Paul Brady has US handball Nationals in his sights
PAUL BRADY has already decided enough is enough as far as the World Championships are concerned, but he is determined to continue chasing more honours in the US, with the Nationals very much in his sights.
That occasion will take place in Minnesota on June 14 to 19 and it holds a special attraction for the Cavan man. He won his tenth US Nationals' title in 2015 and the only year he missed playing, from his debut win in 2005, was in 2011 the last time that Minnesota hosted the competition. Injury ruled Brady out of action that year. Naty Alvarado holds the record of 11 National titles so Brady is mustard keen to, at least, match that magnificent deed as injury in 2011 may well have cost him getting his 11th crown last season.
Meanwhile, the Breffni battler is beginning to build up to the 62nd US Nationals with participation this weekend in the WPH R48 ProStop No 3 in New Orleans, in association with the Mardi Gras. Brady began last year with a 21-5, 21-7 hammering of Sean Lenning in Houston and there is no reason to doubt that the Irish man's trail of success in the US is going to end this weekend.
However, there is a lot of talent in the draw, including Lenning, but Brady has beaten them all before. His great rival Luis Moreno is again in opposition and, as he has edged back to his former self after a dip in his form, he could be a big danger again. Emmett Peixoto, Mondo Ortiz, David Fink and Daniel Cordova are there, too, while Tipperary's Stephen Cooney gives Ireland a second chance but Brady must be expected to begin his 2016 season like he finished 2015 with victory.
Nearer home, finals in the various Ulster Championships will be decided this weekend with Charly Shanks defending the men's title and Aisling Reilly aiming to hold on to the ladies' tiara. Coláiste Feirste will be a busy place and it's there, tomorrow, that Lurgan man Shanks will face Tyrone's Shane O'Neill in the quarter-finals at 11.00am. The winner will then play in the semi-finals at four o'clock. The men's final will be played at the same venue on Sunday.
The ladies' decider also takes place at Coláiste Feirste on Sunday when Aisling Reilly and Lorraine Havern do battle for the title. Only three females entered the senior competition this year but Maeve McElduff had to withdrew due to injury giving one-wall specialist Havern a bye into the final.
World and Irish singles' champion Reilly, a former pupil at Coláiste Feirste, should hold on to her Ulster title.