Paul Brady (Cavan) and Aisling Reilly (Antrim) have retained their World Titles at the recent Handball World Championships in the University of Calgary.
Paul Brady cemented his legendary status in the game with what is likely an achievement never to be repeated with his 5th consecutive World title. In one of the strongest Open fields in World Championship history, Brady showed his class by somewhat breezing through the division with his power, conceding a miserable average of 15 points per match. His performance in the World Final was arguably his most complete performance ever, against a sensational player himself in Killian Carroll. Keeping Carroll to single figures in both games, at the age of 35 is remarkable.
In the aftermath, an emotional Brady, talked about the pressure on him to deliver a fifth crown.
“I’ve had to handle pressure for the past twelve years – you get used to it; it becomes your companion” he said.
“But I’ve had a target on my back and winning this one is special because it took a lot of consideration about whether or not to compete for it; I can tell you now I’m definitely glad I did.”
Antrim’s Aisling Reilly is now a double World Champion. Coming into the Championships, pretty much everyone expected a Reilly v Catriona Casey final, and both girls delivered. Casey appeared to have the edge over Reilly on US soil for the past year and after a dominant 21-10 first game win in the final it looked as if the pattern was going to continue. But Team Ireland captain Reilly showed real mettle to turn the tide with a 21-16, 11-6 win in the next two games to retain her title in dramatic fashion. Reilly added a second gold in the Ladies Open Doubles with Martina McMahon.
GAA Team Ireland won a total of 20 medals in the World Championships. A complete round-up can be viewed on the GAA Handball website at www.gaahandball.ie/news/major-honours-for-team-ireland