Handball near business end
There has been several weeks of action in the Wexford GAA Handball 40 x 20 championships, and the business end of a lot of divisions and grades is almost upon us.
A small field of four players are competing in the Senior singles, with only one game played so far. Kilmyshall's Keith Armstrong defeated Paul Lambert from St. Joseph's, and the other two players in this grade are Gavin Buggy and Daniel Kavanagh, both of whom are title contenders for 2017.
A group of five players in the Intermediate singles was reduced to four as Barry McWilliams withdrew, leaving Daniel Kavanagh (St. Joseph's) as the leader after two rounds on six points with a fine 3-0 win over his clubmate, Paul Lambert. Darren O'Toole (Coolgreany) and Keith Armstrong complete the group.
A total of nine players make up the Junior singles championships, split into two groups. In Group 1 Darren O'Toole leads the way on nine points while there is a major scrap to secure the second and third qualifying spots, with Michael Rossiter (Ballyhogue) and Mick Armstrong (Kilmyshall) in pole position at the minute on six and five points respectively.
In Group 2, Malachy Whelan (Castlebridge) and Barry McWilliams (Horeswood) are both on six points, with the winner of their upcoming game going to top the group, while the final game between Tony Breen (Templeudigan) and Pechelli English (Davidstown) will see the winner progress in position three into the quarter-finals.
David Kenny and Malachy Whelan took the only game so far in the Junior doubles championship as they beat Kilmyshall pair Niall Maher and Mick Armstrong 3-0. The latter need to win their remaining game against Noel Holohan and David Redmond (Templeudigan) to have any chance of progress.
A strong field of 16 players feature in the Junior 'B' singles. Michael Busher (Bridgetown) tops the table in Group A with 15 points from five outings, while closely in pursuit in joint second are Seán Stanners (St. Martin's) and Fergal McWilliams (Horeswood) on twelve points each.
In Group B, Robert Byrne (Bridgetown) tops the pile on 13 points with Niall Maher (Kilmyshall) on 12 points in second, while third place is occupied by John Roche from Castlebridge on nine points.
After two rounds of the Junior 'B' doubles championship, there is a really close group developing. Kilmyshall pair Niall Maher and Pádhraic Roberts are out in front on five points from two games with second place being held by Michael Busher and Robert Byrne from Bridgetown. The winners of the game when they meet will be certain to top the group.
In all 23 players began in the Junior 'C' singles championships and at this juncture 21 remain as two withdrew. Four group winners will progress to the quarter-finals while second and third in each division will reach a round of 16.
The group leaders so far are Laurence Dunne (Kilmyshall) on 14 points in Group 1, David Stanners (St. Martin's) on 12 points in Group 2, Adam Walsh who is just about in control on eight points in Group 3, while Liam Rossiter tops Group 4 on nine points.
In the Junior 'C' doubles championship, James Stanners and Paddy Curran from St. Martin's top the pile with nine points from three games in Group A. They are closely followed on six points by Liam Rossiter and Colm Parnell (Ballyhogue), and Enda Buggy and Shane Terry from St. Joseph's.
In Group B the men primed for the knockout phase are Seán Flood and Adam Walsh (St. Joseph's), and Paul Murphy and Shay Byrne (Kilmyshall).
In a field of 16 players in the Junior 'D' singles, Brian Busher (Bridgetown) and Mikey Murphy (Taghmon) top the groups while others in the qualification picture are Mark Cardiff (Taghmon) and Robert Cogley (Ballymitty) in Group A, along with Ciarán Busher (Bridgetown) and Kiall Byrne from Templeudigan in Group B.
Twelve players are involved in the Over-35 singles championship, and with four to qualify from each group the competition is very tight. In Group A, David Stanners (St. Martin's) leads the way so far, while Fergal McWilliams (Horeswood) tops Group B on eight points.
David Redmond (Templeudigan) sits on a perfect record of three wins from three in Group A of the Masters singles, with hot pursuit being set by Seán Stanners, Damien Kelly and John Murphy.
In Group B, fellow clubman Kevin Cowman from Templeudigan tops the pile on six points with challenges coming from Ricky Barron and Robert Byrne in second and third place.
Golden Masters 'B' singles is another competitive group and topping the division of four currently is Phil Coleman from Ballymitty.
Pechelli English is currently holding top rank in the Emerald Masters 'A' singles, with his brother, Eugene, who plays out of Ballyhogue, in the top spot of the Emerald Masters 'B' singles.
After one game each, Tony Breen (Templeudigan) and Jim Doyle (Barntown) are in the lead in the Diamond Masters 'A' singles.
The ladies are competing in Junior 'B', Junior 'C' and Junior 'D' singles. Leading the way in Junior 'B' are Cliodhna O'Connell from Coolgreany and Emma Sweeney from St Joseph's, while top of the pack in Junior 'C' are Eva Creane (St. Joseph's) and Lucia Merrigan (Coolgreany).
In the Junior 'D' singles, Clodagh White from St. Joseph's is leading the way.