Patrick Wallace waited eight long years to win the trophy that preserves the memory of his great pal - and now it looks as though he is determined to hang on to the Barry McNamee Trophy, the Dungannon man producing a magnificent finish to see off the challenge of Joe Swail in a pulsating final.
It seemed for all the world as though Swail would win back the title, firstly when he fired breaks of 81, 50 and 37 to lead 2-0 in the five-frame decider and then when he opened the final frame with a 30 break which seemed a chance to clinch victory. But Wallace climaxed a terrific triumph in a blaze of glory with the tournament’s top break of 101.
Breaks of 38 and 43 enabled Colm Gilcreest to win the first two frames against Dermot Loughran, and he added a closer third on the pink with a clearance from the brown.
Patrick Wallace won the first frame against Joe Meara with a 79 clearance and led 61-4 in the second before Meara replied with 32 only to miss a tough yellow with the remaining balls at his mercy. Wallace potted it and added the third on the brown to win 3-0.
Joe Swail lost the first frame to late replacement Mickey Quinn on the pink but responded with a couple of half centuries to lead 2-1. Quinn dominated the fourth, however and led 37-0 in the decider only for Swail to recover to win it on the last red, thanks to an exceptional long pot on frame ball down the side cushion into the yellow pocket.
Jordan Brown conceded the first frame on the blue to another late call-up, Joe Loughran, who made the early running in the second as well. Brown turned the momentum in his favour by pinching it on the colours, a 3-1 winner without ever engaging top gear.
Wallace ground out a 2-0 lead against Gilcreest and started the third frame with a 46 break. Gilcreest potted a great long red and made 41 in reply before missing a tricky third last red to the middle and Wallace cleared with 42 to the pink to reach the final.
The crucial frame in the second semi-final was the first, which Swail won on the pink after both players had missed chances. He comfortably added the next two frames thanks to breaks of 46, 39 & 55 to reach his fifth Barry McNamee Memorial final.
The final was the highest quality match of the tournament, with both players in top form.
Swail ran through the first frame in next to no time with breaks of 50 and 81 and added the second comfortably chiefly thanks to an extremely hard working 37 break made mainly using the blue.
Wallace had only scored two points at this stage, but he made an 88 break directly from Swail’s break-off in the third to pull one frame back.
Swail was in first in the next, but missed a thin cut red on14, splitting the pack in the process, and Wallace again won it in one visit, this time with 75.
The first chance in the decider fell to Swail, and he made 30 before missing a tricky cut red, playing with side for position.
Wallace seized his chance by clearing the table with 101, the highest break of the tournament, to successfully defend the title he won for the first time last year.
This was the ninth consecutive year of staging the tournament, and for the eighth year in a row it was sponsored by Starplan – invaluable support that is very much appreciated by both the tournament organiser and McNamee family.