PAUL BRADY WILL attempt to complete a clean sweep on world 40×20 Open titles tonight when he partners with Michael Finnegan to take on Americans Luis Moreno and Andy Nett in the Open Doubles final.
The Cavanmen ground out a win in a bitterly-contested semi-final against Tom Sheridan (Meath) and Eoin Kennedy (Dublin) last night, having played second fiddle for long periods.
Sheridan and Kennedy led 19-11 in game one before Cavan turned things around, Finnegan changing to a power serve down the right and Brady finding his killing range to steal the game 21-19.
Game two took over an hour but saw Kennedy/Sheridan pull from 7-7 to win 21-8, but the tiebreaker saw a massive swing in momentum.
The Kingscourt clubmen – world champions in this grade nine years ago – tore out of the traps and led by 9-0 after just five minutes. Their shell-shocked opponents pulled back two points but the Cavan pair closed it out 11-2.
For Finnegan, who won the title with Kennedy in 2009, tonight will mark a fourth successive world Open Doubles final.
Moreno, as the hundreds of Cavan folk who attended the singles final on Tuesday night will know, is in top form and he combines well with Minnesota’s Nett, who has one of the best serves in the sport.
They cruised through a weak field at the US Nationals last June but proved their worth with a gritty win over Brian Carroll and Robbie McCarthy last evening, losing the first 21-6 before winning the second and handing out a rare “doughnut” – 11-0 – in the decider.
The Breffni duo will start as favourites but they’ll need to perform consistently over the full match. Many of their points last night came from two-wall pass shots from the Gunner – both men will need to up their kill ratio, but there is no reason to believe they won’t.
Finnegan is still the king of the front court and if he dominates Nett like he can, and Brady retains the intensity he showed on Tuesday night, it should be enough.
The Men’s final serves off at 7.30pm, but will be preceded by an all-Irish Ladies Open decider.
Fiona Shannon gained revenge over her singles conqueror Aisling Reilly when she and sister Sibéal Gallagher saw off Reilly and Down’s Lorraine Havern 21-19, 21-14 in the semi-final.
They will meet Kerry pair Maria Daly and Ashley Prendiville, who defeated Canadians Lisa Fraser-Gilmore and Jessica Gawley.
Meanwhile, the One Wall grades are in full swing. There has been some disappointment here over the lay-out of the courts, which are undoubtedly too close together. This has caused endless disruption, which is a real irritation in a week which has been more or less flawless otherwise.
The flamboyant New Yorkers are dominating most grades in the code, although the Irish are still well-represented and there have been outstanding performances from Dutch and Belgian sides, as well as Team GB.