Perseverance pays off for Curly Lambert as he takes All Ireland 60×30 junior singles title in dramatic fashion
Report by AOB
Paul (Curly) Lambert has had many disappointments in his quest to win an All Ireland 60×30 junior singles title over the past five years, but he never lost faith in his own ability to do so and at the newly renovated Fahy’s Cross court in County Offaly yesterday, he finally crossed that line into the intermediate grade with a 20-21, 21-20, 21-4 win over Kevin Craddock, Galway.
Behind that scoreline is a story of near heartbreak once again for the Wexford star as he faced into a 20-11 deficit in the second game, having already lost the first by the minimum margin of 21-20. At that stage he was odds on to lose his fourth junior singles final in six years, but from somewhere he found the inspiration to recover his focus and stage a winning fight back. Three times Craddock served for the championship from there to the end of the game, but on each occasion Lambert refused to give it up and after he eventually pulled it back to 20-20, he took the first opportunity presented to him to level the tie at one game all.
The third game was all about Lambert as he brilliantly shook off the shackles of those previous defeats to romp home 21-4 for a victory that had looked well and truly beyond him earlier in the match.
It was back in 2010 that Lambert first took his place in an All Ireland junior singles final against Declan Frawley, Clare and when that loss was followed by others against Brendan Fleming, Cork in 2013 and Martin Raftery, Leitrim last year, the doubts crept in about his ability to get the job done in the 60×30 court.
True his rising graph may have stabilized a little in the past few years, but settling down and raising a family is a life changing experience and it is to his enormous credit that he managed to win this championship in a year when he did not have the time to dedicate himself to the type of training he would normally engage in.
He now joins an exclusive band of only 9 Wexford players who have won this title since its inception back in 1928 and the first since Raymond Breen was successful back in 1996. He will take his rightful place in the intermediate grade in 2016 and if he can find the time to get himself ready then he has all the tools required to be a live contender in this higher grade.
In the meantime we commend ‘Curly’ on his perseverance and courage, which, when all is said and done, you win nothing without.