Thursday night see the 1st round proper of the Pairs and it promises to be another night of exciting pool. The holders Kieran McMahon and Declan Brennan aren't a pairing this year so one thing we are sure of is a new Doubles winner.
Just a quick run down the fixture list I will pick out some top games to keep an eye on and maybe spot few 'fancied' pairings that might get a good run for their money.
TJ's TABLE 1
The 1st match-up out of the hat Brendan Devlin and Mervyn Kernaghan (Orchard Bar) v Adrian Annett and Davy Hanna (TJ's D) has shock written all over it. Annett and Hanna are playing superb pool and their TJ's side sit 1 point off top spot in Division 1. They like to play attacking pool ' Devlin and Kernaghan will get a tough contest if it turns into a potting match.
TJ's TABLE 2
Neill Heaney and Paddy Caldwell (Bears) v Liam Bradley and Noel Bradley (McGuigan's C) is a Division 1 title rivals clash here. Bears sit top with Heaney and Caldwell being very consistent contributors. The 2 Bradley's might be known more for their exploits on the dart board but are both accomplished pool players and this should be a good game.
Adrian Holman and Gary Powell ( Bears) v Micky Cunningham and Cathal McCoy (Hustlers) is another game with all 4 players extremely experienced in the local game. This could turn into a very tactical game with the knowledge of the Hustlers pairing maybe being key in this match.
TJ's TABLE 3
Richard Taylor and Niall McQuillan (TJ's C) v Pat Quinn and Stephen Murphy (Killeavy) should be a home banker. Although the Killeavy pair play out of the Premier Divsion the TJ's lads are fantastic potters and should win unless this turns into a tactical battle.
Matthew Cregan & Danny Cinnamond (McGuigan's C Kieth galbraith and Kenny Gilbraith (McGuigan's B) is a McGuigan's Derby game and both teams are challenging for Division 1 honours. Gilbraith's outrageous potting might just swing it for him ' but this should be a cracker.
Mike Nugent and Leigh McAlinden (Nan's Rams) v Tommy Rooney Cailim McParland (CWC) should be another cracking match. Nan's are having a great season with Nugent and McAlinden 2 tremendous potters. The Premier pair from CWC are definitely in for a tough night here.
Gerard Cregan and Kieran McMahon of (CWC) v Karl McGuinness and Tony McGovern (Orchard Bar) see's Cregan & McMahon re-United as a pairing. The two won the pairs competition in 2014 and will be favourites for the title again. McGuinness and McGovern won't be fazed though and, both are well capable of pulling out a break finish McGuinness had a unique double win over McMahon last season beating him in both their league games so here on the blog we say come on Karl lets make it 3 in a row .
Mark Pentony and Barney Preece (Nan's Rams) v Harvey Lavelle and Pat Brady (Sheepbridge) is one of the ties of the round Certainly CWC is the place to be Thursday night with a host of cracking games. Preece is a potter all day long and with the pairs reverting back to the potter stays at the table then this could prove a banana skin for the Sheepbridge pair. Lavelle and Brady are the best doubles team on paper but it doesn't always work out like that and this could be tighter than it looks.
Cathal Phelan and Shane Phelan (Whitecross) v Paddy Tavey and Seamus McGeoghegan ( Sheepbridge) is another vote for tie of the round. All four players can play a good tactical frame and with Cathal Phelan and Paddy Tavey two of the best potters in the league this could be another classic on the cards.
John Little and Anthony Morgan ( Hustlers) v Matty Cartmill and Nicky Irwin (TJ's D) is another game tough to call. The TJ's pair are out and out potters and having fantastic season in Division 1. The Hustlers pair haven't set the pool world alight this year but are both very good players. Should be a very good game.
TJ's TABLE 4
Mickey O'Hanlon and Paddy O' Callaghan (Whitecross) v Paul Kelland and Martin Macelland should be a great match. O'Hanlon is having a great season for Whitecross as they contend for Premier Division honours. O'Callaghan started the hotshots table on fire but has struggled lately while the two Kellands have been steady. The Whitecross lads might just shade this 1.
Jack Courtney and Laurence McAlinden (TJ's A) v Declan McConville and Declan McMahon (TJ's A) is a dream draw for the neutrals. The four lads could open a shop in the buttercrane with the amount of trophies they have won between them and with TJ's A. McAlinden has won the pairs in both Newry & South Armagh pool leagues so he knows what it takes to take the title home. Can McConville hold his nerve which has let him down in the past. We're not going to sit of the fence on the blog. Declan McMahon has won multiple individual titles and he should be able to keep McAlinden at bay and scrape through 2-1.
Sean McArdle and Frank McArdle (Cue Club) v John Magee and Brian Campbell (McGuigan's A) is another that has shock written all over it. Cue Club are riding high in Division 2 while Magee & Campbell (mostly Magee) have struggled to make an impact this season. The two McArdles are on a roll and might just upset the premier Giants.
Richard Fletcher and Kris Fletcher (Boyds) v Philip Murphy and Ciaran Magill is a Division 2 match-up but these four could easily mix it in the Premier Division. In fact the Boyds pair are two very accomplished players in the old Division 1. Murphy is one the the best players in Division 2 and his attacking style is a joy to watch. Richard Fletcher will certainly try to turn it tactical if they are losing the potting battle. Fascinating game this but the knowledge of the two Fletchers should see them into the next round.