When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, something has to give!
Written by Antóin Ó Braoin, Rúnaí Contae
What happens when a legend and an icon come face to face with the current All Ireland champions? To find out more you are going to have to book your seat at St. Mary’s Handball Club, Wexford this coming Wednesday night for the clash that has captured the imagination of handballing people throughout the south east and beyond.
It is on that evening that Kilkennymen Michael ‘Ducksy’ Walsh and DJ Carey coming riding into town to challenge for the Leinster 60×30 Masters A Doubles title currently held by the unbeaten Wexfordmen Tommy Hynes and Paul Carty and a fascinating clash is in prospect at Emmet Place. Since entering the over 40 age group two years ago Hynes and Carty have not tasted defeat in either championship or tournament and this dynamic partnership will not want to lose that proud unbeaten record as well as their Leinster and All Ireland titles on their home patch.
The challenge facing them however is immense as the great Ducksy Walsh is undisputedly the best over 40 player of all time and he is currently on the verge of setting a new record for winning the most All Ireland Masters A singles titles since overage championships were introduced many years ago. He commenced that sequence back in 2006 when he won all four championships in his first year in that grade and while he has lost a few doubles matches with different partners along the way since then, his singles winning run currently stands at 15 All Ireland titles in a row. Eight of those are 40×20 and if he wins the 60×30 again in a few weeks time he will have broken the existing record of 15 singles titles held by his namesake Micky Walsh, Roscommon . When you factor in his record 13 All Ireland senior singles on the trot from 1985 to 1997 and another three in a row from 1999 to 2001 following his ‘blip’ against Walter O’Connor in 1998, his right to be called a legend is beyond question.
Understandably famed for his hurling exploits more than his handball, DJ Carey is nonetheless one of the best exponents ever to play the game. Extremely stylish and comfortable off either hand, he has enthralled friend and foe alike in both 40×20 and 60×30 courts around Ireland for many years. His departure at an early age to concentrate on hurling robbed handball of arising star who had at that stage already captured several All Irelands as well as a world under 25 singles title. Post hurling he took up where he left off and alongside Ducksy Walsh he has returned to winning ways with several All Ireland masters doubles titles added to his collection. As DJ Carey does not do meaningless trips to Wexford you can take it he is coming with the intention of taking the winners medals up the New Ross road.
It will not be easy! Tommy Hynes is renowned for his doubles play on the left and with an All Ireland senior medal in the bag from 2000 as well as a host of other championships to his name, he is a proud Wexford man who will defend his masters title with everything at his command. His partner Paul Carty is his ideal foil as he will encourage and cajole the very best out of Hynes while all of the time producing his own highly committed and determined performance from the right hand side. These two have demonstrated on many occasions that when their backs are to the wall it brings out the kind of stubbornness that opponents don’t want to see. A kind of stubbornness that says “you will have to come and take it ’cause we are not going to give it to you”
The saying ‘when an irresistible force meets an immovable’ object comes to mind! Wednesday will show who is the first to blink!