This the big 1. The biggest blog of the year. Some of the big guns will not see the 2nd round as some of the top players go head to head. With Stephen Rooney (CWC A) waiting for the winner of Tuesday nights game between Laurence McAlinden and Raymie McKenna being the highlight.
We'll analyse each and every game and pick out a few dark horses as well as some of the favourites who could get a tougher match than they bargained for.
DANNY CINAMOND (Trainor's Camlough) v MICHAEL FEENAN (Whitecross) or GARRY POWELL (Bears)
This will stiff challenge for Cinamond no matter who he gets. He hasn't been as influential this season but still has that winners instinct from playing in the successful Trainor's side hunting promotion to the Premier Division. Both Powell and Feenan are deadly potters and this would be a major shock if the winner of Tuesday nights preliminary round game didn't book their 2nd round spot.
DECLAN McMAHON (TJ's A) v CHARLIE BROUGHTON (Orchard Bar) or PAUL McAreavey (McGuigan's A)
Declan McMahon will obviously start as hot favourite. He hasn't played as much this season but he still has a good win percentage. If Broughton wins he will try to take McMahon into the trenches of a tactical dogfight. But McMahon is super cool and knows his shots. Should McAreavey win he will be ready if McMahon is off form. McAreavey will be more open but multiple overall winner McMahon should deliver a 2nd round parcel to himself.
CIARAN HANNA jnr (Carrickcruppen) v SHEILA JOHNSTON (Murphy’s Bar) or CHRIS McKeown (Forresters)
Plumb draw for Hanna and it's on his home table too. It's hard to argue a case against Hanna. He's improving year on year and is a top player. Johnston just won't have enough to trouble Hanna while McKeown has a better league record he's trying to catch a shark with a tadpole net. No chance of an upset here.
JIMMY O'HARE (Nan's Rams) v GAVIN MURPHY ( TJ's B) or MALACHY MAGUIRE ( Nan's Rams)
Jimmy O'Hare is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He will have to cheer on his team mate Maguire and face a big pressure derby game. Murphy is arguably the best potter of the 3 but Jimmy O'Hare is flying this season and he should see off the preliminary round winner.
PAUL KELLAND (CWC B) v JOHN LITTLE (Hustlers) or STEVIE TEGGART (TJ's A)
Paul Kelland will have his work cut out no matter who the winner of Tuesday nights game is. If he gets Teggart he's as good as out. Little won't be just as ruthless but would be hot favourite. Kelland is having a fairly decent season with his Division 2 title chasing CWC team. He won't be clearing in one visit and an early exit looms large for the CWC B captain.
PAT McCLENAGHAN (Nan's Rams) v KEVIN MAGEE (Hustlers)
Pat McClenaghan has helped his Nan's team into pole position in Division 1. He's steady and Kevin Magee will be punished if he takes his opponent for granted. McClenaghan will not go all guns blazing while Magee won't hold back if there's a finish on. This is going to be close but Magee has all the Premier Division experience to fall back on and should squeeze through.
NIALL CONNELLY (Dan's) v GAVIN MALONE (Whitecross)
Niall Connelly will be hoping to be the 3rd Dan's player in a row to win the individuals. Connelly is having a good season with Division 2 title hopefuls and the super potter will go into this game confident.
Gavin Malone may have captained Whitecross to the Divisional cup semi final and to 3rd in the Premier Division but on the table he has done very little. This is going to be tight but if Malone can hit good form he should squeeze through on a decider.
GAVIN McNALLY (TJ's Tigers) v MANNY BYRNE (TJ's A)
This could be one of the best matches of the 1st round. Gavin McNally has been in stunning form this season for his newly promoted Tiger's team. McNally is a superb potter and unlike a lot of top potters he can actually control the white ball.
Manny Byrne oozes class but his attacking style means he leaves him open defeat when things go awry late in a frame. Byrne has suffered plenty of shock defeats in recent seasons but when he hits form nobody can touch him.
McNally is quality and if the balls fall nice for him then he is capable of winning this. Byrne has to start as hot favourite and a 2-0 victory is the most likely outcome.
STEVIE NOADE (TJ's A ) v MICKY LANGTON (McGuigan's B) or TOMMY LAVELLE (Carrickcruppen)
Noade hasn't been the major player for TJ's A that he has been for many a season but he's still got that wee bit extra that you need to play for the champions. He will certainly be hoping for a Langton and if he does then he should book his place in round 2 unscathed.
Tommy Lavelle offers a different proposition. The big finishes aren't as regular but he still has the knowledge to give Noade a tough game.
Noade should book his 2nd round place but Lavelle could take a frame should he get past a useful Langton.
CIARAN O'NEILL (Hustlers) or BARNEY PREECE (Nan's Rams) v Paddy O'CALLAGHAN (Carrickcruppen)
Paddy O'Callaghan took his time settling in at Carrickcruppen but now he's one of their star players along with Kieran Hanna. O'Callaghan is very attacking and once in the balls he well tend to clear up. Tactically not bad either.
O'Neill is turning into a really top young player. Good potter and decision making beyond his years. He and Paddy O'Callaghan would be a cracking match.
Preece is just kamikaze. He is dangerous for this reason. He will go for everything but O'Callaghan will know what to expect and should be able turn these frames scrappy and edge out Preece on a decider in a classic.
BRENDAN McVERRY (Windmill) v LIAM BRADLEY (Trainor's Bar) or BARRY MURPHY (Hustlers)
Brendan McVerry has his work cut out no matter who he gets. McVerry has held his own in a dissapointing season for Windmill but he's moving up in class on Thursday night.
Liam Bradley plays in the same Division as McVerry but Bradley has enjoyed a stunning season for Trainor's. Murphy blows hot and cold but he would be too good for McVerry.
The winner of Tuesday nights game should get through but McVerry will give them a good game.
STEPHEN ROONEY (CWC A) v RAYMOND McKENNA or LAURENCE McALINDEN (TJ's A)
Stephen Rooney could have hoped for a handier draw than this. Rooney played in the TJ's side that won their 1st top tier league title half a decade ago and knows his potential opponents only too well. Rooney showed in his league win over Tristan Byrne in the big title clash with TJ's A that he is more than willing to play 'dirty' pool to win. He is also a deadly finisher and won't turn down an early clearance.
Raymond McKenna and Laurence McAlinden have both smashed in break finishes this season and are well capable of winning the tournament.
This is just a toss of a coin. Whoever gets the breaks and a rub of the green will prevail. Laurence McAlinden is my pick but any one of the 3 could book a place in the 2nd round.
DAVID CROMIE (Orchard Bar) v CATHAL MURPHY (CWC B)
David Cromie has been in and out of the Orchard side and has not got a good run going. He's a fine potter but does miss silly shots from time to time.
Cathal Murphy is similar in that he is in and out of the team. Improved alot since Christmas Murphy can go in with some confidence but Cromie should walk this 2-0.
PETER TAVEY (Dan's) v CATHAL PHELAN (CWC A)
Cathal Phelan is a multiple winner of the overall individuals and always seems to get to the latter stages. Although he has lost a few more than he would have liked Phelan still has one of the best all-round games in the local pool scene.
Peter Tavey is having a really good season with Dan's and should give Phelan a tough match.
Phelan is the proverbial Grinder and scrappy frames will suit him fine. Phelan should ease through with a bit to spare.
ADRIAN ANNETT (TJ's Tigers) v DAMIEN FLANAGAN (McGuigan's A)
What a game this promises to be. Adrian with his youthful exuberance against the crafty but also attacking Bud Flanagan.
Annett is good to watch. Brilliant potter, can play positional shots and loves to take out a tricky finish.
Flanagan is an excellent potter and can back it up with a decent safety department.
Both these players are bang on form but Flanagan's experience might just see him fall over the line in 3 top quality frames.
SEAN DONNAN (Armagh/Down) v MIKE NUGENT (Nan's Rams)
Two of Division 1's more consistent performers go head to head in a match both players can feel confident of progressing. Both players like to attack and go for the game. Donnan has all the potting ability but Nugent is able to tie it up. Nugent has been excellent in helping his Nan's team into prime position for a slot in the Premier Division for next season and in a close hard fought match Nugent will be expected to win this one.
RYAN DIAMOND (Millvale) v TOMMY ROONEY (CWC B )
This is a very interesting match-up. Ryan Diamond is one of Division 2's best players and he is taking on one of the best players in Division 1. Both these players have astonishing records winning nearly every game in their respective leagues.
Ryan Diamond is a young protégé and a sensational potter. He's been taking out amazing finishes all season and would more than hold his own in the Premier Division.
Tommy Rooney has been virtually invincible this season and what a match this promises to be. Rooney likes to wait for a mistake then he takes out a brilliant finish. His composure is terrific and thrives on pressure. Tactically he's a cut above Division 2
If Diamond gets good open frames he can certainly win this but Mooney with his superior tactical brain should see him through in a high quality game.
NOEL BRADLEY (Trainor's Bar Camlough) v SHANE DURNIN (Armagh/Down)
Noel Bradley has bags of experience and is enjoying a good season with his Trainor's side that are in a fascinating battle for the Division 1 title. Bradley has certainly been beatable this season but he has good shot selection and good knowledge of the game when his potting let's him down.
Shane Durnin famously upset the odds last season when he been the gifted Manny Byrne. Durnin hasn't been at his fluent best this season but his natural potting ability still makes him a big threat.
With both players not at their peak this season Bradley should be able to squeeze through in a few scrappy frames on his home patch.
BENNY HOEY (Millvale) v KARL McGUINNESS (Orchard Bar)
Benny Hoey is another Millvale player doing well and hoping for promotion from Division 2. Hoey is a decent potter he needs to keep tighter control of the white if he moves up to the next level.
Karl McGuinness will be a good learning curve for Hoey. McGuinness has all the shots and has the cue ball on a string. It's a long trek for McGuinness out to Trainor's but he will travel home with a place in round 2.
DEAN HAUGHEY (Murphy’s Bar) v DAVID CROMIE (Orchard Bar)
Dean Haughey is a capable potter but his safety play is as water tight as a fishing net.
David Cromie is a fairly decent potter but his safety is water tight. Haughey needs a minor miracle and with no reason to be optimistic it can only be a 2nd win on the Camlough table for the Orchard Bar duo.
TJ's Table 1
LEIGH McALINDEN (Nan's Rams) v JAMES O'HAGAN (Dan's Bar)
2015 winner James O'Hagan got dumped out early last season and he got a tricky draw here again. Leigh McAlinden has a good all-round game. Very capable potter and tactics to back it up.
James O'Hagan has been virtually untouchable this season. It's been win after win and his attacking style has bamboozled Division 1 opponents week in week out.
McAlinden could make this a very tough contest for O'Hagan but the former winner O'Hagan should just be able to see off a plucky McAlinden.
WILLIE ANDREWS (Armagh/Down) v LEE IRVINE (Orchard Bar)
Armagh/Down are right in the promotion mix and Willie Andrews has played more than his part in their success story. Andrews has been brilliant this season taking out some superb finishes along the way.
Lee Irvine is just about as tough as they come. Incredible temperament to back a superb potter. He never gets flustered when all looks lost.
Andrews has been playing well enough to win this. On TJ's quick tables this could be a tricky night for Irvine. Still, it would be a major shock should the Orchard player not progress.
JAMES TONER (Whitecross) v COLLIE McCANN (Millvale Bar)
James Toner hit a rough patch but has come out the other side and is back to winning ways. He is a good clean potter and takes on the big finishes.
Collie McCann is one the best potters in Division 2. He won't turn down a finish and it's no surprise he has a superb league record.
This could be a home dinger of a match. Both superb potters and very attacking players. Toner has the Premier Division experience and a safety game which might give him the edge.
RICHIE CRAWFORD (Orchard Bar) v MICKY CUNNINGHAM (Hustlers)
Richie Crawford is still trying to recapture his best form since his back injury. There have been fleeting moments but Crawford can't get that illusive consistency.
Micky Cunningham got a good run in last year's competition and will need to play well to beat Crawford. Cunningham is a decent potter and can certainly play the tactical game.
This will be a tight one. Crawford will need to play well while Cunningham could get through playing badly so the league Secretary starts slight favourite for me.
TJ's Table 2
SEAN McKEVITT (Bears) v RONAN O'REILLY (Nan's Rams)
Sean McKevitt is a really top player. Great potter, good composure and is taking out big finishes.
Ronan O'Reilly is good player too. He isn't winning as regularly as he did last season but his Nan's team are flying and his contribution has been vital.
O'Reilly is a tough competitor but McKevitt is on the top of his game and a narrow victory is probable for the Premier Division Bears ace.
THOMAS HUGHES (CWC) v CATHAL McCOY (Hustlers)
Thomas Hughes has played the start of the season in the title destined CWC A team. He has been inactive on the table for a long time which can't help his cause. Hughes a fine potter and cool as ice on the table.
Cathal McCoy is steady as a rock. He has dogged fighting spirit and a tactical game that can wear you down. Excellent potting and calm under pressure makes him a horrible opponent.
This could be a titanic battle. Hughes and McCoy will go toe to toe and re-spotted blacks could be needed. McCoy on his game should see him through but this will be an intriguingly close match.
GERARD McGUIGAN (McGuigan's Bar) v MARK PENTONY (Nan's Rams)
A year or 2 ago this wouldn't have been a contest. Gerard McGuigan would have won hands down. McGuigan has gone off the boil lately. His technique is poor and his potting leaves a lot to be desired.
Mark Pentony is playing terrible but his Nan's side could well take the place of McGuigan's Bar in the Premier. Pentony is a solid potter and won't rush into a finish. Safety is woeful and shot selection is poor.
Pentony is riding on the crest of a wave with his high flying Nan's side and this man could cause an upset here.
TOMMY MOONEY ( Trainor's Bar Camlough) v BRENDAN McNALLY (Nan's Rams)
Tommy Mooney is strolling through Division 1 like a heavy weight boxer wiping out flyweights. Mooney has won the top tier old Division 1 singles title but that was a long time ago. He is still a deadly potter with all the experience and tactical knowledge.
Brendan McNally is stepping up in class here. McNally will need to cover pockets and keep Mooney thinking. McNally can play this type of game but will it be enough?
Mooney is a different class and it's hard to envisage anything other than a 2-0 to the ex-Corrinshego star.
SEAMUS KEENAN (Bears) v CAILIM McPARLAND (CWC B)
Seamus Keenan has helped drag his Bears side well up the table. He is in form and McParland will need to be on his game. Keenan will play slow and methodical it make no bones about it - he can play pool.
McParland's best days are ahead of him. He is inconsistent but likes to attack the frames. McParland plays in Division 2 and is taking on a top Premier Division Grinder.
Keenan is a hard rock to shift and on his own table this should be a Premier Division banker.
JACK COURTNEY (TJ's A) v ORAN KEENAN (Armagh/Down)
Last year's Beaten finalist Jack Courtney has been far from his best this season. Silly mistakes have cost him and his quadruple holding team dear. Courtney is still one of the best players in the league and on his night can beat anyone.
Oran Keenan is playing brilliant pool. He has been one of the most consistent players over this past few years for Armagh/Down. He won't be rushed and his potting is of a high standard. He can also go tactical which he will need against Courtney. Keenan is one of the best in his Division so he should be bursting with confidence.
Keenan is capable of causing an upset but he needs the perfect table. The reality is Courtney has the whole package and will almost certainly be in round 2.
MICKEY O'HANLON (Whitecross) v AARON O'CALLAGHAN (Windmill)
Contrasting styles go head to head in this match which should be a high quality encounter.
Mickey O'Hanlon is one of the stars of the Whitecross success story and they'd only be half the team without him. His biggest asset is his ice cool temperament under pressure. Very good finisher of a frame and has a good tactical game.
Aaron O'Callaghan is just an out and out potting machine. He has superb ball control and doesn't hang about when a finish is on.
Playing on his home table gives sniper accurate O'Callaghan a slight advantage. If this was played at any other venue I would tip O'Hanlon but it O'Callaghan after 3 frames for me.
PAUL O'CALLAGHAN ( CWC A) v KIERAN LOUGHRAN (Forresters)
Paul 'Bunty' O'Callaghan is a previous overall winner but that is a long and distance memory now. He still has one of the best records in the league with his CWC side that look destined to win the Premier league. A strong potter, great tactically and thrives on pressure make O'Callaghan among the favourites for the title.
Kieran Loughran had a good run in the singles in recent years but this is a massive step up. Loughran isn't getting those big finishes he used to get. Tactics are his only hope and messy frames are his only way to win.
O'Callaghan hot favourite here and nothing whatsoever to suggest there might be an upset.
MATTHEW CARTMILL (TJ's Tigers) v DAVID HANNA (TJ's Tigers)
Team mates Matty & Davy will not relish meeting each other.
Cartmill has the better league record. Long pots are a specialty and tidy among the balls.
Davy Hanna is a sharp potter but he can miss the odd easy one too. He can play a good tactical frame which could be crucial on Thursday night.
Frames could be tight and scrappy which would suit Hanna but in the end of the day Cartmill has the better record and his superior potting ability will place him in the 2nd round.
SEAMUS McVERRY (Dan's Bar) v GERARD HARTE (Armagh/Down)
Last year's surprise champion Seamus McVerry upset all the odds to take home the coveted individuals trophy.
He's backed that up this season with a string of good performances and remains one of the best win averages in Division 1.
Gerard Harte has his work cut out. Most of the Armagh/Down lads got really tough draws and Harte was unlucky to draw the champion. Harte can't match McVerry's potting so covering pockets will be his only hope. Playing on his own table is unlikely to make much difference and McVerry should ease through to round 2.
RAYMOND MAGEE (Forresters) v KIERAN McMAHON (CWC A)
Is this the biggest mismatch in this year's draw? Raymond Magee hasn't turned too many heads as his Forresters team struggle all season. Magee misses lots of shots and his safety is loose.
Kieran McMahon is always one of the favourites every year. Best long potter in the game and nobody has as good a posiotional play as McMahon.
No point beating about the bush. Magee might as well jumping out of a jumbo jet with no parachute. Hard luck Mr Magee and do call again!
ANTHONY MORGAN (Bears) v BRIAN O'NEILL (Whitecross)
Both players have come through their rough patch and are back winning again.
Anthony Morgan is another good potter and his positional play has improved immensely. Morgan can mix it in the tactical side and if he finds his groove is good to watch.
Brian O'Neill has improved a lot of the past few years. He's had some big scalps in the individuals but just can't get that consistency. Good single ball potter but shot selection can let him down.
This will be a good tight game. Morgan has more strings to his bow. If Morgan finds his form he will make into round 2.
SHANE McALLISTER (Hustlers) v PADDY CLARKE (CWC A)
Shane McAllister played like a man possessed at the start of the season as he destroyed all before him. The defeats are alot more common now though. McAllister is tough as they come. Great tactician and on his game is a deadly finisher of a game.
Paddy Clarke goes game virtually every visit. It's doubtful if he has ever been involved in a re-spotted black. Brilliant potter and in amongst the balls is arguably the best in the local game.
McAllister needs to be at his very best to count in this one. Clarke is in top form and cueing like a professional violinist. When he gets going it's poetry in motion and a spot in Round 2 looks most likely.
SHANE PHELAN (CWC A) v JAMES CLARKE (Armagh/Down)
Shane Phelan has barely lifted a cue since Christmas. How much will that count against him? Shane likes to get in amongst the balls and attack a frame. His long potting is suspect but has a decent safety game.
James Clarke has the advantage of playing week in week out even though he loses his fair share. Armagh/Down are very much in promotion hunt in Division 2 and Clarke his a big player for them. He likes to attack the games and his potting is decent. He has a fantastic record this season and will be no pushover.
Moving up to take on a Premier Division player such a Shane Phelan is a big ask and it should be another CWC A player in round 2.
JOE POUCHER (Orchard Bar) v TONY McELROY (Dan's Bar)
Joe Poucher was right up there among the very best players in the Newry league and although not quite in that same bracket he is a quality player. His good all-round game makes him hard to beat but his positional play isn't what it used to be.
Tony McELROY has been a good player for Dan's this year. He's fired in the wins with some good confident attacking pool. Prone to the odd silly mistake but on his game is a fine player. Great signing and tough competitor.
Poucher is the obvious favourite but McElroy will give him plenty of food for thought.
PADDY TAVEY (CWC A) v MARK MAGUIRE (Nan's Rams)
Paddy Tavey is another CWC player not playing as much as he would like. He's featured alot more since the Christmas break and is back winning. Tavey is good under pressure and will take on the big finish. He never likes to leave an opponent a clean shot so safety is always in his mind even when taking on a pot.
Mark Maguire is an accomplished player and should his team get promoted to the Premier Division then Maguire has nothing to fear. Maguire has been in inconsistent form this season but taken out some good finishes. His improved cue action has helped his potting and can play a decent safety game. Still he can make silly errors when the concentration lapses.
Tavey got an early exit last season after we tipped an upset. Both avid readers of the blog but somebody has to bow out and unfortunately for Maguire it seems an improved and confident Tavey will be hard to beat.
KIERAN HANNA (Carrickcruppen) v NOEL DONALDSON (Whitecross)
This is one of the ties of round. Two of the most in form players in the local pool scene.
Kieran Hanna has been break finishing for fun this season for Carrickcruppen. It's pretty obvious Hanna doesn't like to hang around. Get in, blitz your opponents and get out. He even has a good tactical game to back up his potting.
Noel Donaldson has been a bit of a sensation for Whitecross this season. No doubt they've unearthed a gem here. Donaldson plays an attacking game and his long potting is fairly good. Seems to play well under pressure too.
Hanna has been a revelation this season for Cruppen. He's easily their top scorer and even though Donaldson will put up a superb fight in a high quality match it should be Hanna in the next round.
SHANE McVERRY (Armagh/Down) v MARTIN O'CALLAGHAN (Whitecross)
Yet another Armagh/Down player to get a really tough draw. Shane McVerry has enjoyed a slow season on the win front so far with promotion hopefuls Armagh/Down. McVerry has struggled at times but there improvements are there for all to see.
Martin O'Callaghan has taken the Premier Division by storm. He won all but one of his opening half of the league season games with stunning potting and top drawer finishes. O'Callaghan could have a good run in the individuals and a spot in the 2nd round looks a cert.
PAT BRADY (CWC A) v NIALL O'HARE (TJ's Tigers)
What a game this could be. Both outrageous potters this is another contender for tie of the round.
Pat Brady didn't enter last year back in the mix this year he is among the favourites. Long pots are easy to Brady, his short game is brilliant and his tactical game is arguably the best in the league.
Niall O'Hare won't be at Blackpool for the WEPF world championships this year but past experiences there have made him a deadly potter and a dangerous opponent. O'Hare is arguably the best single ball potter in the Premier Division but controlling the white is a whole different ball game..
In an open O'Hare can undoubtedly cause an upset. Brady though will be on his home table and given the chance will tie O'Hare in knots. Brady should be the winner here in a quick match.
DIAMUIRD LONERGAN (Orchard Bar) v TERRY McNALLY (McGuigan's A)
It's a draw like this that makes even the pool purists squirm in their seats. 20 minute stop clock is going to be in overdrive in this match.
Diamuird Lonergan can pot for sure but he will take his time and leave plenty of balls on the table. Lonergan will use his tactical knowledge to try and get the upper hand.
Terry McNally loves a good tactical battle. When it looks easier to finish McNally could throw a spanner in the works and attempt a safety and let his opponent in.
Both these lads are cracking players, make no mistake about it. Good potters and competitive like few others. McNally is just that bit sharper in the balls and after a long titanic battle he might prevail in a 3 framer.
MARK TRAINOR (Trainor's Bar Camlough) v JASON LENNON (TJ's Tigers)
Mark Trainor was outstanding last year and is enjoying another good season in 16/17 season. His pool has come on leaps and bounds and is winning regularly as his Trainor's side seek promotion to the top tier. Trainor is taking out good finishes but his shot selection is were he has improved most.
Jason Lennon has largely dissapointed this season. His raw ability is obvious but the step up to the Premier Division has caught out the brilliant potter. His attacking style is easy on the eye but mistakes are being punished.
Playing a Division 1 player again will be a welcome relief for Lennon and he should be able to use his skills to book his 2nd round place.
RYAN McILROY (Murphy’s Bar) v BARRY McALLISTER (Carrickcruppen)
Ryan McIroy has endured a tough season with Murphy's. He has picked up some good wins but his team struggling. McIroy will need to use a tactical game on Thursday which he is well capable of doing. He is one of the few players performing in his team so he will hope to carry that forward.
Barry McAllister has showed moments of brilliance but his inconsistency come back to haunt regularly. He can pot a fantastic ball then miss a sitter so you just don't know what to expect.
Even a bad performance on Thursday should be enough for McAllister to progress.
SEAMUS McGEOGHEGAN (CWC A) v NEIL HEANEY (Bears)
Seamus McGeoghegan has hardly played a game all season as he sits on the CWC sidelines. The master tactician will soon see how rusty he might be on Thursday night. He is more reliant on a good safety game than going for the big finishes so he's very hard to beat.
Neil Heaney aka 'The baby faced assassin' can bang them in from anywhere. His potting is his strong point. Long pots and angle shots are no problem.
This is a tough assignment for Heaney and we can expect McGeoghegan to attempt to wear the Bears ace down. The legendary ex-Corrinshego player McGeoghegan starts favourite even though he hasn't been playing much but this one could go the distance.
EDDIE HEANEY (Bears) v EMMETT FEARON (Murphy’s Bar)
Eddie Heaney is like a fine wine - he's improving with age. Ok improving is maybe stretching it but Daddy Heaney is still knocking them in and winning in top level pool. He enjoys a good laugh but on his day he's deadly accurate and can smash in a big finish.
Emmett Fearon playing with Murphy’s is not all it 1st seems. Emmett played with Killeavy and is a stunning potter. He can play safety but his long pots and big clearances are more his style.
Premier Division players would normally be favourite over Division 2 players but Fearon is an excellent player and would have to be tipped he in a 3 framer.
CIARAN MORGAN JUNIOR (Sheepbridge) v JOE MAGILL (McGuigan's B)
Ciaran Morgan jnr along with his Dad have added a bit of quality to a Sheepbridge team sinking into Division 1. Morgan jnr loves to attack a game but has an excellent safety game. He has been superb since he joined Sheepbridge in the Autumn.
Joe Magill has been poor at times and dreadful at others. He is improving picking up wins here and there and his safety game is getting better.
Expect long frames but Ciaran Morgan is a classy player and should have too much for Magill.
BRENDAN McCABE (Armagh/Down) v TRISTAN BYRNE (TJ's A)
You only need to see who Brendan McCabe plays for to know he got an unfavourable draw. McCabe has been reliable this season but he's not going to break and dish any time soon. He likes to take it one shot at a time and not worry about hard balls tied up until later.
Tristan Byrne will be rubbing his hands at his draw. He's cueing well of late and will go straight for the kill at the earliest possible moment. Byrne is as attacking as they come and exciting to watch.
Easy night on the baize for Byrne as another TJ's player marches on.
GERARD FOLEY (Armagh/Down) v GARETH McCANN (Whitecross)
There's not many Armagh/Down lads didn't enter the individuals but could Gerard Foley the only player with half a chance of progressing? Foley is having a solid season and can feel confident ahead of his big date against Premier Division opposition. Foley a sensible player and won't go all out until the game is on. His win percentage is really good so he cause a shock here.
Gareth McCann is the opposite. He will go for the game when the odds are heavily stacked against him. He has a fairly good record this season so he will be in confident mood himself.
Foley will definitely put it up to McCann. Despite the 2 Division gap this will be close but it's hard to see Gareth McCann losing this one.
SEAN RICE (TJ's Tiger's) v MERVYN KERNAGHAN (Orchard Bar)
Sean Rice won't get drawn into a shoot-out. He plays his own game and will wait for a mistake before going in for the kill. Steady potting and good safety are his strong points.
Mervyn Kernaghan has come through a barren spell and is back winning again. One of the toughest players on the circuit to beat he has unwavering nerves of steel and a safety game to tie the best in knots and deadly long potter.
This game could go the distance and maybe even a re-spot or two. Kernaghan has the better all round game and he's the tip for the 2nd round.
BRENDAN DEVLIN (Orchard Bar) v ADRIAN MURPHY (Millvale)
What a game this promises to be. Brendan Devlin is in top form for Orchard and is taking out finishes for fun. Good control of the white and good in amongst the balls make Brendy D force to be reckoned with.
Adrian Murphy may play for Millvale and his record in Division 2 isn't exactly eye catching but he has tonnes of experience and will be no pushover. His potting is not what it used to be but his tactical knowledge is from the top drawer.
This looks on paper like and easy win for Devlin but the signs are there of Murphy showing a bit more interest no that Millvale are right in the title hunt. Devlin playing regularly at the top level makes him favourite but this will be far from easy. 2-1 Devlin.
BRIAN CAMPBELL (McGuigan's A) v NIALL McVERRY (Hustlers)
Brian Campbell never seems to do too much wrong but his cautious approach means he sometimes hands the initiative to his opponent. He is a good potter when he goes for it and he is good at the tippy tappy game too.
Niall McVerry doesn't do tippy tappy. He's back loving his pool and playing regularly since his move from CWC A to Hustlers. McVerry loves to go straight in for the big finish but that does leave him vulnerable when things don't go to plan.
This looks like another really tight match which could go either way. McVerry is sharper at this moment in the season and looks best placed to win.
TOMMY O'HANLON (McGuigan's A) v JIMMY McVERRY ( Dan's)
Win or lose Tommy O'Hanlon won't lose much sleep over this game. His contribution to the 'One Year Only' Charity team as been more influential off the table than on it. He will do his best I'm sure and covering pockets and keeping it tight might be the way to go.
Jimmy McVerry is not quite in the same league as team mates James O'Hagan or Seamus McVerry but he is a major player for Dan's. He is good at forcing errors from opponents and very assured in amongst the balls.
McVerry might be stepping up a Division but O'Hanlon shouldn't have the firepower to take out a player as good as the Dan's Father figure.
BERNIE MAGEE (Hustlers) v DAMIEN McARDLE (Hustlers)
What a game to have on last. This inhouse derby match will add a bit of an edge to the venue.
Damien 'Diddles' McArdle is a brilliant potter. No ball on the table is safe with him. He has no idea where the white is going but he does love attacking pool and has a terrific win record.
Bernie Magee hails from the ex-Corrinshego school of pool and was well known for being a tactical genius. His long potting and big finishes have gone with his fringe but his close game and tactics see him hold his own.
This is one of the hardest games to call. Can Diddles McArdle run out the games or will he miss and leave himself at the mercy of Magee? McArdle is potting with confidence and after a long titanic battle Diddles might just sneak on the decider.
BILLY O'NEILL (Hustlers) v MARTIN McCLELLAND (CWC A)
Billy O'Neill isn't one of those players that gets you on the edge of your seat but he does get results and he does get good runs in the individuals. He just seems to play the right shot at the right time and can finish in pressure situations.
Martin McClelland has been far from a regular at CWC but he has largely impressed when he's got the chance. He has broke and cleared and will go for the game every opportunity he can.
Sheepbridges have narrow pockets on their table and fast flowing games can be rare. This would might go the distance and only tip Martin McClelland because he's in form and a super potter.
PJ McDANIEL (Orchard Bar) v RICHIE TAYLOR (TJ's Tigers)
PJ McDaniel has impressed this season. He has a good technique and you know straight away that this lad can play a bit. Very good at the long pots and when his positional play improves he's will be a top top player.
Richie Taylor knows the game inside out. It's his inconsistency that kills him. Not always great at potting and can lose the white. Other times he's terrific.
This is another match that nobody stands out clear favourite. Playing on tighter pockets might give McDaniel the edge but this is 50/50.
STEPHEN McSHERRY (Nan's Rams) v JAMIE LAVELLE (Carrickcruppen)
Stephen McSherry is possibly going to be playing in the Premier Division next season with Nan's in prime position to go up. McSherry has hardly set Division 1 alight and got a toughie here. His contribution has been minimal to his team.
Jamie Lavelle is a tough nut to crack. Fantastic long potter and his positional play has improved beyond recognition. His big league win over Pat Brady showed everyone he is the real deal.
Stephen McSherry has his work cut out and it looks like Lavelle to sail through unscathed.
PHILIP MURPHY (TJ's B) v PAUL HUGHES (Carrickcruppen)
Philip Murphy has all the talent and all the shots but it's been tough going for him this season. His all out potting style hasn't worked for most of their torrid league campaign but if he can curb those instincts and learn safety he can win more games.
Paul Hughes has a lot less talent but he is a good Grinder but the Cruppen captain could crumble under pressure. He doesn't play alot but his will to win can never be questioned.
Murphy needs to be at his brilliant best to win this. Hughes will cover pockets and grind it out and it's hard to see past a Hughes win.
PAUL MURPHY (Bears) v KILLIAN McDONALD (Millvale)
This is an exciting looking tie here with two thrilling inform players going head to head.
Paul Murphy likes to pot and go straight for a finish when it arises. He won't go mad looking plants or cannons but will work his balls into the open then boom.
Killian McDonald has been a sensation this season in Division 2. It's been far to easy for him and he's carried the team to within touching distance of promotion. He is a brilliant potter and taking out finishes like a pro.
Stepping up 2 Division's is never easy and the tactical side is rarely needed in Division 2. McDonald can definitely win this if the balls open but as usual individuals tend to be tight and scrappy which would suit the more experienced Murphy.
ALAN BURKE (Whitecross) v MARTIN McVEIGH (Carrickcruppen)
Alan Burke has played all most no pool for Whitecross which will be of little benefit to him. He is a good attacking player and is very good at taking hard balls into play. When he's playing well and confident he is a game for anyone.
Martin McVeigh is a shadow of the player that used to clear tables in 1 or 2 visits. He win ratio is shockingly bad. His potting is poor, positional play is non existent and safety it dreadful.
Alan Burke a few years ago would win this hands down. Due to lack of games McVeigh should take the win due to match practice if nothing else.
PAT BYRNE (Carrickcruppen) v JOHN MAGEE (McGuigan's A)
Pat Byrne is still potting them from the lampshades. He can only be compared to the great snooker player - turned 9-ball pool player Tony Drago. Byrne detests turning down a shot. His long pots are a specialty. He can - if he really really wants to - he can play tactical. He won a great battle with Harvey Lavelle in the big showdown in CWC.
John Magee is very much hit and miss. Long pots are have gone with his cue action. He can clear up when in close and the balls are out. Magee can still when you a game when called upon.
Magee will attempt to slow Pat Byrne down. If Byrne doesn't pot himself into corners he should win a close encounter.
MARK SHEVLIN (Whitecross) v HARVEY LAVELLE (CWC A)
Our final game of the night is two players badly out of form. Both are on long winless (league) runs.
Mark Shevlin joined Whitecross during the Christmas break and it's not exactly been a bed of roses for him. He is a top player and will snap out of soon. He likes to take the game and dictate the play. His safety game is sound but needs that confidence back.
Harvey Lavelle was beaten in the 2014 final of the overall individuals. Jack Courtney ousted him last year. He has come in for some criticism on social media for his negative approach in recent games. There's no doubt confidence is low. On his game Lavelle is a brilliant potter and his positional play can be breathtaking at times.
Even on a bad day Lavelle is always hard to beat. On a good day for him you will get caned. Shevlin needs to be crazy good but it looks very like a win for Harvey Lavelle.
Check out Wednesday's blog for some good value players and some favourites that might fall at the first hurdle.
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