The individuals is back and so is everyone's favourite blog. This is the only place were every single match is previewed and the blog stats go off the charts to prove this is the one blog everyone loves.
This year's compitition is sponsored by Destination Newry. The Online local news and sport Website will be posting the fixtures and all the results from the individuals. It is hoped they will live stream the latter stages of one of the biggest pool competitions in the island of Ireland.
Pat Brady will again be running a book this year and with the prices out already it has got the tongues wagging. Players love to see their odds which can be found on the Newry Pool Facebook page. So if you're feeling confident or see a bit of value for money then you can relieve Pat of a few more pounds if you feel the need.
Seamus McVerry upset the odds last season to claim the 2016 Singles Crown. The Dan's player was clinical last season and came through a tough field to beat Jack Courtney (TJ's A) in a pulsating final.
Champion McVerry will start his defence against Gerard Harte (Armagh/Down) in the 1st round. Nan's will be the venue for that one.
Last year's Beaten finalist Jack Courtney will take on Oran Keenan also of Armagh/Down. That game will be played in the Windmill Bar. Courtney has will be hoping to go one better this year after a couple of semi-final appearances to go with his final last year.
All Preliminary round games will be played in TJ's on Tuesday 7th March And First Round Games On Thursday 9th March.
Laurence McAlinden v Raymond McKenna
There's only one place to start and that is the clash of 2 TJ's Titans. And to top it all off the winner plays Stephen Rooney (CWC A) in the 1st round proper. The bookies can't separate McAlinden (a semi-finalist last season) and McKenna (a beaten finalist 2015). Both players are 14/1 at the time of writing the blog. Both are obviously top notch players. The only question is who can hold their nerve! McAlinden won't need reminding he bottled it against team mate Jack Courtney in the semis last Spring. Both McAlinden and McKenna messed up frame ball in the crunch title match with CWC A recently. This game could be decided on shot selection and if McAlinden can hold his nerve he might just edge a very high quality match on a decider.
Garry Powell (Bears) v Michael Feenan (Whitecross)
This will be another good quality and very attacking game. Neither player likes to get bogged down in a tactical game. Powell has a better record this season but Feenan is a superb potter and a dangerous opponent for that reason. The bookies are offering 40/1 on Feenan to lift the singles crown but the backers will be scarce. Both players have no shortage of confidence and this could go either way. Feenan's deadly single ball potting could just edge this on a decider.
Charlie Broughton Orchard Bar) v Paul McAreavey (McGuigan's A)
Another Premier Division dual that could easily go the full distance. Both inconsistent but can take out a finish. Broughton the more likely to revert to a tactical battle but McAreavey is a shrewd player and should have enough in his locker to see out a tight game.
Chris McKeown (Forresters) v Sheila Johnston (Murphy’s Bar)
McKeown has the better record but his Forresters side are only mid-table in Div 2. Johnston has picked up a few wins with her Murphy's side sitting 2nd from bottom of Division 1. She likes to play on the front foot and is a good potter. She's never going to win a tactical battle with McKeown though. The Forresters player is solid and should book his place in the 1st round proper.
Malachy Maguire (Nan's Rams) v Gavin Murphy (TJ's B)
Maguire is in good form and is a quality player for his Div 1 title chasing Nan's but opponent Murphy is one of the few shining lights for struggling TJ's B. Murphy is a super potter but Maguire has a tight all round game and it would be a surprise if Maguire doesn't progress.
Micky Langton (McGuigan's B) v Tommy Lavelle (Carrickcruppen)
Langton is holding his own for TJ's B but Lavelle holds all the aces in this game. Good potter, tactically good and can take out a finish. Looks like an early exit for Langton.
Ciaran O'Neill (Hustlers) v Barney Preece (Nan's Rams)
This has all the ingredients for a top game. Both are super potters. Both can take out a big finish but only 1 has won a singles title before. Preece won the old Division 2 singles title and won't suffer from any nerves. O'Neill is very underrated and any slip up by Preece will be punished. This could go either way but Preece has slightly more in his armour so Preece to nick it 2-1.
Liam Bradley (Trainor's Bar Camlough) v Barry Murphy (Hustlers)
Another Premier Division verses Division 1 and a close one to call. Bradley is enjoying a stunning season with Trainor's as they top Div 1. Murphy is inconsistent and will need to be on the top of his game to beat Bradley. This one will close but possibly this could be the 1st game were a Div 1 player topples a Premier Division player in the 2017 Singles.
John Little (Hustlers) v Stephen Teggart (TJ's A)
On paper this should be very one sided. Teggart is the real deal. Bags of experience, lethal potter, tactically astute, good at taking out a finish and the list goes on. Little is a decent potter and will try to go tactical but this should be out of his depth here.
Round One Individuals previews next week