Tommy Hynes chalks up title number 12 in a quarter of a century of softball brilliance
Tommy Hynes, St Mary’s added yet another chapter to his honours laden career at Castlebridge on Tuesday night last when he defeated Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue 21-8, 21-11 to win his 12th county softball senior singles championship. It further extended a remarkable senior career that has spanned four decades since he partnered Ned Buggy to senior doubles victory against Tony Breen and Pat Mullett, Templeudigan back in 1990, all of 32 years ago. The competitive nature of the championship meant he had to wait a further 7 years before winning his maiden senior singles title, but when he beat the late Pat Cleary, Ballyanne to win the Willie Lyng Cup for the first time in 1997, it was clear he was going to be a major player in Wexford’s premier competition going forward. That’s precisely how it turned out, but few would have expected him to be still competing for, and winning, this reknowned piece of silverware 25 years on. However, this incredible athlete continued to defy conventional wisdom as the years rolled by and when he won again on Tuesday night, he became the first player in Wexford to win county softball senior singles championships a quarter of a century apart. He has steadfastly refused to leave the scene over the years and despite battling injuries on occasions, he successfully repelled a varity of opponents as he won the title, on average, every second year, despite missing several championships. His most dominent period occured between 2013-2019 inclusive when he won 6 of the 7 titles and win number 12 has edged him two clear of Barry Goff and unlikely to be caught.
Speaking after the match, an emotional Tommy Hynes hinted very strongly that this was to be his last championship season, referring to the difficulties in maintaining his physical health after such a long career. To the naked eye at Castlebridge on Tuesday there was little evidence of this, but at 50 years of age he has serious milage on the clock and this undoubedly continues to take its toll. If it was to be his swansong then he went out in considerable style as he dispatched the up and coming Riordan with the minimum of fuss. Apart from a slighty slow start he was always in charge of this match and as soon as he identified the, front wall, right hand wall and across into the left corner serve as the one that caused the Ballyhogue player most trouble, he never relented. He led 20-6 in the second and while it took 5 serves to get over the finish line he was never in the slightest danger of being caught.
For Riordan it was a disappointing performance, but this talented handballer, who was only 2 years old when Hynes won his first singles title, is the best of his generation and his day will come.
As to whether we will see the great Hynes in action again, its a case of que sera, sera!