Sunday 26 March 2017

Handball: Brilliant Brady breezes past Shanks to enter seventh heaven

Paul Brady celebrates after winning the All-Ireland Senior Singles Handball Championship for a record-equalling sixth time in a row.
Paul Brady celebrates after winning the All-Ireland Senior Singles Handball Championship for a record-equalling sixth time in a row.

Cavan's Paul Brady had a busy weekend of Gaelic games action. On Saturday evening, Brady created history by winning the All-Ireland Senior Singles Championship crown in the handball alley, recording a 21-17, 21-7 victory over Armagh's Charly Shanks.

And, less than 24 hours later, he made an appearance for the Cavan senior footballers in their league victory over neighbours Fermanagh.

Brady's victory at the Kingscourt Handball Complex saw him equal Pat Kirby's long-standing record of six consecutive All-Ireland senior singles titles.

The victory also enabled him to equal Kilkenny legend Michael Walsh's record of seven in total.

In front of a capacity crowd, both players served up a cracking first set before Brady edged through 21-17.

The Breffni man then produced a scintillating performance in the second set, leading 18-2 at one stage, before the resilient Armagh man staged a comeback with five consecutive aces.

However, to the delight of the large Cavan fan-base, Brady reeled off three dazzling serves and killshots to claim victory.

Following his record-equalling success, the Cavanman pointed out that "records are not there to be equalled, they are there to be beaten and that is what I'll be targeting to do next year".

Brady will now focus his attentions on the doubles championship, in which he and partner Michael Finnegan, will be out for avenge last year's final defeat by Mayo's Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann.

"We lost the senior doubles final last season and we are very eager to reclaim that cup," said Brady.

Charly Shanks, who was contesting his first final, was optimistic in defeat against one of the all-time greats of the game.

"This was the first step for me in getting to the final and it will take an incredible effort to get back and defeat Paul," said the Clann Eireann clubman. "He is such a special player."

Irish Independent

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