In sunny California, Clann Eireann’s Charly Shanks made it all the way to the 62nd U.S. Nationals Handball Final at the weekend, overcoming a few difficult opponents enroute.
World Number One, Cavan’s Paul Brady was on the other side of the draw. In Charly’s side, clear favourite to reach the final and test Brady was U.S. Number One, New Mexico’s Luis Moreno (the only player since 2004 to have defeated Paul Brady in singles handball.) Shanks’ constant tournament play since he relocated to New Jersey last summer has stood to him and aided him to make it all the way.
Clann Eireann’s Prodigal son easily overcame Dylan Hernandez, California in his first game and Johnathan Iglesias, Florida in his second game. Charly produced his first shock of the tournament, overcoming Number Three seed, Arizona’s Sean Lenning with a 21-10, 17-21, 11-0 in the quarter-finals. Shanks then faced USA number 1, Luis Moreno, where he delivered the biggest result of the championship, taking down Moreno in two straight games on a scoreline 21-19, 21-10 to secure his final spot in the US Nationals for the very first time. For all the fans watching online at www.race4eight.com, Charly was surely worth every cent.
Reaching the final however presented itself a different test altogether. A repeat of the 2010 and 2011 All-Ireland Final – Shanks v Brady. The three time World Champion, Paul Brady laid all his cards on the table, clearing showing his intent on lifting a fourth consecutive World title in October. Brady’s play was faultless and he proved just too much for the spirited Shanks taking his seventh US Nationals title 21-10 21-10.
Our very own Shanks will return to the Emerald Isle for the month of August and will be back again to compete in the World Championships in October – watch this space!