Battling Berry brothers overcome the Brady bunch for a famous victory

The visit of five times world 40×20 champion Paul Brady to St. Mary’s in Wexford town last weekend drew a fine crowd to the venue for the All Ireland 60×30 intermediate doubles semi final between Wexford players Mikie and Jim Berry and Cavan representatives Paul Brady and James Brady.

Jim Berry, Mikie Berry, Paul Brady, James Brady

What followed was a fine exhibition of 60×30 handball at its best and after a long and extremely competitive match, a terrific victory for Wexford on a scoreline of 21-15, 21-18. The prodigious talent that is Paul Brady may not have been seen too often in the ‘big’ court but we saw enough here to be convinced that if he ever decides to switch his focus, he will certainly be a serious contender in the intermediate grade at least. He was ably supported throughout by his cousin James and in what was a terribly tight encounter the Brady’s were, to coin a phrase ‘close enough if they were good enough’ in each of the two games.

That they did not win in Wexford was down to a fantastic performance from both Berry brothers who matched the Breffni men shot for shot, but unlike the Ulster champions, they also possessed a killshot when the chance was there to be taken. Cavan had always looked likely to win the first game but a series of fantastic kills from Mikie Berry and a near impossible return by Jim Berry which rolled out in the right corner saw the Wexford lads stage a stirring finish to take it 21-15 and with it a platform for eventual success.

The second was another brilliant game of handball and while the Berry’s kept up the high intensity to lead for most of the way, they were certainly hanging on at the end as Paul and James Brady battled to bring the tie to a third and deciding game. It took another couple of rollouts to secure the victory their overall performance deserved and now they can look forward to a tilt at Galway in next Saturday’s final at Abbeylara.