Friday 15 December 2017

Brady breezes past McCarthy to stay on track for five-in-a-row

Paul Brady, Cavan, in attendance at the World Handball Championships 2015 launch
Paul Brady, Cavan, in attendance at the World Handball Championships 2015 launch

Paul Fitzpatrick

The stage is set for the first all-Irish open singles final at the World Handball Championships since 2006 - and, like nine years ago, it's Cavan versus Cork again today in Calgary (6pm Irish time).

In the blue corner is defending champion Paul Brady (above), on a 'drive for five' after winning the triennial event four times in succession, who booked his place in the decider with a 21-12, 21-7 dismantling of Ireland captain Robbie McCarthy yesterday.

McCarthy had been making the right sounds, stating that he no longer feared Brady, but the Cavan man was relentless.

While Brady didn't reach the brilliant heights he is capable of, his power and aggressive serving had the Mullingar man sending out distress flares early on and he rode the momentum from game one into a 16-1 lead in the second.

McCarthy, having made some uncharacteristic hand errors, rallied briefly but Brady (35) closed it out to reach his fifth successive final, where he will pair off against 21-year-old Cork sensation Killian Carroll.

The Mallow man, the Irish Nationals champion, upset American No 2 seed Luis Moreno in the quarter-final in a dramatic 11-9 tiebreaker and he turned in a flawless performance last night in dismissing left-handed former Clare underage hurler Diarmaid Nash in straight games.

Brady will enter the final as favourite; the showdown should throw up an intriguing clash of styles, the Breffni man's explosive power in contrast to the Rebel youngster's incredible speed and retrieving.

Meanwhile, Belfast's reigning ladies champion Aisling Reilly and her great rival, young Cork player Cathriona Casey, were last night still on course to clash in the Ladies Open final as expected in today's final.

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