Another busy week of action in the league, a trophy won and more semi-finalists also emerging in Kildress Plumbing Supplies individuals.
The trophy was the Knockout Cup in the Seniors League and it went the way of the Division One title in that it will reside in the townland of Lagan in the wilds of south Armagh for the next twelve months.
But it wasn’t the completion of a double because the league champions weren’t even involved as Max Keady A had been beaten by their B team colleague in the semi-finals - and it was the B team partnership of Joe Shortt and John Maguire who took the laurels at the expense of Seamus Mitchell and Frank Loughran from the Mitchells club in Cookstown.
Gervins was the host club for the final last Wednesday night and, what had been expected to be a very tight affair, turned out to rather a bloodless encounter as the Keady men showed right from the start that they meant business and, in the end, the last three frames of the scheduled seven were not even needed.
The opener was a cat and mouse affair and there was some good play from both pairing before the frame was won on the pink ball.
But that was as good as it was to get for the longtime Cookstown partnership as the closest margin in any of the remaining frames was 34, the losers never managing more than an overall total points tally of 28 in any of the three.
Just for the record, John Maguire defeated Seamus Mitchell and Joe Shortt outpointed Frank Loughran.
Staying with the seniors and there are more awards to collect for the Keady club because two of the most popular players from that neck of the woods, Louis McGale and John O’Reilly, playing in the Max Keady C colours won the play-off against McVeighs A after they finished level in second spot in Division Two.
And, as with their B team, it was a pretty impressive performance because they saw off their seasoned campaigner opponents without loss of a frame.
In an uncannily repeat of the other game, the opening frame was the only one which was any way close, McGale beating Danny McVeighs in a black ball finish, before O’Reilly romped hom against John McArdle and then the reserve singles ties were equally onse-sided, leaving the concluding doubles frame surplus to requirements.
After the Kildress Plumbing Supplies Open Individuals zones, there are a couple of classic semi-final clashes in store, Brian Milne set to face Patrick Wallace this afternoon in Mitchells, while there’s a derby in Keady between Barry Hughes and Mark Nugent.
Milne defeated Mickey Quinn and Owen McKee to emerge from the Keady zone; Wallace beat Paul McParland and the unfortunate Seamus Nixon to take the spot from Gervins; Hughes defeated John Currie, Joe Loughran and Colm Kelly in Mitchells; and Nugent survived tests against Chris Maye, John Maguire and Peter Reilly at the Pot Black club.
Meantime, three of East Tyrone League’s top players filled the leading positions in the Topaz Mid-Ulster Premier Individual League which has been won in its first year by Mitchells player, Brian Milne.
Milne was a model of consistency since Christmas, having won his last ten matches in a row to secure victory over Mickey Quinn in second and Paul Currie in third.
Heading into the last week of action, the title was still up for grabs as a defeat for Milne coupled with a victory for Quinn would have resulted in the two players having to contest a playoff for the title.
To add to the drama, the last two games were played side by side and consisted of the top four players in the league as Quinn faced third placed Currie as Milne faced fourth-placed Gerry McAuley.
The opening frame between Milne and McAuley was a tactical affair with both players failing to capitalise on opportunities that came their way but it was Milne that settled quickest as he took the opening frame.
The match surprisingly ended within next twenty minutes as Milne improved significantly with breaks of 61 and 75 to be a 3-0 winner and, in doing so, ensured that his name would be the first to be engraved on the new trophy.
On the adjacent table Pot Black’s Quinn was having a battle royale with old adversary Paul Currie, also a Mitchells clubman. Currie raced to a deserved 2-0 lead, Quinn perhaps being deflated by what was going on alongside him.
As the other match ended, Quinn seemed to relax and got a frame. But it ws to be merely a temporary reprieve as Currie closed out the match by taking the fourth frame on the colours.