Paul Brady delighted to get back to winning ways in the Big Apple
PAUL Brady flew off to New York last week with no high expectations of continuing his unbeaten record at the Big Apple Athletic Club.
It was the first time that the Cavan man was challenging for victory in a R48 ProStop tournament since his dramatic withdrawal from the semi-finals at the World Championships, in Minneapolis, last August.
Injuries received in training before the Worlds stood up to the rigours of matches until the semi-final stage, as Brady was bidding to increase his magnificent record of five consecutive world senior titles, over the previous 15 years.
“I felt that the injuries would not hold up any longer so I had to pull out of the semi-final [against Galway's Martin Mulkerrins],” said Brady.
“It was surely extremely disappointing but the only good thing was that I wasn't defeated and I remain that way in the Worlds Open Championship.”
He was on crutches for six weeks but work on the injuries brought him back to active service again and he entered the invitational NYAC event, one of the major outings on the US Pro Tour.
“I had no real expectations. I went to New York quite relaxed. I wanted to see where I was at on the big stage again. I didn't know what to expect and I was prepared to win or lose.
“I was throwing myself in at the deep end again and I didn't really know what stage of comeback I was at, so I was prepared for to win or to lose. Thankfully, things went well and, of course, I was delighted to win the tournament again.
“However, I know I still have a lot of work to do to get back to where I was last year before I got the injuries.
“Things are coming along, however, and I have played two football matches with my club (Mullahoran Dreadnaughts) in the league again. I feel OK but, as I say, there is still work to be done.”
People many have been writing off the 39-year-old Breffni legend who, for almost a decade, was a member of the Cavan senior football team and who also was included in an Ulster Railway Cup squad, as well as raking in handball trophies in Ireland and abroad, but it appears that he is utterly determined to prove those doubters wrong.
Having fought his way back to fitness and to the winner's rostrum yet again, the Cavan Town schoolteacher is filling up his handball diary with more top class events.
“I will enter the Players' Championship in Salt Lake City next month and play in the US Nationals in June and, yes, I do hope to be back in the Irish Championship next year,” he said.
“For now, I will take each tournament as it comes and see how I get on. I was delighted to win the New York event and to prove to myself that I was well on the way to full recovery.
“It was devastating to have to pull out of the Worlds, last August, but, thankfully, I have now put that behind me and it is on to what happens from here.”
He certainly proved in New York that his utter determination is still evident as he dismissed the challenge of Cesar Sala from the Bronx at 4 and 4, David Fink (Tucson, Arizona) in a 15-3 shootout, the in-form Dan Cordova (Illinois) in another play-off 15-7 and, finally, current Irish champion Robert McCarthy 15-13, 15-4 in the final to, once more, win the title and collect the $1.5k prize money.
Presently, football is on his mind.
“We were relegated the year before last but we won Division Two and the Intermediate Championship to get back up to senior level this season.
“We want to make a big drive for the senior championship again so that is a big aim for this summer.”