All roads lead to Abbeylara HC, Longford this Saturday for the GAA Handball All-Ireland Men’s 40x20 final.
An enthralling encounter is in prospect, and history is in store for whoever wins, as Cavan’s Paul Brady squares up to Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy.
Brady, arguably the greatest player to have played 40x20, is gunning for an astonishing nine Senior Singles titles in a row, and ten in 11 years.
Brady, who won his fourth World Handball title last October in Citywest, has blitzed his way to the final, never conceding more than 10 aces in a single game, and has looked in imperious form as he continues his record breaking quest.
This feat becomes all the more impressive when considering the list of experiences players he has defeated on route to the final: Brendan Fleming (Last 16 – 21-9, 21-6), Owen McKenna (QF – 21-4, 21-10) and Ricky McCann (SF - 21-10, 21-4).
Brady’s commitment and dedication for perfection will see him enter the court on Saturday as favourite to claim glory.
Mullingar’s McCarthy, however, stands in Brady’s way, and will be confident in his own ability to wrestle the crown from Brady.
McCarthy’s natural talent is undeniable.
As a junior he swept the boards with all that was in front of him.
And at senior level he has achieved some excellent wins, most notably being his 2011 US Open title.
Similar to Brady, McCarthy had it mostly his own way en route to the final, barring one enthralling battle with Meath’s Brian Carroll in the QF’s: Johnny Willoughby (Last 16 – 21-3, 21-7), Brian Carroll (QF – 21-15, 18-21, 21-11) and Dominick Lynch (21-10, 21-9).
Having reached the 2012 All-Ireland 40x20 final, McCarthy will be hoping it is his turn this time round as he bids for his own piece of glory.
Defeating Brady is one of the few milestones McCarthy has yet to conquer, and one that means this weekends contest will be a fascinating duel.
Doors will be open from 3.45pm, with Adult entry costing €20, and Juvenile entry costing €10.
The Minor Singles Final between Wexford’s Galen Riordan & Clare’s Colin Crehan will begin proceedings at 4.30pm.