Snooker: Conway & O’Neill, McParland and McGuckin all win

2016 ETSL Senior Doubles champions James Conway and Oliver O'Neill
2016 ETSL Senior Doubles champions James Conway and Oliver O'Neill

There was a good spread of the glory in the individual titles on offer in the RTM Mortgage Services Seniors League, with the trophies eventually making their way to destinations in Cookstown, Coalisland and Keady.

First up was an intriguing Handicap Final on Monday night at the McKees Club in Gortgonis, with the seasoned campaigner in this sector, Terry Dunlop of Mitchells INF, being opposed by a newcomer to this level, Max Keady cueman Stevie McParland.

Now, although the south Armagh player is in his first year in the ‘Old Crocks’ grade, the accomplished Division One performer was conceding 21 points per frame to his older rival. And that seemed like a tall order for McParland, more especially after he lost the first frame by a whopping 84-16 after a superb 42 break by the man who had the distinction of being the first player of the year when the East Tyrone League was re-established way back in 1983.

One of the dreaded ‘kicks’ was to prove costly in frame two for the Castlecaulfield resident, however, McParland taking full advantage to win it 76-29. And it was over and out for the Mitchells man in frame three when. At 22-29, McParland threaded together a wonderful 54 break.

The Open final trophy will, nonetheless, find its way to Ardcumber Road, because Paul McGuckin unsurprisingly romped to a straight frames win over Oliver O’Neill at the Max Club in Keady on Tuesday evening as McGuckin , another newbie in seniors snooker, climaxed his fine victory with a splendid break of 74.

But, you might say that there was ample compensation for O’Neill on Wednesday night at the Mitchells club when he partnered James Conway to a memorable win in the final of the seniors doubles.

The Gortgonis boys edged a tight opening frame 70-56 and then held their nerves well after losing a 55-0 lead as Philip Gribben knocked in 37 and Eddie McKenna immediately added 23 to put the Max A pair in front at 60-55.

It was nip and tuck in the closing stages but, in trying to move black off the cushion by slamming pink into it, McKenna unluckily left the salmon ball hanging over a pocket.