The big one is here. The most anticipated blog and biggest preview of any sporting occasion in Newry and Mourne history. Here we will analyse all 64 games.
Kieran McMahon and Pat Brady are the joint holders. McMahon plays an in form Pat Quinn (Johnny Murphy's) while Brady will take on a useful looking Liam Turley (Glen GFC)
Aidan Griffin (Nifty Fifty) v Mark Shevlin (St. Monnina B)
Aidan Griffin's Nifty Fifty side may not be ripping up many trees in Division 2 but the new side to the Newry Pool league have a super player in their ranks and his name is Aidan Griffin. He's having a cracking season and will go into this 1st round match full of confidence.
Mark Shevlin has taken to Division 2 like a duck to water. There's no doubting he has the Premier Division touch about him after spending most of his pool career at the highest level. Shevlin has a good all round game. Patient, good potter, good tactically and etc etc.
Aidan Griffin will pose plenty of problems for Mark Shevlin but this one the former Killeavey player should win.
Winner: Mark Shevlin.
Tommy O'Hanlon (Millvale) v Damien McArdle (Hustlers)
Tommy O'Hanlon has played his part in making Millvale Division 2 title contenders. He's one of the best players in the Division though he hasn't won as many games as he would have expected to.
Damien 'Diddles' McArdle is a sensational potter. The Premier Division player got off to a flying start. 4 wins in a row were follwed by a bad patch of 3 defeats but is back to winning ways and on his game he fears no one. McArdle is ultra attacking - smashing them in from everywhere is standard to him. His control over the white is close to nil though.
Anything less than McArdle's best could see him unstuck but anything other than a McArdle win would be a shock.
Alan Burke (Whitecross) v Damien Woods (TJ's B)
Alan Burke has yet to find the old form that made him a formidable opponent. 3 wins and 5 defeats isn't what he was expecting when he came out of retirement. After a few years out of the game his big finishes and excellent potting are still in the memory bank and yet to revisit the table.
Damien Woods has hardly played for TJ's B this season. 1 win and then 2 defeats is hardly preparation for the big individuals event. Woods had some big wins last year in this competition and will still be a tough opponent. He plays a tactical style and will try for 2 shots before going game.
Alan Burke has all the tools in his locker to squeeze past Woods but this going to be no pushover.
Shane McAllister (Hustlers) v Darren O'Hanlon (Johnny Murphy's)
After a sticky start to the season McAllister is finding his best form with 5 league wins in a row before losing last time out. McAllister is a smart player and a top potter.
Darren O'Hanlon topped the scoring charts for a while last season but 5 wins from 10 games in Division 1 is probably not as many as he expected.
O'Hanlon is a very attacking player and an open table will suit him best.
O'Hanlon can't be ruled out because of his potting ability but his style will suit McAllister as he is superb at digging out results when his backs to the wall.
Carlos Da Silva (TJ's B) v Raymie Magee (Foresters A)
Carlos Da Silva's biggest win (of which there aren't many) was against the high flying McGuigan's B team. That was 4 league games ago. Defeats have been aplenty and not surprising Da Silva along with the rest of his TJ''s B team mates - will be low on confidence.
Raymie Magee has yet to play a league game for Forester's A. It's not like Forester's A are cruising to the league title. Magee will no doubt be very ring rusty. He is no bad player but how much will lack of table time count against him?
Carlos Da Silva has had some bad luck and has played plenty of bad pool but there are signs he might just nick this one on a decider.
Ryan Diamond (Millvale) v Brendan McAllister (Nifty Fifty)
Ryan Diamond has been in and out of the Millvale team and the odd game he's played he's been second best. There's no doubting he's a fantastic talent but he is going into this 1st round tie short on games and short on confidence.
Fellow Division 2 player Brendan McAllister is going through a rough patch lately and he will be delighted to see the festive break. His early season form has vanished he needs to rediscover that winning feeling.
The exciting Diamond v the crafty McAllister is intriguing - mostly because their both short on wins. Diamond has more potting ability and Trainor's generous potting table should suit him better.
Colm Shields (Ballyholland) v Cathal McCoy (Hustlers)
This waa the first all-Premier Division pairing but not one to get the pulses racing.
Colm Shields won 3 of his 1st 4 league games but the wins have dried up since then. Shields is a decent potter but mistakes have cost him in the Premier Division and now the confidence has disappeared coinciding with Ballyholland's dramatic dip in form.
3 defeats then 3 wins have been followed by 4 more defeats for Cathal McCoy. The festive break has come just at the right time for the Hustlers ever present cueist. McCoy has a good pool brain and when on form he's a phenomenal potter.
Shields will need to bring his A game to have any real hope. McCoy should have a bit more class on the baize to take this one.
Mark Trainor (Trainor's Camlough) v Killian McDonell (Millvale)
Mark Trainor has only recently came into the Trainor's side and has 2 wins and 2 defeats. He's not one for going gong-ho into big finishes but he'll certainly capitalise if you give him opportunities.
Killian McDonnell may have lost a crucial frame in his last league game but his form has been nothing short of scintillating. Win after win is the norm for the Millvale star. He is an attacking player and won't get bogged down in tactical exchanges.
Mark Trainor will be playing on his home table which will be a big help. McDonnell plays with confidence and Trainor's table will suit him. It's another tight call but McDonnell to nick it.
Cathal Phelan (Whitecross) v PJ McDanial (Orchard)
Cathal Phelan isn't enjoying his most productive season ever. After a dodgy start back at Whitecross he warmed to the task and got a good run going winning 5 of his last 6 games. Phelan is cool as ice. A deadly finisher and always one the top players like to avoid.
PJ McDanial is a potting machine. He's only lost twice and is a model of consistency. He's won 6 including his last 3. McDanial is a good long potter and can see out a tricky finish. He won't particularly want a tactical battle.
Both players on their day can finish in a single visit. TJ's fast tables could make this a pot fest. Phelan has the experience and a 2 time former overall winner he has to start favourite.
Eddie Heaney (Bears) v Liam Bradley (Trainor's Bar)
Eddie Heaney is having a season to forget. 1 league win so far and that was against fellow strugglers Ballyholland is not a true reflection of his talents. Heaney has been unlucky at times and of course there's no hiding that he has been down right terrible at times. Even Specsavers couldn't save his long but in close Heaney can still pot balls.
Liam Bradley deservedly made it into our top scorers with a superb 7 wins from 10 games. Bradley may be more widely known for his exploits on the dart board but he's accustomed to winning on the Green Baize too. Bradley is good in amongst the balls, a tidy finisher and has serious bottle.
It's hard muster up much hope for Eddie Heaney. He needs to have a stormer and hope Liam Bradley doesn't turn up. A Bradley win is obvious.
Paddy Tavey (CWC A) v Adrian Murphy (Millvale)
Paddy Tavey is one of the most improved players in the league over the past couple of seasons. It's probably the first year he could really be considered a contender for the illusive Individuals title. The CWC A star has 8 league wins from 10 league games under his belt. He is bursting with confidence and after getting to the final of a recent talent filled tournament over the Christmas break he will be thinking of silverware. Tavey is a great potter and is taking on and producing big clearances. Very good tactically but he's far more attacking now than he used to be.
Adrian 'Spud' Murphy has been in and out of the Millvale side this season and recently it's mostly been out. Murphy is a solid player as you might expect from an ex-Corrinshego multiple league winner. Can 'Spud' produce the big wins of yesteryear? The talent is still there it just doesn't come out as often. The long potting is gone but in amongst the balls he can be deadly.
Paddy Tavey will know all about the peril's of taking Adrian Murphy for granted. This is no foregone conclusion but it's still Tavey's to lose.
Mark Pentony (Nan's Rams) v Paul Kelland (CWC B)
Mark Pentony will be delighted with his tally of 6 wins from his 8 league games played for table topping Nan's. Pentony is as reliable as old boots. Not one for break finishes but can swing a game with a few tactical shots and good composure in the big games.
Paul Kelland lost last time out against Madden's. His CWC B team sit pretty at the top of Division 2 and Kelland has played his part in this success. He is has lost his fair sure of games but mostly he's done well. Kelland won't be tempted into big finishes. He's more likely to cover a pocket and work from there.
Mark Pentony is playing great pool. Of late. He's playing higher quality players more often than Paul Kelland and Pentony should be fit to make round 2.
Charlie Doherty (Trainor's Bar) v Gavin Malone (Whitecross)
Charlie Doherty has yet to play a league game for Trainor's Bar. He is happy to watch from the sidelines as his team scrap it out for 2nd place in the Premier Division. Doherty is a crafty player and will wait for a mistake. He has good potting ability but getting snookers and tying up an opponent is his strong point. Could be ring rusty due to lack of table time.
Gavin Malone is suffering since giving up the captaincy of Whitecross. 4 league wins from 10 is not a good return from a usually reliable player. His cagey style is probably not best suited to the new cushion' rule. Malone can no doubt take out a tricky finish but he's bound to be low in confidence.
Gavin Malone has the game to win this. Charlie Doherty will need to turn this into a war of attrition but it should be Malone who boòks a 2nd round spot.
James O'Hagan (Dan's A) v Niall Rice (TJ''s B)
2015 overall individual winner James O'Hagan has not disappointed this season. His 8 wins from 10 games gave him one of the best records on our Christmas top scorer charts. The Dan's ace potter is not surprisingly sniper accurate. He eases round the table making every shot look easy. O'Hagan won't hang about going straight for the kill at the earliest opportunity.
Niall Rice is right bang in form winning 4 of his last 5 matches for a struggling TJ's B. It's credit to Rice for carrying on the fight as most of his Division 1 team mates seem to have downed tools. Rice is a good potter and but he won't want too many tactical battles.
Rice got a tough draw. There are many Premier Division players he would have been fancied to beat but James O'Hagan is not one of them.
O'Hagan to win 2-0.
Gareth McCann (Whitecross) v Darren Devlin (Bosco)
Gareth McCann is suffering his worst season in the Newry Pool League with 5 defeats in all 5 of the league games he's played. McCann is used to winning on a regular basis but those good days are a distant memory. He likes to go for his game early and with no back up game it's costing him dearly this season.
Darren Devlin has been sensational this season. 7 wins from 9 fired him into the Division 1 top scorer charts comfortably. He is one of the best potters in Division 1 and was a top player when he was in the Premier Division. He takes out crazy finishes and is bursting with confidence.
Any other year Gareth McCann would have a realistic chance of winning this game but as this will be a shoot-out potting spree there can only be one winner - Darren Devlin.
Niall McVerry (Trainor's Bar) v Paul Murphy (Bears)
6 wins from 10 league games isn't bad but it's not worth getting too excited about for a player of Niall McVerry's capabilities. McVerry is a natural potter but his all out attack style can leave him in a brittle position when a decent tactical player is handed the gift of an open table.
Paul Murphy is a member of the Bears team on a one way ticket to Division 1. Murphy has played his part in their looming exit from the Premier Division with 3 wins and 6 defeats. Murphy is incredibly one of their better players this season but 3 wins is still relegation stuff. He doesn't like to hold back. If the finish is on he will go for it.
Losing 4 of his last 5 is not ideal preparations for the individuals so Paul Murphy will be low on confidence. Niall McVerry will win this comfortably.
Gerard McGuigan (McGuigan's B) v Caolan Lonergan (Glen GFC)
Gerard McGuigan with 4 wins and 4 defeats from his 8 games so far has helped his McGuigan's team to 2nd in Division 1. He is tough on himself when he loses and no doubt he won't be too happy at only winning half his league games. McGuigan is capable of producing outrageous finishes but is well capable of fluffing and easy one as well.
Caolan Lonergan has missed a lot of games for Glen and in between a number of defeats he had a good win against the Cavern's James Young. Lonergan will attack the game but mistakes have let him down and there is no reason for him to feel optimistic.
Gerard McGuigan's win here.
Kris Fletcher (Boyds) v Shane Phelan (Whitecross)
Kris Fletcher hasn't exactly set Division 2 alight this season. His Boyds side have moved into promotion contention with a good run lately but he has lost 2 of his last 4 games. Fletcher is a thinker. He is a talented player. His potting is not as sharp as it used to be but he is tactically astute.
Shane Phelan has surprised us all with his tremendous 8 wins from 10 league games. It's even more surprising that he's doing it for a terrible Whitecross side. Phelan's potting has come on well this season and some nice finishes have put him among the elite Premier Division players.
What a game this could turn out to be. Kris Fletcher still has the game to trouble the top players but Shane Phelan is at the top of his game and should edge a few tactical frames on a decider.
Willie Andrews (Armagh/Down) v John Little (CWC B)
Willie Andrews is going through a horrendous run of results. Defeats have become regular and he's had to sit on the subs bench for the last couple of games. Andrews is usually a good reliable player. No doubt he will getting his potting and his confidence back.
John Little has suffered a lot of defeats himself lately. He did manage a good win away to the Cavern in a crucial table topper match. Little has been benched plenty and has little reason to look forward to the Singles.
This could be a war of attrition. Who can make the least mistakes? Who wants it more? John Little has played in some good teams and has the experience to nick this in 3 scrappy frames.
Leigh McAlinden (Nan's Rams) v Paddy Clarke (CWC A)
Leigh McAlinden has been very impressive for Nan's Rams as his side look set for a long over due rattle at the Premier Division. McAlinden has been playing fantasy pool with 8 wins from 9 games as opposed to the 9 from 10 we reported in our Christmas chart blog. He is thriving under these new 'No cushion' rule. He isn't scared of a good tactical battle but has improved dramatically when presented a finish.
Paddy Clarke jumped back on the CWC wagon after missing most of the 1st half of the season. Clarke maybe among the favourites to lift the title but he has already tasted defeat in the handful of games he's played. The Wizard is pure and simple all out attack. The best of 3 format can leave the Ballymena genius vulnerable though.
Paddy Clarke is the break and dish king but one mistake and Leigh McAlinden could well capitalise. This could be a banana skin for Clarke but it's still his for the taking.
Jimmy McVerry (Dan's A) v Conor Heaney (TJ's B)
Jimmy McVerry has got over his rough start to the season to win his last 3 league games. McVerry is a good solid player. He's good at the tactical side of the game and can tie opponents in knots. He had a good run in the individuals last year but will need to keep improving to get another good run this year.
Conor Heaney with 1 win in his last 4 games is not in the best of form hesding into the Individuals tournament. His TJ''s B team are slipping through the Division 1 trap door and Heaney's handful of wins haven't helped much. Heaney is making too many mistakes and his decision making has been poor for a decent player.
Jimmy McVerry probably won't need his A game to make it through to the next round.
Barney Preece (Dan's A) v Paddy McCann (St. Monnina)
6 league wins from 9 league games wasn't enough to get Barney Preece into our Christmas top scoring charts but it's a decent contribution from one of the fastest players in the Newry Pool League. Preece is all out attack and this style can catch him out in best of 3 frames. His incredible potting ability always makes him a contender.
Paddy McCann with 7 wins and 2 defeats is ready for all comers. McCann has many years experience in the Premier Division and is loving life in Division 1. He can be a slow starter before hitting the gears and has no problem taking out a big clearance.
If McCann does take a while to warm to the task the match could before he defrosts. Barney Preece is hot favourite and should win this one.
Emmett Fearon (Hustlers) v David Doran (Trainor's Camlough)
Emmett Fearon has yet to play for Hustlers this season. Fearon would have more than held his own as he is a decent player. He's spent most of his career in the lower Divisions but he has a good all round game to play at the top. His long pots would be good and won't do too many big flashy shots. Knows the safety game well too.
David Doran won 4 and lost 4. There's no quarter given in the Premier but by all accounts that's a decent 1st half of the season for him. He does like to take the game on a play attacking pool. He doesn't bother with negative thoughts or covering pockets unless he has to.
This is going to be a good attacking match. If Emmett Fearon was playing regularly he would get the nod but with David Doran playing decent pool he is the tip to progress .
Ciaran O'Neill (Hustlers) v Noel Donaldson (Whitecross)
This all Premier Division clash could be one of the tie's of the round. Ciaran O'Neill is one of the in form players in all 3 Divisions. 7 wins from 9 league games is brilliant from this young potting sensation. Wiping out finish after finish O'Neill is brimming with confidence.
Noel Donaldson hasn't quite hit the heights of last year but he did end Damian Kearney's super winning after 6 league games. Donaldson his a tally of 3 wins and 4 defeats which he won't be happy about. The South Armagh player has little to no defensive strategy so it's going to be all out attack for him.
If Noel Donaldson gets a good break of the balls and hits form then it is very possible he could win this but it is more likely O'Neill with the better all round game will come out victorious.
Robbie White (Ballyholland) v Micky Cunningham (Hustlers)
The stats can be misleading sometimes. Robbie White has won 5 league games so far. He won 3 of the 1st 4 and recently has won 2 and lost his last 2. White is a clinical finisher, attacks the game and has good shot selection. He has a decent tactical game and is a better player his stats suggest.
Micky Cunningham has guided his Hustlers side into a great position for runner-up spot in the league. He's been doing this from a captains role and his 1 league win out of 3 games shows it's not on the baize. The league Secretary has had a some good runs in the individuals competition over the past few season's. Cunningham is a very astute player. He has a tight tactical game and is an accomplished all round player. But how much will his lack of table time affect his game?
This is a close one to call. If the balls break kindly then Robbie White might have the edge. Dan's have a good fast table which will suit white. Micky Cunningham seems to know how to slow these players down and he's our tip.
Tommy Mooney (Trainor's Camlough) v Vincent McAllister (Nifty Fifty)
Tommy Mooney is having another brilliant season. 9 wins in a row following an opening day defeat saw Mooney clear 2nd in our Christmas top scoring charts. Mooney has been around a long time now and he's got the whole game. Great potter, steely nerves and tight tactically.
Vincent McAllister is one of the better players in a Nifty Fifty side that are doing reasonably well for their 1st year in the Pool League. McAllister is having a good solid season. He's lost his share but he's had plenty of big wins and he will be going into this match in decent form.
Vincent McAllister is enjoying life in Division 2 but he's stepping up in class and Tommy Mooney will cruise this.
Barry Murphy (Hustlers) v Henry McLoughlin (McSwiggan's)
Barry Murphy with 4 wins and 2 defeats will be looking forward to the 2nd half of the season hoping to improve on that record and earn himself some more silverware. Murphy won't go for the crazy finish instead he will work his balls out or cover pockets. He always makes himself hard to beat.
Henry McLoughlin will have been gutted to lose his last league game to Terry Pheonix. McLoughlin had been on a fantastic run and is one of McSwiggan's star players. He is also a player that likes to cover pockets but he's been taking out some terrific finishes in Division 2.
Its a big ask for Henry McLoughlin to step up and beat an accomplished Premier Division player. Barry Murphy should see this one through after a few scrappy frames.
Sheila Johnston (Johnny Murphy's) v Chris McKeown (Forester's A)
Sheila Johnston has played 4 and won 2. That's a decent return for somebody not playing too much. Johnston should go to more games and fight for her place. She can obviously hold her own in Division 1. Sheila just likes to pot and won't fancy getting stuck in tactical battles.
Chris McKeown won 4 and lost 5 of his 9 games. Winning just under half his games gives him a worse win percentage than his opponent. Forester's A captain McKeown is a decent player though and doing a good job with his team. McKeown likes to wait for openings and doesn't mind covering pockets.
McKeown will have all the pressure on his shoulder but after a titanic struggle he should have the quality to progress.
Kieran McMahon (CWC A) v Pat Quinn (Johnny Murphy's)
Joint individual winner last year Kieran McMahon lost 3 of his 1st 6 league games. He's won his last 4 though so the ruthless streak seems to have returned. McMahon needs little introduction. Classy potter, superb cue ball control and will attack the game from the outset. One of the best players Newry Pool League ever had.
Pat Quinn won 6 and lost 4 in Division 1. The former Killeavey player is back enjoying winning regularly. No doubt what approach Quinn will take. He has been around long enough to know he won't out pot McMahon so covering pockets and trying to get snookers will be the order of the day.
Pat Quinn might know what he needs to do but executing it is a different matter. McMahon should have little problems here.
Damon Murphy (Cavern Bar) v Mike Nugent (Trainor's Camlough)
Damon Murphy is in brilliant form lately and having a cracking season. He won his big game last time out against promotion rivals Millvale and also won against league leaders CWC B. He seems to be a big game player. Murphy loves to get in and pot pot pot. A joy to watch this lad.
Mike Nugent won 4 and lost 3. The Trainor's cueist is a reliable finisher. He is an aggressive player and doesn't hang about when going for a finish. He can be an important player for Trainor's in the 2nd half of the season.
Both players are in decent form. If Damon Murphy has belief he could just edge this on a decider.
Seamus McGeoghegan (CWC A) v Niall Connolly (Dan's A)
Seamus McGeoghegan with 6 wins and 3 losses just missed out on a place in our Christmas Charts. McGeoghegan is one of the best thinkers in the game. He loves nothing more than a tactical battle. He won't out pot the top players but he's one of the hardest to beat.
Niall Connolly has only 3 Premier Division wins so far this season. 6 defeats is a worrying stat as Connolly has been a regular in a good Dan's side. Connolly is capable of laying a good snooker but he does prefer to play an attacking game.
Connolly will need everything to fall in place for him to win but the wise bet is on the craft Seamus McGeoghegan.
Noel Bradley (Trainor's Camlough) v Damien Kearney (Hustlers)
Noel Bradley has been an ever present for Trainor's. 6 wins from 10 is a terrific effort from Bradley. His potting and positional play has come on well and he's no dozer when it comes to getting a snooker.
Damien Kearney with his 7 wins in 10 games got him on our prestigious Christmas Charts. Kearney won his 1st 5 and after 3 defeats he won his final 2 games. He is a brilliant potter and has his confidence back after a few defeats rattled him.
This Premier Division clash is one of the best ties of the round. Both players are right bang in form and this could go either way. Kearney is arguably a slightly better potter and indeed of sitting on the fence we tip him.
Andrew Chan (Nan's Rams) v Bernie Magee (CWC A)
Andrew Chan is having a really good season for table topping Nan's winning 6 and losing 3. Unfortunately for Chan one defeat was against Forester's B who are now out of the league. Chan is an exciting attacking player and the CWC table will suit his style of play.
Bernie Magee has hit a rich vein of form before the festive break winning his last 5 games. A total of 7 wins saw him into our top scorers chart. Magee is one of the most knowledgeable players in the league. His shot selection is good and the tactical legend can tie you up in knots.
Andrew Chan got a tough draw here. In a clash of styles it who can impose themselves on the game. Bernie Magee is the master tactician and on his home table should have too much for Chan.
Michael Feenan (Whitecross) v Paul McAreavey (McGuigan's B)
Michael Feenan has had a frustrating time as Whitecross captain and 4 wins from 9 games is hardly inspiring on the table. Feenan is all out attack. His lack of a back up plan has cost him dear on many occasions. He is an excellent potter but he does suffer from 'blackitis'.
Paul McAreavey has 6 wins and only 2 league defeats so far this season. McAreavey will be delighted with those stats as McGuigan's B seek promotion. He is a smart player and won't rush into a big finish. The former Premier Division player is quality and can take out a big finish.
Paul McAreavey won't be fazed by playing Michael Feenan. Feenan will try to blast McAreavey out of the water with big finishes. The CWC table might suit Feenan too. This will be close but Feenan might take this on a decider.
Philip Murphy (Hustlers) v Mickey Green (Dan's A)
Philip Murphy has endured a tough start to his Hustlers career. He's only played 3 and lost 3. There is no doubting Murphy is a talented potter. He needs to work on his positional play and his tactical play.
Mickey Green isn't ripping up many trees for a player so talented. 4 wins and 4 defeats is hardly ground breaking pool. Green is an incredible potting machine. He has no idea where the white is going but what a potter this boy is. Absolutely no plan B or safety play though.
This is going to be a shoot out. Neither player likes covering pockets or safety exchanges. Green is in better form and looks the safe bet here.
Diarmuid Lonergan. (Sheepbridge) v Michael Teggart (St. Monnina)
Diarmuid Lonergan has been a fantastic signing for Sheepbridge. Lonergan has won 5 of his 7 games and he'll be happy enough with that. He can be slow and tactical but it certainly works for him. He's also good when he gets in but will wait for 2 shots first.
Michael Teggart has won 3 and lost 3 games so far. Teggart is not a natural potter but he is a hard working player and won't give up easy.
Diarmuid Lonergan has that bit of extra experience and that touch of class that will see him through.
Declan Finnegan (Trainor's Camlough) v Jim McMahon (Ballyholland)
Declan Finnegan has 4 wins and 4 loses . He will need to improve on that record if Trainor's are to get 2nd place in the Premier Division. Finnegan has the experience and loves a good potting spree.
Jim McMahon masterminded Ballyholland's rise to the the Premier Division but his 3 wins isn't going to be enough to prevent his side in a relegation fight. McMahon is a decent potter but will opt for covering pockets when he can.
This could be a long 3 frames in the Windmill. Declan Finnegan might just have the potting ability to sneak this on a decider.
Charlie Broughton (Orchard Bar) v Billy O'Neill (Hustlers)
Charlie Broughton with 3 wins in his 5 league games missed the last 4. Broughton is a good natural player. Nice cue action and a deadly potter. Capable of playing a tactical game too.
Billy O'Neill has also won 3 out of 5. Billy O'Neill loves the big games and does tend to get a good run in the individuals. He is a slow starter but once in the game he can swing a losing position very quickly.
This is going to be another tight match. It's a toss of the coin who will edge this one. Charlie Broughton is a quicker starter and might edge a tense thrilling match.
Harvey Lavelle (CWC A) v Paul Taylor (TJ''s B)
Harvey Lavelle is one of the legends of Newry Pool. He's won everything the game has to offer. 7 wins from 10 league games is good but more than likely this perfectionist won't be happy with just 7. A great tactician, a brilliant potter and super positional play are just a few of his attributes.
Paul Taylor has only played 1 league game and he lost it. A season or 2 ago Paul Taylor would have been a regular winner week in week out. Taylor is a decent potter. He can take out a tricky finish. How sharp could he possibly be though when he's virtually missed the 1st half of the season?
This one should be an easy prediction. Harvey Lavelle with a bit to spare.
Marty O'Callaghan (Whitecross) v Malachy Maguire (Nan's Rams)
Malachy Maguire won 9 from his 10 league games. He has been in sensational form. He was joint top of our Christmas top scoring charts for Division 1.
Malachy Maguire has a bye as Marty O'Callaghan won't be playing.
Seamus Keenan (Bears) v Ralph Crummy (Bears)
Seamus Keenan is having a horrendous season with bottom Premier side Bears. 1 win and 9 defeats is the results of a terrible nightmare. Keenan plays a slow thinking game and usually he can get the results. It's just not going for him this season.
Ralf Crummy has 3 wins and 3 defeats for Bears after he joined the relegation party late. Crummy plays an exciting attacking brand of pool. He looks like one of the Bears players that could get a run in the individuals if he gets the breaks.
As we said Ralf Crummy has the quality to get a run in the individuals. Derby games like this are horrible for the players but great for the neutral. Crummy is out tip in a close match
Stephen Rooney (CWC A) v Ryan O'Hare (Dan's A)
Stephen Rooney has only played 4 games and won 3 of them. Rooney is quality throughout his game. He usually gets tough draws in this comp. His tight tactical play and lethal finishing will always make him a contender.
Ryan O'Hare has a 100% winning record for Dan's A. It's just a pity he's only played 2 league games. O'Hare does have a quality tough about him. Decent potter and good positional sense make him a dangerous opponent.
Stephen Rooney is pure class and although he won't want to give Ryan O'Hare much encouragement he should sail through.
Andrew Connolly (McSwiggan's) v Mark Flemming (Nifty Fifty)
Andrew Connolly is going through an abysmal run for his McSwiggan's side that are seeking promotion. It's been defeat after defeat for Connolly. He's not getting the rub of the green but it's the practice table that's needed for him.
Mark Flemming has won a few games for Nifty Fifty but his recent form has been poor. He's coming into this game on the back of defeats as well as night's on the subs bench.
Neither of these two are going to win the competition but Mark Flemming should at least get past the 1st round.
Tom McGuinness (St. Monnina) v Robbie Loughran (Nifty Fifty)
Tom McGuinness won 2, lost 2, then won 2 before losing 3 of his next 4. McGuinness has been consistently inconsistent. He is a tough opponent who thrives on mistakes. He loves keeping the game tight and can finish with the best of them.
Raymie Loughran has had a mixed season with Nifty Fifty. He's won a few but hes suffered lots of silly defeats and hit a few bad runs.
Tom McGuinness has the experience and the skills to win this 2-0.
Shane McVerry (Armagh/Down v Damien Flanagan (McGuigan's B)
Shane McVerry lost last time out against Nifty Fifty and he's had a mixed bag of results this season. McVerry is a useful player and only for a few mistakes the good potter would have a few more wins.
Damien Flanagan won his 1st 4 league games but only 1 more win left him with 5 due to defeats and not playing. 'Bud' is a very good player on his day. Good positional play and smart tactically. He's a game for anyone on his day.
Former Premier Division player Damien Flanagan is one of those players nobody wants in the draw. Shane McVerry will be saying the same after this game.
Mark Maguire (Nan's Rams) v Giby Vettiankal (Ballyholland)
Mark Maguire could be swapping Divisions with his opponent the way the league's are shaping up so don't read too much into the Division 1 v Premier Division. 5 wins and only 2 defeats is a strong showing for Maguire. Maguire has a strong tactical game. He can cover pockets and get snookers if required. He has a good temperament and a tough competitor.
Giby Vettiankal has 3 league wins in a Ballyholland side finding life is tough at the top. 5 league defeats isn't unexpected for a player playing Premier Division for the 1st time. Vettiankal will work the balls out before going for a finish. He is a solid potter.
This is an incredibly hard game to call. Both are good players but Mark Maguire is the player in form and that could be the difference.
Gerard Harte (Armagh/Down) v Kevin Magee (Hustlers)
Gerard Harte has featured very little lately for the resurgent Armah/ Down. Inactivity is not ideal for a big individuals match like this. The new cushion rule was never going to suit Harte. He likes rolling in behind balls and laying snookers as well as covering pockets.
Kevin Magee is having a wonder season so far. He could never have imagined making our Christmas top scorers chart. 7 wins from 10 league games has Magee in Dreamland. He's rode his luck at times but the right shots at the right time always gives him a chance. Smart player who knows how to work his way round a finish.
Gerard Harte has it all to do. Kevin should cruise this 2-0.
Luke Phelan (Trainor's Camlough) v Stephen Teggart (CWC A)
Its been a season to forget for Luke Phelan. He's only played 5 games and won just the 1. He did play in Trainor's last 2 and lost them both. Phelan isn't one for break and finishes. Pot and play safe, pot and play safe.
Stephen Teggart has won trophies throughout his career. He's only played 3 league games - winning 2. Teggart is a brilliant single ball potter. One of the best in the local game. He's been known to be a little over cautious but nevertheless he is always a contender for the title.
Teggart has this one wrapped up 2-0.
Pat Brady (CWC A) v Liam Turley (Glen GFC)
Pat Brady is another who needs little introduction. The current joint holder of the Singles Crown has been in devastating form this season. He's played 10 league games and won all 10 to top our Christmas top scoring charts. Brady is the complete player. Unreal potter, tactically he's arguably the best, ice cool under pressure and the rest.
Liam Turley seems to be having a good season with Glen GFC. It's hard to tell how good due to the lack of scorecards available to me but he certainly has won his fair share of games.
It will matter none. Liam Turley is up against one of the greats in local pool. This would be one of the biggest upsets in the Newry Pool History but don't bet your house on it.
Neil Heaney (Bears) v Sean Monaghan (McGuigan's B)
Neil Heaney with 5 wins his 10 games is doing his best to keep Bears in the Premier Division. The Baby Faced Assassin is a very good potter. He can play a decent tactical game but it's his potting and cue ball control are his strong points. He's missed a few black's this season so he could have an even higher score.
Sean Monaghan also has 5 wins but with a game less played. It's good steady pool but he might need to up that average if McGuigan's B are to get promoted. Monaghan won't rush into a finish and will try to keep it tight.
Neil Heaney has done will this season and he should progress.
John McMurray (TJ's B) v Gerard Bagnall (Glen GFC)
John McMurray has lost his last 4 games for TJ's B. He won a few games early in the season but he's gone way off the boil since then. The new cushion rule isn't suiting the Learner Driver Instructor. McMurray plays a cagey game and would rather cover pockets and go for 2 shots.
With the shortage of Glen score cards at my disposal it's not easy to track a players progress. What we do know is that I had to trek a long way back to find a defeat for Gerard Bagnall. He is easily the star of the show for Glen. He is a splendid potter and makes finishes look effortless.
Gerard Bagnall might be stepping up a Division but with Johnny McMurray badly out of sorts we are tipping young Bagnall.
Calium McParland (CWC B) v Jamie Fletcher (Boyds)
Callum McParland might be celebrating his CWC B team being top of Division 2 but his contribution has been minimal. A few wins has been coupled with plenty of defeats and some substitute appearances. McParland needs to hit the practice table. He's had experience in the Premier Division and it's time for him to step up to the plate.
Jamie Fletcher has won 3 games in a row for Boyds although he missed a game in the middle of that run. His early season form was poor and missed some games. Fletcher is a good young player. He's a decent potter and tries to control the game from the outset.
This could be a scrappy match. If Jamie Fletcher gets into his groove he could edge it 2-1.
Mary Cunningham (Hustlers) v Josh McKeown (Forester's A)
Mary Cunningham played 3 games early in the season when Hustlers were joint top with CWC and won them all. Since then she's only played in 2 of the last 5 and lost them both. Miss Cunningham is well used to the new cushion rule. She was part of the Blackball Ladies team that recently won European honours. She is classy player. Very knowledgeable in shot selection and works her way around a finish with nonchalance.
Josh McKeown started his league campaign like a a greyhound out of its trap. 3 wins on the bounce was then followed by 3 straight defeats. McKeown fell off the wagon and drifted away from the 1st team squad. He only played one more game and lost that.
Mary Cunningham seems to have no problems beating players that aren't quite at her level. She will be safe again here.
Gary Cowan (TJ's B) v Conor McQuiad (St. Monnina)
Gary Cowan has at least 4 wins and 4 defeats. We are missing a score card for 2nd league game. Cowan has won his last 2 games and should be in good confident mood going into this 1st round tie.
Conor McQuid is the brainchild behind St. Monnina's challenge for promotion from Division 1. He had won 4 from his 1st 6 league games before opting for a place on the bench. He's the captain and he only picked himself 1 more time and lost that. McQuid is a smart player. He played under Pat Brady for many a year in South Armagh and will know a sound tactical game.
Gary Cowan looks to be in better form going into this tie but Conor McQuid is great at digging out a result and is rightfully favourite.
Mathew Cregan (Cavern Bar) v Declan McConville (CWC A)
Mathew Cregan has had some big wins this season. He started the comeback last time out against promotion rivals Millvale Away and also won his home game against league leaders CWC B. He's had some defeats but it's mostly good from the experienced Cregan.
Declan McConville is just coming into a bit of form recently winning his last 3 games. His total record so far is won 6 and lost 4. It's not exactly ground breaking stuff from the proud former snooker player and multiple league winner. McConville is an exciting potting machine who waits for no invitation to go for finishes.
Mathew Cregan could be a tricky customer if Declan McConville goes for the game and doesn't get it. Cregan won't be fazed but Declan McConville is a class act and has too much fire power not to win.
Brian O'Neill (Whitecross) v Kevin Crilly (Johnny Murphy's)
Brian O'Neill has a dreadful record this season. He had 4 defeats before he found the subs bench, he came back with a win against Bears then lost his next 3. It's not pretty reading. O'Neill likes to play attacking pool but he needs to work on shot selection and his tactical game.
Kevin Crilly has a 50% record. 5 wins and 5 losses. Crucially he's lost against big promotion rivals like Nan's, McGuigan's, Sheepbridge and Boyds. Division 1 is a tough Division this year to pick up consistent wins. Crilly can miss easy pots but he has a good temperament and won't worry about playing a Premier Division player.
Kevin Crilly is the player that's on form. If O'Neill can dig up some of his old form where he beat Manny Byrne then he could sneak this. O'Neill is our tip but by the skin of his teeth.
Damien McAteer (TJ's B) v Axel Foley (Armagh/Down
Damien McAteer has lost his last 3 league games. We have a score card missing but he definitly as 6 defeats at least and 2 possibly 3 wins. The most blinding fact is he's hit a rough patch of late with no wins in the month of December. McAteer is a finer player if he can get that cue action back.
Axel Foley seems to have got through a bit of a rough patch to get back on track with a run of good wins. He won his last game before the festive break against Nifty Fifty and the wins were back flowing after a dry November.
This could be close one. Axel Foley is moving up a Division. He's in good form while Damien McAteer is out on his luck. It should be tight but Axel Foley could take out McAteer to progress.
Paddy O'Callaghan (Dan's) v Declan Brady (St. Monnina)
Paddy O'Callaghan has a meager 3 wins from his 7 league games. He's another of those players signed by Dan's to bring them to the next level but O'Callaghan has largely been disappointing. He is an extremely attacking player and fits the Dan's profile perfectly. Most likely his best days for Dan's are still ahead of him.
Declan Brady with 5 wins and 5 defeats will be thinking he could improve. He's won his last 2 to rescue his pride and he will be looking to push on and help St. Monnina to promotion from Division 1.
When Paddy O'Callaghan hits his groove he is a classy player. He's a really top potter and the Premier Division cueist should prevail.
Tony McElroy (Dan's A) v Benny Hoey (Millvale)
Tony McElroy is having a nightmare at Dan's. Played 4 and lost 4 is poor from a natural potter like him. The lad is a super wee potter but sometimes you just don't get the breaks. He has no notion of playing a safety shot, it's just all out attack but this approach just won't cut it with the big boys.
Benny Hoey was sub last time out and judging by his results he's going to find it difficult to get into this strong Millvale team. He won in an 7-1 thrashing of Trainor's B and had a good win against Glen GFC. Too many mistakes and plenty of nights on the subs bench have spoiled his 1st half of the season.
Tony McElroy is a tasty potter. Benny Hoey is unlikely to capitalise of McElroy's mistakes so the Dan's player should win this game.
John Hogan (McGuigan's B) Martin Reavey (Cavern Bar)
John Hogan with 5 wins from from 8 games (including a break finish against Trainor's A) is looking forward to helping his McGuigan's team up to promotion. Hogan is a good finisher and can work his way round with some element of control over the white ball. He's no slouch on the tactical side either.
Martin Reavey has forgot what that winning feeling is like. He has missed the last couple of games and suffered a string of defeats in November and early December. Martin Reavey is pure and simple an out and out attacking player. It's go for the game every visit. His potting can be good at times (not judging by his results though). His shot selection can be dreadful at times and has no safety game. Rav needs to get practicing and get back winning if he wants to help Cavern to promotion.
John Hogan has this one in the bag unless Martin Reavey can bring back the glory days.
Richard Fletcher (Boyds) v Colly McCann (Millvale)
Richard Fletcher has at least 6 wins from 8 and possibly 7 from 9 - who knows? Fletcher made our Christmas top scorer charts as can be read in our previous blog. Ritchie Fletch has bags of experience and bags of talent. A good tactical game is the platform for many of Fletcher's wins.
Colly McCann may hope his wins are all on score cards we in the blog don't have at our disposal because the ones we have have don't make good reading. All good players can hit a barren spell but it's defeat after defeat after defeat and a few subs bench appearances. McCann needs to find the form of old. He can be a superb player and is usually a hard player to beat.
Richard Fletcher should be rubbing his hands. He's getting Collie McCann at a good time and the Boyds ace has this.
Martin Conroy (McGuigan's B) v Brendan McVerry (Windmill Bar)
Martin Conroy has had a phenomenal start to the season. As mentioned in the previous blog Conroy won 7 games on the spin before finally losing his 1st game of the league campaign on the last night before the festive Break. Conroy is great in among the balls and can see out a good finish. He has good positional sense and tactically he is well coursed.
Brendan McVerry started the season well with 3 wins and 1 defeat. He finished the season with 4 defeats and ended that drought on the last day before the break with a win against Trainers A.
Both players compete in Division 1 but Martin Conroy is having a cracking season so far and we see no reason that it won't continue against Brendan McVerry.
Ronan O'Reilly (Nan's Rams) v Mervyn Kernaghan (Orchard)
Rony O'Reilly got all for of his league wins in the last 6 matches. He managed to recover from his bad start. His 4 wins and 4 losses weren't to the detriment of Nan's and O'Reilly can look forward to a productive 2018. He is very attack minded. His potting ability always gives him a chance.
Mervyn Kernaghan is hitting a nice bit of form now as he has won his last 4 league games. He has 2 wins and 3 defeats before that. His 6 wins wasn't enough to make our official Christmas top scorer charts. Kernaghan is well renowned for his tactical side of the game but he is also great at pulling out those close range finishes. Good shot selection and cue ball control are more of his attributes.
Both players are well improved from the start of the season but Premier Division hotshot Mervyn Kernaghan is playing on his own table and is playing well enough to see off a dangerous opponent.
Kieran Loughran (Forester's A) v Seamus McVerry (Dan's A)
Kieran Loughran has hardly set Division 1 alight with 4 wins and 5 defeats. Half of those wins came in the opening 2 league games. After a barren spell he won 2 from his last 4. Loughran used to be good at the old tactical game of rolling in behind a ball and covering pockets. With the New cushion rule it's been difficult for the former South Armagh player to adapt.
Seamus McVerry has had no such problems. He hit a purple patch winning 6 league games on the trot before finishing with 7 wins from 9 games to make it into our Christmas top scorer charts. 2016 overall individuals winner McVerry plays a smart brand of pool. He knows his limits and plays percentage shots. He never plays a rash shot. He is brilliant at working round a finish and his smooth cue action mean potting errors are few and far between.
A few year ago Kieran Loughran might have troubled Seamus McVerry but it won't happen this time. 2-0 McVerry.
That'1s the biggest preview in Newry and District sporting history. Enjoy the read
Remember 2 winners from each venue progress.
Good luck lads! and lets all remember its only a game of pool so Enjoy it..