The penultimate week in the league throws up some vital matches

With two weeks to go to the end of the league phase of the inaugural county 4 wall singles competition, a number of vital matches still remain in several of the 11 divisions. None more so than in Division 1, where the clash of two time, and reigning, county 4 wall senior singles champion Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue and Tommy Hynes, St. Mary’s, the 11 times county senior softball singles winner, at St. Josephs on Wednesday next may well determine who reaches the knockout stages and who is the big name to crash out.

Neither has been at the peak of their powers so far this season but both are winners and will consider themselves, and will be considered by others, as potential winners of this competition, if only they can qualify for the semi finals. As things stand Riordan occupies the last qualifying place (4th) with 11 points and any kind of win will see him safely through. Hynes’s predicament is somewhat more precarious as he lies four points behind Riordan with an extra game to play. The minimum for him is a 2-1 win over the Ballyhogue man, followed by a 2-0 win against Mark Doyle, an outcome that would leave both on 12 points, but Hynes through on the head to head rule.

Paul Lambert has been the surprise packet of the league to date and with wins over both Riordan and Hynes he is deserving of his place at the summit of this division. Joining him there in the past week has been the most consistent 4 wall performer in the county for many years, Gavin Buggy. Perhaps fittingly they also meet at St. Josephs on Wednesday night, when, to use a boxing analogy, someone’s O will have to go!  Both are unbeaten and each has recorded victories over both Riordan and Hynes to seal their last four place. Safely through as well is young Josh Kavanagh and any doubts as to his ability to survive in this company have been lessened by his qualification from such a difficult division.

The action at St. Josephs on Wednesday gets underway at 7.20

Elsewhere in Division 3, a lineup containing a plethora of All Ireland and provincial champions has seen all eight players suffer defeat at least once, and with only one game left out of 27, we still don’t know who will meet who in the semi finals. That will be resolved at Horeswood tomorrow night however when David Stanners, St. Martins takes on David Redmond, Templeudigan. Both are sure to qualify as is Robert Byrne, Bridgetown and Liam Rossiter, Ballyhogue and either way this cracking group has shown the quality that will be available to the county, especially in the Overage B grades when the 2020 national championships get underway in January.