Monday 23 April 2018

Handball: Canavan hails GAA's 'best kept secret'

Paul Fitzpatrick

Excitement is building at CityWest for the first round of the Men's Open Singles at the World Handball Championships -- and the event has already received the seal of approval from Tyrone football legend Peter Canavan.

"If you're going to be around Dublin this weekend, I urge you to call out to CityWest and check out the action, it truly is amazing," said Canavan, who was at the event yesterday as coach to a team of players from his school, Holy Trinity in Cookstown.

Canavan described the sport as "the best-kept secret in the GAA" and added that, having only become involved two years ago, he was "astonished by the athleticism of the players and the passion for the game".

The Men's Open Singles serves off at 2.0 today, with the meeting of reigning champion Paul Brady and New Yorker Cesar Sala the star attraction at the 3,000-seater arena.

The Cavan man -- winner in 2003, 2006 and 2009 -- is favourite to retain his title but will have to dismantle a top-class field which includes 30 of the world's top 32 players.

He got the ball rolling with a 21-5 demolition of Pittsburgh's David Fink on Thursday in a special Ireland v USA team exhibition, which the Americans won, underlining the threat they pose to the hopes of the Irish players.

"The show court is nice and the ball is fast so I'm happy enough, I didn't want to do too much," said Brady afterwards.

"I had a little bit of trouble seeing the ball in the glass on the left side wall but it's a matter of getting used to it."

In other action, former Irish senior champion and two-time World Open finalist Tony Healy takes on rising New York star Tyree Bastidas, a One Wall specialist who will need to be at his explosive best to see off the methodical Corkman.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport