Irish stars target US Open glory

Armagh’s Charlie Shanks is just one of a group of players from Ireland who will compete for the last major USA prize of 2011 in the 40×20 game this weekend as he travels to California for the Simple Green US Open of handball.

Shanks, alongside Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy, who won the Irish Nationals 40×20 crown back in May, will lead the Irish charge in the singles bracket against the elite professionals from the USA, Mexico and Canada at the Los Caballeros Sports Village in Fountain Valley.

Cavan’s Paul Brady, who continues his recovery from a severe finger injury picked up at the end of last season will combine with regular partner, Michael Finnegan, for the doubles crown. Mayo’s Dessie Keegan and Limerick’s Seamus O’Carroll will also be in contention for the doubles honours.

2011 Irish Nationals champion, McCarthy will be back in competitive action for the first time since his M Donnelly GAA Handball 60×30 win over Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy last month. McCarthy and New York based Shanks will be feared by many of the best players from across the Atlantic.

Two weeks ago, 28 year old Shanks came within a point of ousting USA number 2 Naty Alvarado in the quarter finals of the first stop on the US Tour, losing out 11-10 in the tiebreak in Idaho. That will have provided the Ulster man with a terrific confidence boost as he bids to become just the third player from the Emerald Isle to collect a win on the US pro circuit. Cork’s Tony Healy and Breffni man, Brady are the only two men to achieve such status to date. “I was a bit disappointed I lost 11-10 in the quarters in Idaho but I’m trying to take as many positives from that defeat as I can. There are a few things I can take from that experience and learn from it,” said Shanks.

“The US Open will be a big event as always and all the top players will be there. As far as I’m concerned, there are 6 or 7 players that could win it and it is really wide open. I’ve just about got over the aches and pains from Idaho and now I’m back on the road again for Los Angeles. Last year I finished 6th overall so I’ll be hoping to do better again this year.”

Mullahoran star, Brady who claimed a record breaking seventh straight 40×20 championship win back in Ireland last May is regarded as the number one player in the world. But Brady has slipped down in the US rankings due to his absence from the major events since his injury. He had to withdraw from the US Nationals back in June, where he would have been pursuing a seventh successive victory in Minnesota.

As he continues that ultimate objective of getting back to full fitness in order to defend his world crown in Dublin next October, Brady commented, “the US Open is still part of my recovery, hence the reason I’ve decided to play doubles. I decided to forget about the remainder of the season back in May after the injury. Right now, it’s all about giving the injury as much time as possible to get fully healed and more importantly to be ready for next year. I also want to take these few months to continue to compete at a less intense level and to re-charge the batteries and be fresh and ready for next year.”

Action gets under way this Thursday in the singles division and can be viewed as a live internet stream with full details available.

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The WPH will be filming and webcasting the 5th US open this next weekend from Fountain Valley, California.

The WPH video production has improved a lot as we have access to a satellite van now; multiple cameras, graphics, play-by-play, announcers, instant replay, commercials, interviews and all the production elements that you will see on a major sporting event. Best of all, we will have gust announcers in the booth; Naty Alvarado, Fred Lewis, et al.

Luckily for handball fans, the talent will be the best in the world, as Brady, Chapman, Bike, Alvarado, Garner, Lenning, Moreno, etc, will all be featured on the web. In fact, all players in the WPH Race4Eight will be there participating. In fact, Aisling Reilly will be defending her title, Dessie Keegan will be on hand, Charles Shanks, Mike Finnegan, Mike Gregan, and many, many more…

We will even do a pre game show in the mornings and have live call ins with a set we are building at the facility.

Attached is the webcast schedule. It’s simple, you can go to www.race4eight.com to watch. We are now in High Definition.

Here is a sample of what the WPH webcasts look like: http://www.youtube.com/weplayhandball#p/u/208/E-ee8iA8zU8

This new video viewing website is fast, user-friendly and easy to navigate through.
There is a cost to view:
– $14.95 for up to 30 live matches over the weekend
– $99.00 annual pass; about 200-300 live matches

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