The pool is back at long last & in the Premier Division it looks like we got a good taste of things to come. Both the big guns had devastating wins. Double Quadruple champions TJ's A wrapped up the derby points 5-1 against TJ's Tigers. Only bettered by soon to be new rivals CWC A who demolished Killeavy, racing into a 6-0 lead before running out 7-1 winners.
The big grudge match between McGuigan's and Hustlers saw the visitors take both points back to Belinis in this
big city derby match.
Was Bears v Whitecross an early relegation scrap? If so the South Armagh side are in trouble. Trailing 4-1 in the Windmill, Whitecross lost the 8th frame to go down 5-3.
The battle for mid-table bragging rights ended in a stalemate as Orchard Bar & Carrickcruppen battled out a 4-4 draw. South Armagh side 'Cruppen' really fancy themselves according to their social media activity but this is a reality check for them.Away from the dreamers & back where champions are made TJ's was the spot for the glamour 1st round league fixture. TJ's Tigers took on the mighty A team in their 1st ever game in the Premier Division.
Laurence McAlinden takes over as captain for the A team as Declan McConville enjoys the back seat this season. Jack Courtney was up 1st for Larry & he put on a good show for his newly signed Dad. Jack is following the Hanna's, O'Neill's & McVerry's among others who recently had father/son team mates but this could be the most fruitful one. Jack was on his game as he beat Tigers' Davy Hanna for 1-0.
Raymie McKenna beat Ritchie Taylor before Manny Byrne won the shootout with Tigers captain Jason Lennon & it was 3-0. Declan McMahon delivered the 4th when he out thought Niall O'Hare.
Sean Rice had a surprise win over the talented Tristan Byrne to pull it back to 4-1 & claim the Tigers 1st ever frame in the top flight.
Captain Larry claimed both points for the champions when he made it 5-1 over the attacking Adrian Annett.
Gavin McNally & Matty Cartmill had good wins for the Tigers to pull it back to 5-3. Stevie Noades & new signing Jack Courtneys Dad were the losing TJ'sA players.
Cathal Phelan took his time when he gave CWC A the opening frame against Killeavy's Stephen Cunningham.
Paul 'Bunty' O'Callaghan wasted no time in making it 2-0. He was sublime as he broke and finnished to leave Killeavy's Stevie Murphy watching in awe and chalking his cue for nothing.
Kieran McMahon and Harvey Lavelle strike fear in any opponents and they made it 4-0. Tom Maganiss and Paddy McCann didn't get a sniff for the visitors.
Paddy Tavey sealed the points for CWC with some lovely pool to hammer the hapless Mark Shevlin.
Pat Brady piled on the pain when he beat Alan McManus (not the pro snooker player) to make it 6-0.
Sean Og Duffy finally put a frame on the board for Killeavy to make it 6-1 when some nice potting beat Niall McVerry.
Thomas 'Tucker' Hughes was a shrewd signing for CWC and he is cute as a fox and had little problems making it a comprehensive 7-1 victory. Paul McArdle had no answer to Tucker & CWC look the real deal already.
Damien Kearney invested in a new pair of glasses and it's improved his pool no end. He wrapped up the points for Hustlers with a game to spare.
McGuigan's had dominated this fixture last year but they were well and truly hustled in this grudge match. It's fair to say there's no love lost between these 2 sides and the hosts crumbled under the pressure.
John Magee was brutal last year and he continued that form again this season. He was the shortest serving Chairman in the history of the pool league and it wasn't long before he left McGuigan's trailing in the opener. Wee 'Diddles' Damien McArdle is no dozer around the table and put Hustlers 1 up.
Terry McNally may turn out the £4m bargain of the fantasy pool league and he drew McGuigan's level with a steady performance against a decent Ciaran O'Neill.
Mickey Cunningham restored the Hustlers lead with some brilliant pool and Shane McAllister who beat a lack lustred
Soupy Campbell and put the Hustlers 3/1 ahead then Billy O'Neill put Hustlers in a commanding 4-1 lead.
Mike McArdle had a surprise win over Cathal McCoy with an amazing last yellow pot and the black ball hanging
to give the hosts a glimmer of a hope of a draw and put Mc Coy into a deep depressive state of mind.
But then in stepped the sombre looking Kearney up to the plate to seal maximum points for the Bellinis side.
Brendan Healy had his chances to clinch the frame but failed miserably and let Kearney in with 2 shots for an easy nights work. and make it 5/1.
Damien Flanagan grabbed a consolation frame for McGuigan's when he got the better of Barry Murphy for a final scoreline of 5-3.
Bears won't harvest any other dreams other than staying in the top flight of the Newry & District Pool League. They got 2 valuable points at the expense of Whitecross who struggled to contain their hosts.
Word on the street is that young sharpshooter James Toner could be a diamond in the rough. He fired Whitecross into the lead when he stuffed the useful Garry Powell.
Michael Feenan is the king of social media pool. Unfortunately for Whitecross it's what is done on the table that counts & opponent Sean McKevitt took advantage of an over confident Feenan to square the match at 1-1.
Ralph Crummy, Adrian Holman & the assassin himself Neil Heaney riddled Whitecross to put Bears on the verge of a huge win. Gareth McCann, Marty O'Callaghan & Brian O'Neill falling by the wayside for the South Armagh lads.
Joseph McTaggart is a real scrapper on the table and pulled it back to 4-2 with a win over the tactical Seamus Keenan. Mickey O'Hanlon was brilliant for Whitecross this past couple of seasons & he gave Whitecross real hope of a draw when he beat Paddy Murphy.
It wasn't to be a gallant draw for the visitors as Paddy Heaney's final frame win over Whitecross captain Gavin Malone sealed 2 invaluable points for the roaring Bears in what is most likely going to end up being a relegation match-up.
Paul Hughes is another who firmly believes their team is headed for big things this season. Never read such a load of rubbish on facebook. Carrickcruppen showed their frailties Thursday night when they lead 4-2 in Orchard Bar only for them to fill the nest.
The superb Karl McGuinness wasn't on the Orchard Bar original team sheet and would surely have made it onto many a fantasy pool team. It was a surprise though when Tommy Lavelle nicked the 1st frame to put the visiting Cruppen 1-0 up.
Parity was restored when Charlie Broughton had a good win over Carrickcruppen's new 'great white hope' Kieran Hanna.
The talented Jamie Lavelle put Cruppen 2-1 up before the superb new signing Joe Poucher tied up the scores 2-2 at the halfway mark. Diamuird Lonergan and John Brannigan the losing parties.
Steven Lavelle and Ciaran Hanna put Carrickcruppen on the brink of 2 great away points but the pressure kicked in and the knees started knocking.
Martin McVeigh was huge favourite to tie up maximum points but it was Conal Morgan that got the win to pull it back to 4-3.
The much talked about Aaron O'Callaghan is a good potter but he definitely is suspect under pressure. The same cannot be said of the 'Great' Brendy Devlin. Dev is steady as a rock & is far to smart for O'Callaghan and it was no surprise when Devlin squared up the match and salvage a well earned draw.
Division 1 & 2 coming soon
Just a wee note about the Fantasy Pool league.
We have decided to do away with the bonus point for players that win & their team wins. The bonus points were complicating the scoring & would make little or no difference to the winning team.
The 3 bonus points are still in force though for a break finish. Only the magnificent Paul O'Callaghan got a break & dish but nobody has him in their fantasy team.
Well done Mickey O'Hanlon of Whitecross who has the early lead when 7 of his 8 players won