Manny Byrne from TJ's A represented Northern Ireland A team while Tristan Byrne (TJ's A) and Paddy Tavey (Sheepbridge A) players for the 'B' team. TJ's A captain Declan McConville was phenomenal as he represented Northern Ireland C team. All 3 teams did unbelievably well to reach their respective semi finals just to fall short of the title decider.
Manny Byrne was outrageously brilliant as he won 19 of his 30 games for the A team against the elite 8 ball world rules players in the world. He finished 7th in the results table joint with 2 time world finalist Lee Kendall and 2 wins ahead of eventual European individuals runner-up and Irish team mate Dylan Leary. The new European Champion Karl Sutton finished with 22 wins from 30 games. What an ambassador for the Newry Pool league Manny Byrne is.
His Northern Ireland team battled their way to the semi-final of the team event losing out to a very strong Malta team 8-2. Malta lost the final to an all-star England team 8-7 so that shows the pedigree of the Malta team.
Manny played some fantastic pool to make it to the last 64 in the singles event. Manny won his prelim match against French international Alexandre Loret 6-5. He followed that up by beating another Frenchman Christophe Vidal-facal 6-3. Unlucky for Manny he met former World semi-finalist Rob Wharne of England in superb form and the TJ's hero bowed out 6-3.
In the 'B' section Tristan Byrne was brilliant winning 14 of his 24 games. He finished 9th in the statistics table joint with team mate John Lawther of Portadown. Noel Meara of the Hilltown Pool League was just 1 win further back with 13 from 24 games.
Northern Ireland B team finished 4th in the group stage and had to face a very strong Engand B in the semi-final. England ran out 8-3 winners. Tristan was the only winner as they trailed 4-1 at the break. When Tristan won the 8th frame he made it 5-3. He was on again 10 but lost before Noel Meara's defeat saw the Irish knocked out 8-3.
In the singles event it was a tournament to forget as he was well and truely stuffed 6-0 by Gavin Lomax. Lomax played for the British Lions team that travelled to Australia recently and ended up 5th in the stats for England with 20 wins from 30 games. It was a tough lesson for Tristan but should stand by him for the future.
Paddy Tavey was an intregral part of the Northern Irish side with Tristan Byrne that got to the semi final. If Paddy had played Sootland every game he would have finished top of the stats as he won all his games against them. But Algeria won't be looking to sign him up as he lost all his games against the African's. Crucially Paddy won 2 frames against Southern Ireland in a pressure match were the winners would qualify for the the semis. It was Paddy Tavey who potted the winning black to seal their semi final spot.
In the singles event Paddy Tavey had a superb 6-2 win over experienced Southern Irish player Jimmy Flemming in prelim. Paddy exited in the 1st round proper to the brilliant Michael Hope 6-2. England international Hope was knocked out in the 1/4 final. Hope also got to the semi final of the 2015 World Pool Championships so Paddy had a tough ask there.
Declan McConville stupendous with 18 wins from 27 games helping his Northern Ireland C team to the semi final of the the European Championships. He finished joint 7th with the leading player being Greg Batten of England C incredibly winning 25 from his 29 games. His C team finished joint 2nd with Morocco in the league table and thus met in the semis. Unfortunately the lads just didn't turn up and got slaughtered by Morocco 8-1. England C went on to win the final by the same 8-1 margin after they scraped past France 8-7 in the other Semi final.
Niall O'Hare had a tough time in the Under 23's. His Northern Irish team won only 1 match against whipping boys Belgium. He lost all his games against his English and Southern Irish counter-parts. Niall still managed to win 7 games but lost 14 against strong opposition. In the U23 singles Niall got knocked out in the 1st round to Southern Ireland's Morgan Thomas 6-3 who subsequently lost out in the next round to eventual U23 Champion Gueseppe D'Imperio 5-1.
In the main draw Niall got beaten by another of the European Lions star players that toured Australia Sebastien Ramier. Niall put up a good fight but lost out 6-2 to the very talented Frenchman.
Other local players that travelled to France for the European Championships were Noel Meara
Noel Meara from the Hilltown Pool league who lost out 6-4 to French player Philippe Countant.
Another Hilltown Pool league player Tony Greenan had a good prelim round win over Quentin Carlier from Belgium. He bowed out in the 1st round proper to Southern Ireland player Kevin O'Riordan.
Newry's former World Ladies Champion Emma Cunningham won her 1st round match 5-0 against Welsh international Kate Hillman. Emma then suffered a surprise exit at the hands of Katie Martyn from England. Katie Martyn went on to lose out 7-4 in the final to Kirsty-Lee Davies of Wales.
That's the round up of the local players that competed in the European Pool Championships in Nante's and I'm sure most of the local players will be hoping to be heading off to the World war qwerty Championships in Blackpool in July.
Slightly further afield a big well done to Dylan Leary. The Northern Irish player lost a thrilling final to Karl Sutton with the English International Sutton hitting top form.
Southern Ireland looks in good hands with their Junior team losing out to England in the final of the team event and Kyle Murphy winning the Junior singles title.
Southern Ireland player John O'Mahony is the new senior European Champion