Wexford set for festival of handball as 4-wall league finals take place on Saturday
Preview by AOB
In an exciting new initiative for Wexford GAA Handball, all 11 finals in the inaugural county 4-wall singles league will take place at St. Josephs Community Centre this coming Saturday, beginning at 1.20pm.
In a somewhat remarkable turnaround, only 6 of the 11 table toppers managed to reach the final and of the 22 semi finals matches, 10 went to a tie break. It all makes for an intriguing day of handball on Saturday with so many of the finals being wide open affairs.
D1 Josh Kavanagh v Galen Riordan – it’s youth versus experience here and while Riordan, the two time county senior champion was back to his best in seeing off the challenge of Gavin Buggy in the semi final, nobody will dismiss the threat posed by the the up and coming Kavanagh, who was very impressive in ending the hopes of Paul Lambert in the other semi final.
D2 Noel Holohan v Barry McWilliams – a wide open contest where the ability to last the pace will probably decide the outcome. Will the work rate of Holohan trump the craft of McWilliams? That’s just one of many questions hanging over this evenly balanced tie.
D3 Robert Byrne v David Redmond – two players who have clashed on many occasions in the past look certain to serve up another cracker on Saturday. Redmond has the class to take this but Byrne is one of the toughest players in the game and usually finds a way to solve the problem.
D4 Michéal O’Neill v Laurance Dunne – O’Neill’s form has been a revelation in this competition, but Dunne showed terrific resilience in his semi final win over Joe Devereux. He also has youth on his side but will that be enough against the power of O’Neill?
D5 James Nolan v Dean O’Neill – the teak tough Nolan had the better of the arguement when these two met earlier, but the youthful O’Neill is improving all the time and might just have closed the gap enough in the meantime to make this a very interesting contest.
D6 Shane Terry v Damien Kelly – Terry has been in four tie breaks in this competition already so his penchant for battle is not in doubt. Kelly for his part has been around a long time and would not be winning out of turn. A real 50-50 contest this.
D7 Paul Murphy v Conor Murphy – the only defeat suffered by Paul Murphy as he topped the league table was against his young namesake from Taghmon. Conor Murphy is fast and skillful and will need to be once again against an opponent who has a wealth of experience and no little skill of his own.
D8 Tommy Moore v Shay Byrne – a bit of contrast here between Moore who likes to get the job done in two and Byrne who usually take a bit longer. The latter has already visited tie break territory four times, but has emerged victorious on each occasion. And while Moore topped the table in the league stages, he did lose to Byrne in three along the way.
D9 Tomás O’Shea v Barry Creane – one of only two players in the entire league to reach this stage without dropping a set, O’Shea rightly goes into this final as a clear favourite. Creane though has proven his competitiveness throughout the competition and if it gets tight, he is not the man you want to see facing you in the opposite corner.
D10 Liam Murphy v James Greene Jnr – Murphy has never been in danger of defeat in this league as he simply coasted past each opponent with plenty to spare. He will be expected to finish the job on Saturday but Greene overturned an earlier result in the semi final and could be capable of springing another surprise.
D11 Ellie Murphy-O’Gorman v Leanne Boland – in a very topsy turvy group both players have tasted defeat but that merely adds to the intrigue in a match that will showcase girls handball at this level. Ellie won when they met earlier in the league but Leanne is well capable of making this a proper battle before the destination of the winners medal is decided.