The Newry and District Pool Clubs and Pubs have given a massive vote of confidence to the Newry Pool League.
A fantastic 32 teams will contest for honours this season with lots more new teams as well as old ones coming back.
The old Invincible's are now invisible. When the going got tough - they got going! The blackcurrent and water brigade have left the building and Carrickcruppen are also gone with them.
The Premier Division will be disappointed McGuigan's Bar will no longer be on their fixture list. It is a brilliant venue for Pints and Pool and McGuigan's B will still fly the flag in Division 1.
The Newry Pool League would like to welcome back Glen Social Club. We know they love their pool out there and they are no bad side
Nifty Fifties might be the average age of this team but Adian Griffin is leading this new Forresters team out in Division 2 and will be hoping for some silverware. Nifty Fifties can look forward to a derby game with Forresters C team while their A and B teams will clash in Division 1.
South Armagh Bar Dan's will have a team in the Premier and a new team called Dan's Rebels in Division 2. Are these Rebels fighting without a cause or have they the artillery to sustain a promotion campaign?
There will be 3 Trainor's Bar teams in the league this year. Luckily they're all in different Divisions. Trainor's of Camlough won promotion to the top tier last season. The Trainor's Teams in Division 1 and 2 are both the Canal Street Pub.
St. Monnina now have an A and B team. One in Division 1 and one in Division 2.
We welcome all these new teams and hope you enjoy your season. It is vital that you all familiarise yourselves with the new rules - explained in detail in the blogs above.
Quick look at all the teams
CWC A will defend the title they won for the very first time last season. CWC look ominously strong but they have lost the super talented Cathal Phelan and his talented under-used brother Shane.
Pat Brady and and his right hand man Harvey Lavelle lead the charge. Paddy Clarke might be incredibly talented on the baize but it was his mind games that found the chink in the TJ's A armour. He realised they were weak mentally and exploited it to the full. He's back for more trophies.
Paddy Tavey is back and he was a crucial cog in the wheel in the 2nd half of last season. Kieran McMahon and Stephen Rooney return looking to add to their impressive Newry Pool Trophy collection. Stephen Teggart made the switch from the Invisable's and Bernie Magee has reUnited with some of his old Corrinshego team mates from Hustlers. Seamus McGeoghegan might be called upon more this season as CWC have only 9 players signed at this moment in time.
Hustlers have lost tactical legend Bernie Magee and have replaced him with the opposite type of player - the free potting Philip Murphy.
Mary Cunningjam is back on the local pool scene after a wee break and ready for some action. Mary should enjoy the new attacking rules. Apart from that they have the exact same team that finished in 3rd place last season. Micky Cunningham is captain and his core players of Cathal McCoy, 'Diddles' McArdle with Billy and Ciaran O'Neill backing up the talented Shane McAllister the Bellinis based side will be a tough nut to crack.
Whitecross finished behind Hustlers on frame difference. The controversial Michael Feenan has a big squad to keep happy with the 2 Phelan's back in their squad. Mickey O'Hanlon and Joseph McTaggart have left the squad and are two steady players. Long time servants Marty O'Callaghan, Gareth McCann, Brian O'Neill and former captain Gavin Malone will need a vintage season if Whitecross are to push on for some silverware. They also need Alan Burke back playing and with Noel Donaldson and James Toner Whitecross are a strong side.
New captain Michael Feenan needs to back up his big talking with some results on the table.
Dan's Bar have a fresh new look about them and if ever there was a squad best suited to these new rule changes it is them.
Former individual winners Seamus McVerry and James O'Hagan will love these new attacking rules. Potting sensation Barney Preece is a massive signing from Nan's while another fabulously attacking player Paddy O'Callaghan has signed from Cruppen.
Niall Connolly and newly signed Robbie Toman are superb potters while Paddy McMahon and Tony McElroy both enjoyed good season's last time out. Jimmy McVerry is the tactical glue to keep this team from over indulging.
Trainor's in Camlough have signed former CWC A sharp shooter Niall McVerry. Lukie Phelan, Charlie Doherty and Paddy McKeown are experienced players that might not be suited to the new rule change. Tommy Mooney is back in the Premier for the first time since Corrinshego folded and the 2 Bradley's usually find the going tougher in the top tier. They might be looking forward to the darts a bit more a few months in to the season.
Ballyholland surprised every one by winning Division 1 last season but they played to their strengths. Each player knew their limitations and were very cautious at times. Robbie White will be their main threat and players like Giby Vettiankal and the super reliable Jim McMahon will need to hit the ground running. Manny Kelly as well as Davey and Gerard McAvoy will be crucial if they are to survive their first ever year in the Premier Division.
Orchard Bar have lost the services of Karl McGuinness and Tony McGovern. Orchards still managed to get to the Vegas Cup final without them last season so they are well fit to cope.
Mervyn Kernaghan has some familiar faces in his squad tho. Lee Irvine, Charlie Broughton, Brendan Devlin, Diamiurd Lonergan, David Cromie, PJ McDaniel and Richie Crawford are all incredibly experienced and are quality players.
Bears had a good season last time out thanks largely to some great results at home. They still have the same old faces that served them well in recent seasons.
Garry Powel will need another big season if Bears are going to avoid a relegation scrap. Paddy Heaney and Neil 'the baby faces assassin' will both suit the new rule change as they are tremendous potters.
Seamus 'the snail' Keenan can be slow and cagey. He can take out a big finish and this new rule might actually speed him up and play better. The 'Bald Eagle' Ralph Crummy is another vital player for the mighty Bears who is back for more victims.
Division 1 is wide open this year and any one of 5 or 6 could win the title. The standard this season looks well below last season where Dan's with didnt even finish in the top 2 and they had 2 of last 3 individuals winners in their side.
BOSCO will be right up there providing the get off to a good start. It can take them a few months to warm to the task.
Darren Devlin is the ace in their pack. This terrific potter will love the rule change and a lot of the Bosco team are quality potters. Damian Brady being the obvious stunning single ball potter. Liam McLaughlin, Gary O'Reilly and Brian Dillon will be key players.
WINDMILL BAR should be up there with as one of the main protagonist's. They are a very attacking team and should be right up there.
SHEEPBRIDGE failed to get going last season but they have an experienced group of players who should mount a decent challenge.
TRAINOR'S A looked very competitive in a tough Division 1 last season but after a good start they faded away, for different reasons. The Canal Street side have Alex Carlon, William McShane, Tiernan Casey and Dylan Morgan. All tremendous potters that will suit the new rule change. Conor Quinn and Frank McArdle will also stack up plenty of wins.
With BOYDS having Kris and Richard Fletcher they have 2 players capable of winning every game. Jamie Fletcher has improved and Boyds have a team packed with experience well capable of mounting a challenge.
NAN'S RAMS have lost their talisman Barney Preece but they can still mount a serious challenge. They were close to promotion last season and their squad has some quality potters.
JOHNNY MURPHY'S in Meigh started well last season and looked like they could be promotion challengers but they drifted away long before the first snowflake. They have some good potters and could be right up there this season.
FORESTERS A with Kieran Loughran, Ollie White, Paul Campbell and Josh McKeown will be happy with a mid-table finish. They will be tough to beat but are short on top class players.
TJ's B flatter to deceive every year. Short on quality its hard to imagine any trophies landing back in TJ''s this season. This B team will struggle to finish in the top half of the league.
St MONNINA did brilliant to win promotion last season in an incredibly exciting Division 2. This team has lots of grinders who like the tactical side of the game. With the new rule change these boys will struggle to make an impression in Division 1. Could be a long season for Andrew Mackin and the Smiths.
McGUIGAN'S B are in for a long hard season. Their superb table is only going to be a happy hunting ground for visiting teams and it could be a trip to Division 2 for this team.
FORESTERS B may hope that their A team havent all their best players or they are in serious trouble. Relegation looms large for this team unfortunately.
CWC B didn't fancy a crack at Division 1 and maybe rightly so. Despite having lots of Premier Division experience they couldn't finish in the top 2 last season. Tommy Rooney showed his mercurial talents as he lead the promotion charge last season but his team mates just couldn't match his ambitions. CWC B shouldn't be far away this season and anything other than promotion will be seen as a failure.
MILLVALE ran with the contenders for most of last season. They are a strong side full of young potters and they will be right up there again this season.
ARMAGH/DOWN were another of those teams that made last season so exciting. They haven't exactly strengthened their squad but they should still be there or thereabouts.
GLEN SOCIAL CLUB have a decent squad they are unlikely to bring and silverware to the Countryside but they will more than hold their own.
CAVERN BAR usually have decent players but very rarely trouble the top teams. They will comfortably rest in mid-table.
DAN'S REBELS are one of the most experienced sides in the Division but with few natural potters these lads will need to enjoy the craic more than the points.
NIFTY FIFTIES won't be looking a new trophy shelf built for their trophies. This team will finish below mid-table.
St.MONINNA B will show typical fighting South Armagh spirit but they are short on quality and it's bottom half for these lads.
FORESTERS C are in for a long hard slog this season. The INF club has been pushing hard to promote pool to bring back the glory years but this C team need to hit the ground running.
McSWIGGAN'S BAR had a real tough time in Division 2 last season and there is little to suggest this season will be any different.
MADDAN'S BAR have improved over the last few years but it looks like they are Still in for a dog fight at the bottom of the table. They are serious good craic though and teams really enjoy going there and it's not just for the 2 points.
TRAINOR'S B could cause the odd surprise but it more likely this team will be the whipping boys. Mark Trainor has done a great job in his pubs and maybe one team could pick up the wooden spoon.
Good luck to all our teams this year and remember to have fun and enjoy your pool.
## The pool committee has been contacted by Frank Dologhan of the BRAIN INJURY FOUNDATION. He runs a centre in Camlogh for people recovering from Brain Injuries.
They have recently opened a pub with no beer on their site and their members have formed a very capable pool team. For obvious reasons this team cannot travel to other pubs but they would be delighted if teams in the Newry league would come out to Camlough to challenge their team.
Carrickcruppen, Dan's and Whitecross have all been to visit and have been surprised at how good the opposition is. They recently had former Irish Pool Champion Sean Hoey out to coach the players.
The Brain Injury Foundation team have an ex-Irish tour player in its ranks and players with Newry Pool League experience. Some of their players travel as far away as County Tyrone.
If any team is interested in a game you can contact Frank Dolaghan or Micky Cunningham.
The Brain Injury Foundation is in the old INF hall right beside Camlough Rovers 3G pitch.
Don't forget the Vegas and Cunningham Cup fixtures are online now and on the Facebook page.
The new rule changes are explained in full in the blogs below and it is up to every player to familiarize yourself with the new rules.