and three pairs took part, two from Coolgreany and one from Templeudigan. There were some great rallies in all the games and it was a very enjoyable event. Well done to Caroline Murphy & Isla-Mai Redmond (Templeudigan), George Foley & Ted Lawlor and Aidan & Danny Cronin Kenny (Coolgreany).

It was a fantastic weekend of handball and it was great to have crowds back in alleys watching players giving it their all. Congratulations to all who won titles or made Finals, and to everyone else who took part to make it a fantastic weekend of handball. Sincere thanks to the seven host clubs and all volunteers from across the county for putting so much effort into ensuring that things ran smoothly on both days, on what was a great weekend for Wexford handball.

Attention now turns to another major event with Wexford hosting the National Féile Softball Tournament which takes place on Sunday 21st August.


View our Softball Nationals 2022 Gallery Here