Mid Ulster Snooker League

THE Hayes Fuels Mid Ulster league continued on Monday night with Swa Men recording yet another impressive 5-1 victory to move to the top of the table. Reigning champions Peter Reilly, Paul McGuckin and Mickey Quinn now playing out of the Pot Black club are in hot pursuit of the leaders.

Swa Men travelled to leaders Johnny’s and came with an emphatic 5-1 victory. Team captain Mark Doherty was in terrific form as he accounted for an out of sorts Frankie Trolan. Gerry McAuley got a frame on the board against Martin McLarnon but excellent potting from the Swatragh man in the second frame extended the lead to 3-1. Dermot McAuley tried his best to limit the damage but found Seamus Lagan in superb form and he could do little to prevent the Swa Men claiming a deserved 5-1 victory that moves them to top of the table.

Pot Black remains one point behind the leaders following a 4-2 victory over St Pat’s B in Cookstown. Mickey Quinn and Kieran Cassidy shared the opening two frames and when Paul McGuckin potted a superb pink and black to share with Enda McCusker it was left to Sean Doyle and Peter Reilly to battle it out for victory.

Reilly claimed the opening frame but Doyle fought back to lead the second frame. It looked certain that the match would end level but Reilly had other ideas and he fought back to claim a narrow victory and a 4-2 success for his side.

St Kevin’s responded in the ideal way to last week’s drubbing by claiming all six points against a disappointing Longfield side. Jordan Shivers, Kevin Murray and Dessie Murray proved too hot to handle for Philip O’Hagan, Noel McAllister and Seamus Kane and left the Desertmartin men with a mountain to climb if they are to rescue their season.

St Patrick’s Snooker Club Magherafelt will once again be making the trip south to Killarney for this season’s All Ireland Club Championships to be held in February. After many years of trying to qualify the Magherafelt outfit has now qualified four out of the last five years.

The team had to battle back from the brink in qualifying but the experience from previous seasons stood to them as they responded to the pressure. The opening match brought St Pat’s up against West Club from Belfast and the Magherafelt side got off to the worst possible start. The five man team play a match each and the first team to win three matches claims the point. Peter Reilly and Paul McGuckin faced the toughest draws and it showed as they both lost 3-0 although it would be fair to say that both Reilly and McGuckin were not at their best. Brian Milne and Gerry McAuley were both trailing 1-0 but battled back to lead 2-1 as Kieran Cassidy surrendered a 2-0 lead in his match to leave his game at 2-2.

By the time Cassidy started his deciding frame Milne and McAuley had fought back to level the match at 2-2 and therefore the deciding frame in Cassidys match would determine the match for both teams. The Magherafelt man put in a superb effort under extreme pressure to deservedly take the frame on the brown ball and in doing so claimed a valuable point for his side. The second match paired the Derry men with QE1 from Belfast and a victory would secure a trip to the finals in February.

This match could not have been any closer as every match went to the deciding frame. Kieran Cassidy was unlucky to lose 3-2 and will look back on a snooker he failed to escape from on five occasions in the decider as the main reason for defeat.

Brian Milne leveled matters as he secured as 3-2 victory as did Gerry McAuley in his match to leave the St Pat’s men 2-1 in front. Paul McGuckin could not have been any closer to securing his sides place in Killarney as he lost out narrowly on the final black ball. As a result it was left to Peter Reilly and his match also went down to the last black. Reillys experience showed as he played four superb safety shots on the black as he forced his opponent into the first mistake. Under extreme pressure Reilly was able to hold his nerve and secure his sides place in the All Ireland Finals.

Congratulations to Pot Black’s Mickey Quinn who also will be in Killarney as a member of the St Patrick’s Dungannon side that also qualified.

Players are reminded that the six red competition will take place on Monday 19th December with a 7.15pm start time. The draw will take place at 7pm and entry fee will be £3 per player. Any players not registered by 7pm will not be included in the draw.

League Table

Played Points

Swa Men 12 10

Pot Black 12 9

Johnny’s 12 7

St Kevin’s 12 7

St Pat’s B 12 5

St Pat’s A 6 3

Longfield 12 1

St Pat’s C 6 0

Fixtures Monday 5th December- St Kevin’s v St Pat’s C, Swa Men v St Pat’s A, Pot Black v Longfield & St Pat’s B v Johnny’s