For over 20 years playing Handball – Joe Howlin – was a big success in the sport. He started playing at a tender age of 12 years old and finished up playing when he was 33 years old, because of a serious knee injury. He was born in 1947 and was educated at Wexford C.B.S..
His Boyhood hero was – Nickey Rackard R.I.P..
His Boyhood Hero in Handball was – John Ryan R.I.P..
Joe was invited to the States in 1990 to the World Championships, which was a great event and he enjoyed every minute of the occasion.
He got interestsed in Handball watching – John Ryan R.I.P.- performing brilliantly, playing in Emmet Place, Wexford. He decided that it was the sport that he was going to participate in.
One of the most memorable games he has played in was winning the senior singles. The most disappointing game he played in was losing the Senior Final to – Pat Kirby. He badly injured his shoulder during the course of the game.
He played the Softball and Hardball with the former being his favourites.
One of his preference doubles when playing was the brilliant – Jimmy Goggins.
Some of the greatest Handballers he has seen over the years were – John Ryan R.I.P., John Doyle R.I.P., Ducksie Walsh, Joey Maher R.I.P. and Joe Cleary.
In Wexford, apart from – John Ryan R.I.P. and John Doyle R.I.P., brilliant players in Joe’s opinion were – Jimmy King, Pat Murphy, Dick Lyng, Seamus Buggy and Michael McGrath – and many more.
He also played Hurling with the Faythe Harriers. The greatest Hurlers he has ever seen were – Michael “Babs” Keating, Eddie Keher, Gerald McCarthy, Tony Doran, Dan Quigley, Nickey Rackard R.I.P., Nick O’Donnell R.I.P., Mick Jacob Snr., and Henry Shefflin.
The Footballers that were very impressive were – Eoin “Bomber” Liston, Phil Wilson, Colm Cooper, Peter Canavan, Jack O’Shea and Mick O’Connell.
The greatest Hurler he has ever seen was – Tony Doran, and the greatest Footballer he has ever seen was – Eoin “Bomber” Liston.
Jimmy King was a brilliant partner when playing with him in Hardball.
Some of the great double pairings he has seen over the years were – John Ryan R.I.P and John Doyle R.I.P., John Delaney (Kilkenny) and Chris Delaney (Kilkenny) and Dick Lyng and Seamus Buggy.
Honours Joe has won includes – 2 Senior All Ireland Medals, 4 National League Medals, 6 Leinster Medals, 6 Co. Medals and 1 40×20 Leinster Medal.
Another fine achievement he would like to mention was the partnership of – Bobby Goff and Raymond Cunningham – who won the 40×20 World’s Men’s Open Championship.
One of Joe’s favourite Ball Alley’s was – St. Mary’s, Wexford.
All his grandchildren are interested in the sport, which makes Joe a “Happy Bunny”.
Joe now resides in Emmet Place, in the Faythe Area of Wexford Town.
John Ryan R.I.P. is without a doubt the greatest Handballer that ever played the game. He was a “Machine” on two legs during his fabulous and glorious career.
Of the present day Hurlers he is very impressed with, the ones he selects are – T.J. Reid, Richie Hogan, Tony Kelly (Clare), Conor McGrath (Clare), Austin Gleeson (Waterford), Patrick Curran (Waterford), Joe Canning (Galway), Seamus Callanan (Tipperary) and Shane Dowling (Limerick).
The greatest Football Team he has seen was the – Kerry Team – from 1975 to 1986 and the greatest Hurling Team he has seen was the – Kilkenny Team – from 2002 to the present day. Both Teams were superb, with Brian Coady in charge of Kilkenny.