Handball world championships: Glory awaits Brady in final act

Paul FitzPatrick looks forward to tonight’s men’s singles final where Cavan’s Paul Brady will look to win his fourth World Handball title against Luis Moreno.

AND THEN THERE were two.

Almost 4,000 fervent spectators will pack the arena at CityWest this evening at 6.30pm to watch Paul Brady take on young American Luis Moreno in the final of the Men’s Open Singles at the World Handball Championships in a match which has the makings of an epic.

Brady has won the blue riband event at the triennial tournament on three occasions – 2003, 2006 and 2009 – and has already revealed that this evening’s match will be his last singles game at a World Championships. After this, he’s done.

He’ll be desperate to go out on a high but he’ll have to play well to do so.

Moreno is no slouch; nor is he likely to roll over and play dead at the first sign of Brady – lean, mean and majestic – warming up like so many others do.

The Tucson man is one of the few contenders in the sport to hold a career win over the Gunner – he stunned the Cavanman in an 11-10 tiebreaker in the quarter-final of the US Open in Los Angeles four years ago this month.

Armed with that, he’ll enter the arena with confidence tonight. His fitness or form are not in question, as he has proven with three very convincing wins over Tyree Bastidas, Charly Shanks and, last night, Robbie McCarthy.

He’ll go for the big shots and is streaky – if he kills two, he could flatten another half-dozen.

The consensus, however, is that Brady will do it. Nobody is better conditioned, nobody has a greater pedigree or such willpower. Twice, Brady has won a world title in a tiebreaker effectively on one leg – in 2003 when he cramped up against Tony Healy at Croke Park and three years ago when he defied medical advice to win in Portland, Oregon with a badly-torn quad.

If Brady’s serve is on, and there’s nothing to suggest it won’t be, Moreno will be under pressure form the off. His returns will invariably provide set-ups and nobody kills the ball as consistently or as low as the Mullahoran man.

Shanks expects Brady to take it, as do all the Irish players we’ve spoken to. It won’t be easy, and a tiebreaker is not beyond the realms of possibility, but Brady should find a win. He always does.

About the author:

Paul Fitzpatrick

Read next: