Mid-Ulster title stays in Burn Road

Mid Ulster League Champions:- Pot Black Cookstown -  John Halferty, Paul McGuckin and Mickey Quinn.
Mid Ulster League Champions:- Pot Black Cookstown - John Halferty, Paul McGuckin and Mickey Quinn.

The Topaz Fuels Mid Ulster Snooker League reached its conclusion with yet another intriguing battle for the league title, Pot Black emerging as 2014 champions.

The likelihood of the final week being as tense as last year’s finale was always going to be a long shot but regardless the destination of the league title was still only determined on the last night.

Pot Black A, the defending champions, have been a model of consistency this season and when they had a mid-season blip they responded by taking nine out of a possible twelve points in the last two weeks and in doing so wrapped up yet another league title.

St Pat’s A battled gamely but inconsistency throughout the season proved to be the downfall as they defeated Pot Black on both occasions but slumped to a few other surprising results that effectively scuppered any hopes.

Swa Men had yet another creditable finish as did St Pat’s B but few could deny that Mickey Quinn, John Halferty, Paul Mc Guckin and Peter Reilly were deserving winners.

The second tier competition was played to a conclusion on Monday night when St Pat’s C, Longfield A, Pot Black B and St Kevin’s all returned to Magherafelt to battle it out for the second tier honours. St Kevin’s were defending champions but they had no answer to Pot Black B who ran out deserving winners and in doing so secured a place in the final.

The second semi-final between St Pat’s C and Longfield A was a much more competitive affair with the Magherafelt side only scraping home by the narrowest of margins.

The final followed a similar path to the second semi-final as Pot Black B got to the magic 4 frames first but were given an almighty scare along the way.

Brian Milne Snr shared frames with Seamus Quinn and when Ryan Morgan Shared with Feargal Quinn the outcome of the match would be determined on the outcome of Joe Loughran and Brendan ‘The Bullet’ Gilmores match. Gilmore will consider himself very unfortunate as he lost both frames on the black ball with the Cookstown chef dishing up two superb clearances to secure the title.

Swatragh veteran Martin McLarnon rolled back the years as he became the 2013/14 Mid Ulster Snooker League Handicap Individual Champion. McLarnon has always been a fine cueist but having only returned to the game after missing a period of 15 years it was not envisaged that he would be at the business end of tournaments so soon.

Having played consistently all season Mc Larnon found himself in the final against Mickey Quinn. Quinn has competed in the last three finals but has yet to get his name on the trophy as he has suffered heartbreak at the final hurdle on all three occasions.

Pot Black player Quinn got off to the better start but after the opening frame Mc Larnon got a stranglehold on the game. In receipt of a significant points start the scrappy frames were suiting Mc Larnon as Quinn struggled to claw back the points.

Despite the best efforts of Quinn he could do little to prevent Mc Larnon rattling off the next four frames to secure a well earned 4-1 victory.

The Open Individual Championship reached its conclusion on Tuesday night when Brian Milne overcame the challenge of defending champion Mickey Quinn on a scoreline of 5-1. Both players rode their luck in making the final as both were on the verge of Semi Final defeats. Quinn trailed Paul Currie 3-0 and Milne trailed Martin O’Hagan on a similar score but both managed to get the last four frames to snatch victory and in doing so secure a place in the final. Quinn got off to the better start in the final as he dominated the opening exchanges to control the opening frame which he won on the brown ball. Milne responded to the set back by taking the next three frames to lead 3-1 at the interval. The 15minute break seemed to suit Milne better as he came out all guns blazing after the interval with a break of 74 to extend his lead to 4-1. Quinn was struggling to get any fluency and when Milne snookered him on the green ball the writing was on the wall. Having missed with his first two attempts Quinn was then left in a situation that meant the Cookstown cueist need a snooker of his own. Despite a few gallant attempts it wasn’t to be as Milne potted the final pink to secure a well deserved victory.

The players involved in the held a meeting to plan ahead for next season with some exciting changes planned. The league system will remain but twelve of the players will now be playing in a separate individual championship that will run alongside the team event. It is hoped that this change will benefit all involved and will help attract more players into the league for next season.

The annual presentation night will take place in the coming weeks with a date yet to be confirmed. At this stage it is envisaged that the presentation will take place on Friday 13th June at the Old Thatch Inn, Castledawson.