It was a night of action packed drama in the Newry and District Pool individuals as the competition kicked off its 1st round. Every year there a shocks and surprises galore and this year it was no different. There will be a new name on the singles trophy after last years surprise winner James O'Hagan (Dan's C) bowed out at the hands of the ruthless Karl McGuinness (Orchard Bar). It's debatable whether that was a shock result or not but last years beaten finalist Raymie McKenna (TJ's A) getting KO'd at the hands of David Cromie (Orchard Bar) is a monumental shock.
Dan's Bar had one the best line-ups of the 1st round and Niall O'Hare (TJ's D) took on top player Eugene McDermott (TJ's A) to get things started. Neither player like to shy away from a pot and it was N.Ireland U23 player O'Hare the edged this cracker 2-1
Laurence McAlinden (TJ's A) was up next and he was taking on the 'king' of Social Media Michael 'Tornado' Feenan (Whitecross). Feenan has the potential but Larry has the talent and it was not surprising the TJ's ace won at a canter 2-0. Feenan can certainly talk the talk but as of yet he can't walk the walk.
It was the game they were all waiting on up next. Karl McGuinness v James 'Dingy' O'Hagan. McGuinness was merciless as he smashed the champion 2-0 with some equisite pool to win 2-0 and beat O'Hagan on his home table.
Last but not least Tristan Byrne (TJ's A) fresh from his successful trip to France for the European Pool Championships took on the useful Shane Phelan (Whitecross). Phelan will be kicking himself as he missed a great chance to knockout the brilliant Byrne but the TJ's quadruple winner held his nerve to squeeze through 2-1.
Armagh/Down hosted some big games too. Manny Byrne (TJ's A) who represented N.Ireland A team in February at the Euro's took on Paddy Tavey (Sheepbridge) who represented N.Ireland B. Byrne got 2 shots early in the 1st frame and cleared. Tavey missed a tricky black to level and Byrne cleared for 2-0.
Marty O'Callaghan and Joseph McTaggart both of Whitecross went head to head in the 2nd game and this one went to form as the impressive O'Callaghan hit form to cruise through 2-0.
Jack Courtney (TJ's A) then beat Damien Kearney (Hustlers) 2-1 in a game where both players had good chances.
One of the favourites Harvey Lavelle (Sheepbridge) played some cagey pool en-route to tight 2-1 win over Paddy O'Callaghan (Whitecross).
Big games in Nan's Rams saw former Divison 1 and overall individual winner Declan McMahon (TJ's A) cruised to the last 64 with a good 2-0 win over Shane McMahon (Dan's C).
Ralph Cromie is having an excellent season with Bears but he could never have imagined beating the super potting Gerard McGuigan (McGuigan's A). But it's fair to say Cromie rode his luck and McGuigan certainly wasn't at his best as Cromie won 2-0.
We in the blog have been looking forward to seeing the supremely talented Rony O'Reilly (McGuigan's C) in the singles and he didn't disappoint with a comfortable 2-0 win over Stephen Johnston who was playing on his own Nan's Rams table.
Barney Preece (Nan's Rams) was due to play Eddie Lee and Preece progressed due to the Cue Club pulling out of the leg and therefore their players are out of all the competitions.
Into TJ's and former individuals champion Cathal Phelan (Whitecross) made it safely into the last 64 but the 2-0 scoreline doesn't tell the whole story. Oran Keenan (Armagh/Down) was happy enough going toe to toe in a tactical battle but the ex-Corrinshego player Phelan won both frames on a re-spotted black after both frames went the full 20mins.
Pat Byrne (Carrickcruppen) was to good for Whitecross star player Mickey O'Hanlon as Byrne won 2-0 with some brilliant potting.
Paddy Phillips (Boyds) eased through 2-0 against Shane McVerry (McGuigan's C).
Kieran McMahon (CWC) had a slight fright from league Chairman Kevin Magee (Hustlers). Had Magee taken his chances the 2-0 scoreline wouldn't have been just as one sided looking.
TJ's table 2 saw wins for Cormac Duffy (Maddens), Shane McAllister (Hustlers), Martin McVeigh (Carrickcuppen) and Alan Burke (Whitecross).
TJ's table 3 Shane Durnin (Armagh/Down) had a superb 2-0 win over Premier Division player John McClorey (CWC).
Ciaran Hanna (McGuigan's A) was brilliant in his 1st frame but had to dig deep to squeeze past Steady Eddie Heaney (Bears) 2-1.
Mickey Cunningham (Hustlers) had a tricky looking tie against Granvue top scorer Paul Bruen but cruised to the last 64 2-0.
Paul Taylor (TJ's C) was not on form as he was beaten bye useful Mike Nugent (Nan's Rams) (0-2).
TJ's table 4 Neil Heaney (Bears) had a fantastic 2-0 win over Orchard Bar captain Lee Irvine.
Daniel McGuigan (McGuigan's A) had a good tight battle with Ritchie Magee (Granvue) with the Premier player McGuigan edged a decider 2-1.
Niall McVerry had a titanic battle with Barry Murphy (Hustlers) but the Sheepbridge McVerry sneaked it 2-1.
Leigh McAlinden (Nan's Rams) had a very good 2-0 win over Seamus Keenan (Bears).
In CWC Gerard Hatre (Armaghdown) and Paul Murphy went through to the last 64.
Seamus Graham (Dan's C) had a terrific win over a talented Sean McKevitt (Bears).
Jamie Lavelle was in top form when he hammered the erratic Damien 'Diddles' McArdle 2-0
In Carrickcruppen Noel Bradley (McGuigan's C) was excellent beating higher league opposition in Barry McAllister (Carrickcuppen) 2-0.
Paul Hughes (Carrickcuppen) edged a low quality game with Callim McParland 2-1.
Seamus McVerry (Dan's C) strolled past Keith Gilbraith (McGuigan's B) 2-0
One of the big shocks of the night was Gavin McNally (TJ's D) beating former individual winner Paul O'Callaghan (McGuigan's A).
In Bears Damien Flannaghan (McGuigan's A), Adrian Annett (TJ's D), Darren McCloskey (Orchard) and Gareth McCann (Whitecross) all won through as favourites to the last 64 draw.
In Boyds Pat McClenaghan (Nan's Rams) beat higher league opposition in Jimmy McVerry (Dan's C) 2-0
Conor Dullaghan and Shane Feehan both of Granvue went head to head and it went with form as Dullaghan won 2-0.
A huge battle between Stevie Noades (TJ's D) and Windmill top scorer Aaron O'Callaghan was the highlight in Boyds. Noades needed all his experience to scrape through 2-1.
Tom Hughes (Hustlers) had a comfy 2-0 win over Mark Pentony (Nan's Rams) 2-0.
Out in Orchard bar Gavin Malone and Brian O'Neill both of Whitecross and Seamus McGeoghegan (Sheepbridge) won comfortable to the last 64.
Kieran Hanna ( McGuigan's A) made it a Daddy and Son double as he was in top form beating a very good Martin McClelland 2-0.
In Bellinis Emmet Fearon (Murphys) had a terrific win over higher league opponent Paul McAreavey (McGuigan's A) 2-1.
Jimmy O'Hare (Nan's Rams) and Diarmuid Lonergan (Sheepbridge) both made it to the last 64.
Mervyn Kernaghan (Orchard Bar) caught Richard Fletcher ( Boyds) on top form as Fletcher eased through 2-0.
In Moore's Bar John Magee (McGuigan's A) put his abysmal league form behind him to record an excellent 2-0 win over a useful Sean Rice (TJ's D)
In the shock of the night David Cromie (Orchard) edged last years runner-up Raymond McKenna (TJ's A) 2-1 as we mentioned at the start of the blog.
TJ's all conquering captain Declan McConville hammered Malachy Maguire 2-0.
Matty Cartmill had a bye.
In McGuigan's Cathal McCoy (Hustlers) had a good win over a decent Kieran Loughran (Forresters) 2-0.
Tony McGovern (Orchard Bar) scraped past dangerous opponent Kenny Gilbraith (McGuigan's B) 2-1.
Anthony Morgan (Hustlers) stuck with the script as he ousted Christopher Smith (Dan's C) 2-0.
That completes the blog on the 1st round of the singles. The draw for the 2nd round will be online shortly. Back to league action next Thursday - March 3rd. Would all players that like the blog please share it with there friends thanks ..