IN sunny California Clann Eireann’s Charly Shanks made it all the way to the final in the 62nd US National Handball tournament.
And on route he overcame quite a few difficult opponents.
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 US 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.
The Clann Eireann man easily overcame Dylan Hernandez, California, in his first game and Johnathan Iglesias, Florida, in his second game.
Charly then produced his first shock of the tournament, overcoming number three seed, Arizona’s Sean Lenning, with a 21-10, 17-21, 21-0 win in the quarter-finals.
Shanks then faced USA number one, Luis Moreno, where he delivered the biggest result of the championship, taking down Moreno in two straight games on a scoreline of 21-19, 21-10 to secure his final spot in the US Nationals for the very first time.
Reaching the final however presented itself a different test altogether.
A repeat of the 2010 and 2011 All-Ireland finals it was Shanks against Brady.
The three time World Champion, Paul Brady laid all his cards on the table, clearly 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 by winninig 21-10 21-10.
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.