Whitecross hosted the biggest game of Thursday night as 1st played 2nd in the Premier Division. It was Whitecross verses TJ's A. TJ's A are seeking an unbelievable 2nd season unbeaten and Whitecross knew only an unlikely win could make the League table resemble something close to interesting. TJ's started the night 5pts clear and within touching distance of the title.
Cathal Phelan got Whitecross off to the perfect start against the quadruple winners when he took out a Stevie Noade who is having a bit of a patchy season. Phelan is playing well lately and has been mentioned by some as a dark horse for the individuals title.
Shane Phelan had Whitecross in dreamland when he took the very much inform Jack Courtney. Courtney was in hot form after his break finish against Ballyholland on Tuesday night but Phelan was able to slow him down and took the finish out when the chance finally arrived.
The league leaders' 60 game unbeaten run looked in jeopardy but like true champions they fought back. Declan McMahon was taking on 1 of Whitecross' best players this season Mickey O'Hanlon. McMahon is a class apart when he's on form and he squeezed out a good win to make it 2-1. Arguably the best player this season in the Newry and District Pool league Manny Byrne squared up the match with some super potting against Joseph McTaggart and it was game on at 2-2.
Michael Feenan is having a mixed season for Whitecross but he probably started out as slight favourite against Darren Devlin who has his fair share of defeats for TJ's. This was a massive frame, more so for Whitecross but it was TJ's and Devlin that drew blood and this strike shook the South Armagh team to the core. 2-3 TJ's A. Marty O'Callaghan 1 of the hosts star players this season was up against it with Tristan Byrne being in fine form. We're told O'Callaghan should have won it but Byrne is lethal this season and made no mistake in making it 2-4 to TJ's A.
Paddy O'Callaghan has struggled to get his early season form back but still would have fancied his chances against Eugene McDermott who has been a bit-part player this season. McDermott may not be the player of days gone by but he was just to good and too experienced for O'Callaghan and it was 2 points in the bag for TJ's A at 2-5.
The final frame of the night was the battle of the captains. Declan McConville just fresh from a tournament win in Co.Tyrone was just too good for Gavin Malone who was in decent form himself lately. McConville can match the best of them in the potting department and his win made it a very comfortable 6-2 win.
TJ's are now on 7pts with only 4 games remaining so 1 more win will be enough to see them retain their Premier Division title.
With TJ's almost home and hosed and the battle for 2nd place is really hotting up. Sheepbridge were trouncing Killeavy up in the South Armagh GAC club but the hosts fought back to make it an interesting finish to the night.
Paddy Tavey had the visitors 1-0 up with a predictable win over Sean Og Duffy. Niall McVerry doubled that lead with a good win over new KIlleavy signing Emmett Fearon.
It was 3-0 when Dermot Lonergan was too good for Mark Shevlin. Shev is spending too much time on the golf course and looking through the wedding photo's and needs to get back on the practice table. Bernie Magee showed experience is better than youth win he beat Darren O'Hanlon to make it 4-0. O'Hanlon started the season in blistering fashion but this is now just a distant memory as Magee put Sheepbridge on the verge of a vital victory in their quest for 2nd place.
No shortage of experience in the next match-up as Tom Magennis took on Barrry Duffy. Magennis is the better potter and it showed as he pulled 1 back for Killeavy and this gave the Killeavy men renewed hope. 4-1 was reduced to 4-2 win Stephen Cunningham produced the shock of the night beating Pat Brady. Brady is a 'God' like figure up round Killeavy and this was a life changing moment for Cunningham.
Unfortunately for Killeavy it wasn't a game changing moment as Gwyn Trainor beat a disappointing Stephen Murphy. Trainor is cagey while Murphy thinks he's a better player than he really is and this a bad combination unless ur Gywn Trainor. 5-2 was a fair result for Sheepbridge who were minus their cult hero Harvey Lavelle. The 'Pied Piper' Lavelle was lucky his team didn't drop a vital point and it could well have happened because Paddy McCann took the final frame of the night against Seamus McGeoghegan to leave a final scoreline of 5-3 to Sheepbridge.
This crucial win puts Sheepbridge on the same points as Whitecross and the race for 2nd place couldn't be better poised.
Could McGuigans's A nick 2nd place? It looked very unlikely for a long time but they sit 1 point behind Whitecross and Sheepbridge albeit with a game extra played.
The Monaghan Street lads had a very good win in Orchard bar. Kieran Hanna has been far from unbeatable this year but he fired in a brilliant break finish against Karl McGuinness and it was a platform for McGuigan's onslaught.
McGuigan's Knew it was going to be their night when John Magee beat Tony McGovern to make it 2-0.
Paul O'Callaghan and then Ciaran Hanna Jnr made it 4-0 with wins over David Cromie and Lee Irvine
Just like the Killeavy/Sheepbridge match the hosts fought back and won the next 2. Mervyn Kernaghan and Brendan Devlin the victors over Brian Campbell and Damien Flanaghan. It was 4-2 and Paul McAreavey held is nerve to grab both points for McGuigan's A with a hard fought win over Richard Crawford.
Sean McCaul won the dead rubber final frame over Gerald Didn't Show McGuigan. This is bad form and should be fined by the pub and given a 3 match suspension.
Dan's C are 6 points adrift of safety and barring a monumental miracle they will play division 1 pool next season. Windmill look hot favourites to join them and with their game evenly poised at 3-3 they had the chance to reel Killeavy back into the relegation zone and leap frog opponents Hustlers.
Tommy Broughton put the visiting Windmill 1 to the good when he defeated league Chairman Kevin Magee. Tucker Hughes and Shane McAllister fired Hustlers into the lead with good wins over Conor Heaney and Niall McGeough. It was all level at the half-way stage when captain Conor Cunningham beat Barry Murphy. Ciaran O'Neill is enjoying a cracking season and he put the Bellinis outfit 3-2 up when he out potted Gareth White. It was all square again and the game was in the melting pot when Chris Marley had a super win over the usually very reliable Cathal McCoy.
Anthony Morgan had a crucial win for Hustlers that ensured they would not be in the relegation zone with a pressure win over the super attacking Aaron O'Callaghan. John Little gave the hosts a bit of breathing space at the bottom with a huge win over Ruairi Cunningham.
This massive win for Hustlers gives them a 3 point lead over Windmill with only 3 games to play.