Buggy and Hynes battled hard
WHILE THERE was to be no joy for Wexford handball players during the past week in the All-Ireland open singles and doubles championships, Gavin Buggy and Tommy Hynes can hold their heads high after giving almighty efforts to secure semi-final spots.
The action began in the beautiful court of Garryhill in Co. Carlow as All-Ireland doubles champions Tom Sheridan and Brian Carroll from Meath met Buggy and Hynes in the quarter-final. In what was billed to be one of the big games of the week, it did not disappoint as this had everything and certainly the Wexford duo left nothing behind them in a two-hour titanic battle.
The men in purple and gold certainly did not hang around to see what the Meath men had to offer and took a gripping opening set 21-18. Stunned by the display of the Wexford men, the Royal county duo knew well they had to up their performance to hold onto their crown and did so to take the second set 21-12.
The third set was to be another gruelling test for both pairings and the signs looked good for the Wexford men as they led 18-17 in the decider, however one final kick was left in the powerhouse Meath duo and they got over the line for a win that may set them up for another All-Ireland title, taking the third set 21-18 eventually.
Gavin Buggy had no time to sit back and reflect on the disappointment as he had to turn his attentions to the quarter-final of the All-Ireland Senior open singles and a clash with the hard-hitting, powerful player from Mayo, Dessie Keegan. Anyone who expected Gavin to be burnt out from his doubles exploits were mistaken as one of Wexford's favourite handball sons stood tall in the purple and gold jersey once again.
Keegan held the upper hand in the opening set and won 21-15 before Gavin responded with a 21-12 win in the second set. Going to the well in another third set eventually saw Gavin just come up short as the man from the west took it 21-17 to secure the semi-final spot.
After eight titles in two weeks, the good run of Wexford results finally came to the end as two Leinster finals were lost by Wexford players during the past week. Tony Breen once again came up against his old rival, Johnny Brennan from Kilkenny, in the final of the Emerald Masters 'A' singles. Brennan and Breen never disappoint when it comes to their clashes and there is never much to separate the pair. On this occasion it was the Kilkenny man who won the title with a 21-16, 21-12 scoreline.
The Emerald Masters 'B' doubles final was another three-set game and unfortunately the winning line eluded Aidan Sinnott and Mylie Byrne in the cruellest fashion as they saw a 16-4 lead in the third set swing around completely as they eventually lost 21-12, 14-21, 21-18.
Next weekend is a big oned for four Wexford players in the All-Ireland semi-finals. St. Mary's handball club in Wexford town will be alive next Saturday afternoon as three All-Ireland semi-finals take place.
Getting proceedings under way at 4 p.m. will be Coolgreany girl Tanya O'Toole who is aiming to follow in the footsteps of her brother, Darren, on the national scale and will have a tough semi-final in store when she meets Siobhán Tully from Roscommon in the women's Junior singles.
Next up is Paul Lambert from St. Joseph's, more known for his prowess in the small court. This time he will be sending the alley crackers flying around the Wexford venue against Kevin Craddock from Galway in the Junior singles semi-final, and then the final game on the programme sees Gavin Buggy back in action once again, this time in the semi-final of the Over-35 singles.