TJ's A v Corrinshego A
Who was the greatest?
TJ's set a host of records this season by becoming the 1st team in the top tier of the Newry Pool League to go a whole season unbeaten.
They cleaned up all the cups in a historic season & won the league by a new record of 10pts.
Corrinshego won an incredible 11 league titles in a row. In 2006-07 they completed an unbelievable 'Double Quadruple' by winning league & all the team cups in back to back seasons.
Many pundits believe this TJ's side is the best team ever and with Kieran McMahon, Declan Brennan, Jack Courtney, Eugene McDermott, Declan McMahon, Stevie Noade, Raymie McKenna, Laurence McAlinden, Manny Byrne, Tristan Byrne & Declan McConville it's a valid claim.
The biggest gripe people have with this team is that they had no competition. But they could only beat what's put in front of them. You can't blame TJ's for the lack of quality in opposing sides. Only one or two teams really had TJ's on the ropes. Sean McKevitt of TJ's B in the opening game of the season had a shot on the black for a 5-2 win but when he missed Stevie Noade & then Declan McConville fought back to salvage a draw. Orchard Bar drew 4-4 with TJ's A out in the Orchard and were very unlucky not to take maximum points.
A lot of this current TJ's A side have struggled against Corrinshego with their former clubs. The old Cue Club side of 05/06 season had snooker ace Kieran McMahon, Manny Byrne, Stevie Noade & Eugene McDermott. Also in that side was Mark McSherry & Conor McCooey - very useful players. They managed a couple of cups but no league title.
Most of this side moved over to Millie's & in their 1st season were 11pts behind until Corrinshego lost their final league game to finish 9 behind. Millie's still managed a cup for their troubles.
TJ's door opened and although this squad lost Kieran McMahon to CWC they had a terrific squad with Manny Byrne, Tristan Byrne, Eugene McDermott, Conor McCooey, Gavin Magee and adding a star player Declan McMahon along with Mark McMahon and a youthful snooker player in Declan McConville. That TJ's team watched on as Corrinshego completed the quadruple twice.
Laurence McAlinden was winning the division 2 singles title in 09 and would join the TJ's revolution in years to come. In 09 TJ's won the Vegas Cup but Corrinshego won their 9th league title.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
In late Spring 2012 Corrinshego collected their 11th league title in a row. Another glorious year saw them bring home a treble of trophies from the presentation night.
Cathal Phelan & Kieran Hanna decided to move on to pastures new that summer and the reliable duo of Pat Brady & Raymie McKenna would play 'bit parts' in the next campaign.
The title holders still had Harvey Lavelle, Adrian 'Spud' Murphy, Paul O'Callaghan, Tommy Mooney, Seamus McGeoghegan and a super Potter in Paddy Clarke. Karl McGuinness & Joe Poucher joined the formidable champions.
TJ's started 2012/13 with their usual star names such as Manny Byrne, Eugene McDermott, Declan McConville, Tristan Byrne, & Stevie Noade. Darren Shields would have a fantastic season and Noel Barlow & Dermot Lonergan provided useful back-up. Declan McMahon moved on for a new challenge & the TJ's title looked a distant dream.
Corrinshego started the season slow but by January they and TJ's would share top spot. In February Corrinshego suffered a stunning 7-1 defeat in CWC & the title swung TJ's way. They got a lead they never relinquished & ultimately 6 draws cost Corrinshego dear as both team suffered just 2 defeats.
How crucial would Cathal Phelan or Kieran Hanna have been playing the anchor role?
TJ's shrewd transfer business in the winter of that season proved pivotal. South Armagh duo Stephen Rooney & Martin McVeigh came in and brought valuable experience. They were two players that wouldn't wilt under pressure in the big games. It would turn out to be the first time in 11 seasons Corrinshego wouldn't be lifting the league title & in fact finished that season trophyless & incredibly finished 3rd behind TJ's Wanderers.
2013/14 TJ's retained their Division 1 crown beating Corrinshego to the post. The South Armagh side came flying out of the traps winning their 1st eight matches & after beating TJ's they had an amazing 7pt lead over the Hill Street side albeit with a game extra played.
Corrinshego had Raymie McKenna, Harvey Lavelle, Seamus McGeoghegan, Tommy Mooney, Paddy Clarke, Karl McGuinness, Tony McGovern and managed to sign up Stephen Rooney from TJ''s. Paddy Tavey, Niall McVerry & Jamie Lavelle had joined the ranks but after Christmas the side started to crumble.
A Corrinshego team used to thrive on pressure, dropped silly points at will and lost a crushing Vegas Cup final to bottom side Hockey Club but they did win the Divisional Cup.
TJ's line-up was beginning to have a familiar look about it. Laurence McAlinden and Jack Courtney signed on the dotted line. And the prodigal son Declan McMahon returned. Brendan Preece added a bit of attacking flair to the Newry side now taking shape.
Declan Brennan got signed up at Christmas and the snooker ace was in fine form during the run-in.
Despite only taking a point off Corrinshego in 2013/14 season they retained their title.
CWC star player Kieran McMahon won the overall individuals tournament beating Corrinshego stalwart Harvey Lavelle in the final.
LIVING THE DREAM(TEAM)
With the Corrinshego side now disbanded TJ's A were hot favourites for the league. Darren Shields, Noel Barlow, Brendan Preece and Dermott Lonergan left and Kieran McMahon added to this Galactico team there was only going to be one winner!
Jack Courtney had been a thorn in the Corrinshego side for many a year & had a tremendous record against them. He proved to be a brilliant acquisition and was outstanding in his 2nd season there.
Declan Brennan with his all or nothing style saw him destroy many opponents particularly in the 2nd half of the season, taking out some unbelievable finishes.
Laurence McAlinden had a sensational season despite running out on the bosco in there hour of need.
Captain Declan McConville continues to improve and had a fantastic season. A very slow learner and now an astute tactician.
There were no surprises with Kieran McMahon. He just comes on - wins - and sits down.
Stevie Noade with all his experience knows how to slow a game down and take out super finishes.
Manny Byrne and Tristan Byrne played their part in a record breaking season despite being trashed in scotch doubles they carried on reguardless. Declan McMahon, Eugene McDermott & Raymie McKenna didn't play as many as the rest but never let the side down.
So who was better?
TJ's A or Corrinshego A?
TJ's are the ultimate potting machines. In an open table all of the TJ's players can take out a break finish before you get back to your seat.
On a scrappy table there'd only ever be one winner. Corrinshego in the 06/07 season were full of tactical geniuses. They could pull off outrages finishes too but also tie you up in knots.
That Corrinshego side would certainly give this TJ's Dreamteam a run for their money. Who wouldn't have bet on a play-off if they had played in the same era?
For me on the blog it's all on the break. Good open breaks surely TJ's would win.
The Crafty Corrinshego would surely win the scrappy breaks?????
Don't be afraid to give us your opinion!