Young players herald a new dawn in Wexford as Galen Riordan takes over at the top

New Wexford senior singles champion Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue with runner-up Daniel Kavanagh, St. Josephs and referee Barry Goff
New Wexford senior singles champion Galen Riordan, Ballyhogue on left with runner-up Daniel Kavanagh, St. Josephs and referee Barry Goff. The winning margin was 21-15, 21-18

It was the first county 40×20 singles final for many years not to involve a Buggy, Goff or Hynes and because of that Galen Riordan and Daniel Kavanagh had a lot to live up to when they clashed in this years decider on Thursday night last. But in a clear sign that a new generation has arrived in the ‘Home of Handball’ they served up an absolute cracker of a final that matched or perhaps ever surpassed many that had gone before.

Make no mistake about it, on the evidence of this and earlier matches in this years championship, these guys are here to stay and while the aforementioned trio of Buggy, Goff and Hynes are still incredibly competitive at county and national level and can never be discounted, it was the quality displayed by the younger players in this match that gives rise to the opinion that over the next few years the Wexford 40×20 senior singles championship may well be shared between them.

On this occasion it was the quite outstanding Riordan who had the look of a champion for most of this tie and some of his shot selections had the large attendance on the edge of their seats as he built a commanding lead in the opening game. Kavanagh did make inroads into the deficit as the game went on but Riordan was always capable of adding to his tally each time he served and he closed it out 21-15 to lay down his marker in impressive fashion.

Kavanagh badly needed to start the second game well but once more it was Riordan who displayed the greater purpose and with a number of searing serves followed by kills, he pulled away to put some daylight between himself and his opponent. But Kavanagh refused to give it up and from there to the finish he closed the gap score by score before Riordan managed the last three points for victory on a scoreline 21-18.

For sheer quality this tie will be hard to surpass and much of what we saw was breathtaking and exhilarating. With all due respect to what has gone before this looked like ‘next generation’ handball and if that is the case then the legacy put in place by Buggy, Goff, Hynes and others before them, is set to continue in the very best traditions of our county senior championship.

It was a first senior championship win for Ballyhogue and a well deserved triumph for the youth of Wexford.