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Handball: Paul Brady reigns supreme in 2016 opener

Aisling Reilly, Antrim, left, and Paul Brady, Cavan. Brady eased to victory in the 2016 opener WPH R48Pro Stop in New Orleans 
Tony McGee

IT is no great surprise that Paul Brady has begun the year in the US as he intends to go on. He easily worked his way to success in the 2016 opener WPH R48Pro Stop in New Orleans with victory over countryman Killian Carroll without ever conceding double figures in any game.

Brady’s toughest test surprisingly came from unrated Texan Adam Bernhard, but the Cavan man survived that with something to spare as he dismissed his opponent 15-9, 15-4 in the Round of 16. 

He then went on to defeat Daniel Cordova at six and seven before sending experienced David Finkfrom Tucson, Arizona packing 15-6, 15-2 – the same scores as Fink had beaten Luis Cordova.

Cork man Carroll, who is currently based in Boston, had to qualify for the tournament but, seeded number one, that proved no problem and he stormed through to the ProStop final and a meeting with Brady.

Carroll first disposed of Californian Emmett Peixoto in a 15-13 tie-breaker, after failing to pick up even one point in the opening game. 

Then he turned on the powerplay to level the argument 15-13 and repeated the same figures in the shootout.

Next up for Carroll was another California player Mando Ortiz (Norwalk) who also forced the Cork man into a rubber game. Ortiz won the first at eight but Carroll bounced back to take the second at 12 and then demolished Ortiz 15-1.

Tipperary’s Stephen Cooney was, meanwhile, moving through the bottom of the draw with 15-4 and 15-14 wins over Ryan Bowler (New York) before facing powerhouse Sean Lenning. 

It was the end of the line for Cooney as his Shoreline, Washington opponent reached the semi-finals, showing his experience to beat off a stout challenge from the Irish man, winning 15-13, 15-10.

The semi-final with Carroll was as tight as a drum. For the third time in-a-row, the Leesider had to go to extra time before winning. 

As in the other two occasions, Carroll lost the first game, but only 15-13, before winning the next 15-12 and he then polished off Lenning 
15-6.

Brady didn’t need a third game to start his year on a winning note as he beat his countryman at 11 and seven and retain his position as the most feared player in the world.

Back home, it was provincial finals weekend and in Ulster, Charly Shanks retained his men’s senior singles title with a 21-9, 21-8 victory over Ricky McCann, as the Belfast man once again showed his ability, despite curtailed action nowadays.

Lorraine Havern won the ladies’ senior singles title without hitting a ball. Only three players had entered the championship with holder Aisling Reilly getting a bye into the final. Havern was due to play  Maeve McElduff in the semi-final but the Tyrone girl had to withdraw because of injury. 

Ironically, the same thing happened to Reilly who pulled out of the final because of a damaged finger thus leaving Down woman Havern the champion.

In Munster, Catriona Casey got a test from Martina McMahon before keeping the ladies’ crown but edged the result 21-15 in a tie-breaker. 

The men’s event was bulging with talent and it was CJ Fitzpatrick (Limerick) who emerged the winner after beating Colin Crehan (Clare) in a three-game final.

Martin Mulkerrins won the Connacht men’s title while Ciana Ní Churraoin got a walkover against Lauren O’Riordan in the women’s decider.

For the second year running, it was a brother-sister act in Leinster as both Robbie and Aoife McCarthy retained the titles they won last year.
 

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