Some fanatic games to look forward. With so many great players it's not surprising we have one of the most exciting leagues in Ireland. ALL STATs exclude last Tuesday nights results that were played in Division 1 and 2 as the blog was already started prior to these fixtures.
@ Trainor's Bar Shane PHELAN (Whitecross) v Mark MAGUIRE (Nan's) Shane Phelan hasn't won a league game in his last 4 outings. And he's lost 5 out of his last 6. His 8 league wins from the 1st 11 games were enough to see him onto our top scorer chart at Christmas but he's gone well off the boil since the turn of the year. In fact the Whitecross captain has the worst current record in his South Armagh team. Mark Maguire can beat that though. He has one of the worst records in the whole league. He's lost the last 7 league games he's played and has picked up just the one league win so far this season. His total of 9 league defeats out of 10 has Maguire crying out for Division 1 next season where wins might, just might, come a little easier. Shane Phelan to win 2-0.
Shane McVerry (Bosco B) v Pat Byrne (McGuigan's) Shane McVerry might need to find a magic lamp if he's to pick up a win in 2019. He's left his best form back in 2018 as he struggles to pot a ball so far this year. Pat Byrne is in a rich vein of form for McGuigan's. He may have had a shock defeat against Whitecross last time out but he beat CWC's Kieran McMahon before that. Before Thursday nights blip Byrne had won 5 out of his last 6. Pat Byrne's ultra attacking pool can leave him open to a decent tactical player but he's safe enough this time around and it should be 2-0.
Richard FLETCHER (No. 7) v Damien KEARNEY (Trainor's A) Richard Fletcher beat Premier Division opposition Paul Murphy (Bears) in the 1st round. He won last week and he's enjoying the promotion hunt that Bar No. 7 are involved in. Fletcher is a big game player and he will fear no one. Dee Kearney has fought his way into Trainor's starting 8 after a string of good performances. He's played in their last 4 league games winning 3. That's his longest run in the side since the opening 4 league games of the season. Dee Kearney is in for a Royal scrap here but his new found confidence might edge a great match 2-1.
Liam BRADLEY (Trainor's A) v Declan MAGEE (Bosco) Liam Bradley was on a 7 game winning run until he came up short against CWC last time out. Bradley has been taking out some sensational finishes this season and has nerves of steal. Declan Magee had a good win against St. Monnina B and but lost against Millvale in has last two games. Magee beat John Daly in round 1 but he's stepping up in class now. Liam Bradley beat Barry Kelland in the 1st round 2-0 and a similar score should see Bradley ease through.
@ Bellinis Micky CUNNINGHAM (CWC A) v James O'HAGAN (Trainor's A) Micky Cunningham has hardly lifted a cue all season so he will be very short on match practise. The league Secretary scraped past Mark Pentony in the previous round but how will he cope with the lack of table time? James O'Hagan missed a black that would have kept Trainor's top of the Premier Division last week. That was his 4th defeat in a row and 6th defeat in 7 league games. He scraped through his 1st round tie 2-1 in what should have been as easy game. O'Hagan is a quality player and he will be back but whether he can hit form in time to resurrect his own personal campaign is another matter altogether. Micky Cunningham could make this a very tough night for James O'Hagan but it's hard not to see the latter edge this 2-1. O'Hagan should just about have to much fire power not to make it through.
Seamus McVERRY (Trainor's A) v Billy O'NEILL (Hustlers) Seamus McVerry had a memorable win over Harvey Lavelle in his last league outing. He has won his last 3 in a row and his last 8 out of ten. In fact his total of 10 wins and only 3 defeats puts him right up there amongst the finest in the league. Billy O'Neil has been inconsistent at best. He's won his last 2 league games, lost the 2 previous to that. He'll be glad he's over his tough start where he lost 6 in a row. Billy O'Neill is slowly but surely getting his mojo back but Seamus McVerry is having a tremendous season and is surely a dark horse to be champion again. 2-0 Seamus McVerry.
Kieran CUMMINS (Bosco) v Gareth McCANN (Whitecross) Kieran Cummins out though sharp shooter Killian McDonald in the last round. The methodical Cummins will grind it with the best of them. Cummins lost a final frame decider against Ballyholland last time out which would have secured a draw. Gareth McCann has at long last got his season on track. Won a massive frame for Whitecross when his team looked dead and buried at 3-0. He started the amazing comeback which finished 5-3 to Whitecross. He had a good win against a decent Kevin Lennon and McCann has now won his last 3 league games. Gareth McCann is on a roll although it won't be easy I'd expect the Whitecross cueist to edge a tight match 2-1.
Kieran McMAHON (CWC A) v Paddy TAVEY (Trainor's A) This is without question the tie of the round and probably the tie of the tournament so far. Kieran McMahon is rock solid. Cool as icicles on an iceberg. He broke and dished Eddie McCaughey in his last league outing. Despite being one of the most feared players in the league he has still lost 3 of his last 7. He had won his previous 8 in a row before that. McMahon stuffed the tricky Ciaran O'Neill 2-0 in the last round and he expects to clear every time he visits the table. 12 league wins in total is superb from the 'Machine' Paddy Tavey has been one of the players of the season so far. 2 of his only 3 defeats have come against his old side CWC A. He made no mistake last time out when he brilliantly broke and dished against Raymie McKenna. Tavey has won his last 4 in a row and 10 out of his last 11 league games. His 12 league wins puts him among the elite in local pool. Paddy Tavey needs to be playing in the latter stages of the individuals to be mentioned as one of the 'greats' of Newry pool. He needs to play flawless pool against Kieran McMahon but the ginger nugget McMahon is no easy Machine to break down. This could be a classic on a good potting table but we will go with the old reliable Kieran McMahon 2-1.
@ CWC Joe MAGILL (Hustlers) v Terry McNALLY (CWC A) Joey Magill lost his last game in the horror show against Nan's. He has won 2 out of his last 4 games after a run of 4 defeats. Magill likes to play attacking pool but he's got a tough 2nd round draw. Terry McNally won a crucial game against Trainor's in his last match and his record since joining CWC is impressive. 2 defeats and 8 wins is good by any standard. He's been a vital part in the CWC challenging for the title. Terry McNally shouldn't be overly tested here. 2-0.
Anthony REYNOLDS (Johnny Murphy's) v Brian O'NEILL (Whitecross) Anthony Reynolds is coming in off the back of a league defeat but he is a good solid player who is a dangerous potter. He beat John Little in the last round and will fancy his chances of progressing. Brian O'Neill has been like a new signing for Whitecross this season. He may have lost his last league game against McGuigan's but his 7 league wins are a fantastic return for the very much improved O'Neill. His last 6 wins have come 2 at a time. His pattern since Bears, way back in the 6th league game has been - 2 wins, 1 defeat, 2 wins, 1 defeat, 2 wins but now 2 defeats. A win against Reynolds would help get him back on track. We fancy Brian O'Neill to squeeze through 2-1.
Anthony Ryan (TJ's B) v Colm McCANN (Millvale) Had a good win in McSwiggan's on his last league outing to help TJ's B to a draw. His previous 2 league ended in defeat where he played last. The most agonising was his 8th frame loss against rivals TJ's C when cost his side a draw. Can Ryan cope in the big pressure atmosphere? Colly McCann is a potting machine. He has not one notion where the white is going. His attacking style is easy on the eye and quite productive in the lower leagues. McCann had a fantastic result in the previous round when he destroyed Neil Heaney 2-0. Colm McCann bullies opponents by going all out potting. 2-0 could be the result for him again.
Eddie McCAUGHEY (Trainor's A) v Raymond MAGEE (Hustlers) Eddie McCaughey has been a superb signing for Trainor's. McCaughey is a deadly potter who knows the patterns to make finishes look easy. McCaughey had won 5 in a row but he's lost 2 on the spin now. He got dished against CWC in the crunch title match but that is not something he needs to worry about against Ray Magee. Ray Magee lost in his lost match against Nan's and his previous game against Bears. After 5 defeats in a row Magee had recovered with 3 wins. His 5 wins in the league all season is one reason Nan's are heading back to Division 1. Eddie McCaughey won't need to be at his best to make it to the 3rd round 2-0.
@ Nan's Sean MURRAY (Trainor's) v Garry POWELL (Bears) Sean Murray is a top player but he has yet to set the Premier Division alight. He's only played 7 games but he's won 4 of them. He had a good 2-0 win over Darren O'Hanlon in round 1. Garry Powell had one of best results of the 1st round when he toppled Trainor's captain Niall McVerry. Powell lost out against Orchard in his last match which was his 2nd defeat in a row. In fact he has 5 defeats from the last 6 league games he's played. Most of his 6 wins came in the 1st round of league fixtures. Gary Powell needs to be at his best to compete against sharp potter Sean Murray. Both players play attacking pool but Murray gets our nod here 2-1.
Seamus KEENAN (Bears) v Jay KELLY (Glenn) Seamus Keenan lost his last 2 games but the game before he broke and cleared out in Whitecross. He has an impressive 8 wins with 5 defeats. The 'Snail' is a great grinder but a fine potter when he gets in the groove. Jay Kelly beat Andrew Connolly in the 1st round and had a good win in his last league game against No. 7. Kelly likes to play early and doesn't dodge the big guns. Seamus Keenan could be surprised by Jay Kelly's quality but we still think Keenan has too much not to win 2-0.
PJ McDANIALS (Orchard) v Brendan DEVLIN (Orchard) What a tie this is. This massive Orchard derby match-up should be a cracker. PJ McDanial destroyed Denvor Jenkins in round 1. McDanial has missed most of Orchards season but he has still managed 5 wins with 3 defeats. 1 of those defeats came against Bears in the last match. Brendy Devlin had to overcome Aaron O'Callaghan in the prelim and then Nathan Crudden to get this far. Devlin beat Garry Powell in Bears in the last league game. Devlin has 7 wins and 7 defeats. He had 4 defeats in a row around the Christmas and New year break. Brendan Devlin is playing regular pool and is an all round better player. He should go through 2-1.
Seamus McGEOGHEGAN (CWC A) v Diarmuid LONERGAN (Bears) Seamus McGeoghegan is doing his level best to stop CWC winning the league. Going by his results you could make a case that he's a closet Trainor's supporter. He's won only 1 of his last 7 games. He has 5 league wins all season. It's not pretty reading. Diarmuid Lonergan beat the tidy Tony McGovern in his last league game when he faced his old side Orchard Bar. He had lost 2 in a row before that and won 3 in a row previous to that. This will be a tensioned filled match with serious tactical play. The ref will be the biggest loser in this long drawn out match. If Diarmuid Lonergan can hold his nerve he could shock Seamus McGeoghegan 2-1.
@ Windmill Mickey O'HANLON (Whitecross) v Cailum LONERGAN (Glenn) Mickey O'Hanlon got a lucky draw in the last round when the No. 7 crew didn't travel out. O'Hanlon has struggled this season with 9 defeats and only 2 league wins all season. It's surprise he's decided to concentrate on the love life. We got a tip off he had the new lady back in Friar Tucks on Valentines night. Cailum Lonergan lost in his sides defeat against Bar 7 but he did have one of the shock results of the 1st round when he go passed Orchard Captain David Cromie. Mickey O'Hanlon will have his work cut out here but his vast knowledge might be the key to a 2-1 win.
Pat BRADY (CWC A) v Alan BURKE (Whitecross) What a draw the neutrals got here. Pat Brady is simply a phenomenon. He's aiming to contest his 3rd individuals final in a row. 11 league wins in a row puts Pat Brady clear in the scoring charts. He's the only player with 13 league wins. Alan Burke knows what he's up against here. Had a good run when he hit 5 wins on the spin. He then lost 2 in a row but a win against McGuigan's has him back on track. 7 wins 6 defeats is Burke's sum total for the season. Burke is not just back to his very best yet and he knows it needs to click for him on the night or it's the end of his Singles campaign. Pat Brady will be just too good. 2-0.
Conor O'HARE (McGuigan's) v Paddy CLARKE (CWC A) Conor O'Hare struggled past Brian McGeough from Windmill Bar in the 1st round. O'Hare's league record is impressive. 9 wins and only 3 defeats is top table stats. McGuigan's star player has little use for tactics as he just goes for the big finish every visit. Paddy Clarke now knows what it's like to be the hunted instead of the hunter after a might scare against Division 2 player Aidan Griffin. Clarke the current Singles Champion only scraped through 2-1 in the 1st round. Clarke has a better win average but maybe its only because he's played more games that O'Hare. 11 wins and 3 defeats is still 2 more than his opponent but their exceptional talents cannot be disputed. At 1st glance these two look virtually inseparable. The biggest problem is that 2 of Conor O'Hare's 3 defeats have come against CWC. Can O'Hare cut it against the really top players? Our tip has to be big talking Paddy Clarke and we'll go all in for 2-1.
Colm SHIELDS (Ballyholland) v Bernie MAGEE (CWC A) Colm Shields overcame tough Nifty Fifty opponent Raymie Loughran in the 1st round 2-0. Shields put his tactical skills to one side in his last Thursday night game before the Singles when he brilliantly broke and dished his Bosco opponent. He's having a fantastic season as his Ballyholland side push for Division 1 title honours. Bernie Magee had to battle past Barry Murphy 2-1 and then had to come from behind to scrape past John Hogan 2-1 again. Magee is nothing if not a hardened battler. Magee beat Liam Bradley in the final frame of the night against Trainor's to fire CWC top of the Premier Division in his last outing. Colm Shields could prove a tricky customer. He's full of confidence but Bernie Magee is the man for the big occasion and we'll go for 2-0 Magee.
@ McGuigan's Cathal PHELAN (Whitecross) v Michael FEENAN Cathal Phelan twice went on runs of 4 defeats from 5 games. That's astonishing for a player of his calibre. He's won his last 2 league games to help Whitecross go well clear in 3rd place. He scraped past John McMurray 2-1 in his prelim round then edged team mate Gavin Malone 2-0 in the 1st round. Michael Feenan is on a run of 3 defeats from his last 4 league games following his loss against McGuigan's. His 10 wins and 5 defeats is still one of the best records in the Premier Division. One thing Feenan won't be short on is confidence. He overcame Stevie Teggart in round 1 and now faces a whole new type of pressure. This is a really tough call to pick a winner. Is Cathal Phelan getting back to his best and is Michael Feenan going off the boil? You can never rule Cathal Phelan out of a match. He can win a match through pure grinding tactics or a sublime break finish. If Michael Feenan is on his game he can upset the odds here though. We will go for Feenan 2-1 in an entertaining match.
Tom McGUINNESS (St. Monnina) v Kevin MAGEE (Hustlers) Tom McGuinness beat the tricky Brendan McAllister in the 1st round and things are about to get a little more tricky. McGuinness can be slowed down and beaten tactically like Charlie Docherty did a few weeks ago. He had a good win the last Thursday the league was played and he likes opponents that attack. Kevin Magee beat Shane Durnin in the 1st round and now faces are far more experienced opponent. Magee won his last match in the defeat to Nan's. It was his 6th win in 7 games and 9th league win in total. Kevin Magee is having an outstanding season and although a tough game is guaranteed, he should edge a close contest 2-1.
Gerard McGUIGAN (McGuigan's) v Seamus GRAHAM (Trainor's) Gerard McGuigan is have the season of his life. He plays 1st virtually every week so he get all the big hitters. He won his opening 5 league games and is currently on 5 wins out of his last 7. He beat Conor McQuiad in the 1st round. Seamus Graham had a stunning 2-0 win over high flying Tony McGovern in round 1. Graham lost out to Paddy Clarke in his last league match but he had won his previous 3 league games. Seamus Graham and Gerard McGuigan should serve up a nice helping of all out attacking pool. Graham has only played 10 league games and has lost 4. This is a toss of a coin. Who will hit form on the night? Our tip is Gerard McGuigan in a close 2-1 win on his home table.
Raymond McKENNA (CWC A) v Gerard BAGNALL (Glenn) Raymond McKenna is steady as a rock with 9 league wins from his 12 games played. He'll be delighted with his draws so far. Tommy Rooney was 2-0 and now Gerard Bagnall. Gerard Bagnall got a bye in the last round and his reward is former overall individual's runner-up McKenna. Bagnall had a mini revival after Christmas but has since found that losing habit again. Premier Division has proved to come too early in his pool career as his 3 wins all season speaks volumes. Raymond McKenna will have tougher games down the line. 2-0.
@ Forester's Martin WHITE (Johnny Murphy's) v Conor HEANEY (Windmill) Martin White stunned Premier player Paul McAreavey in the 1st round. He lost his big derby game against St. Monnina but he's having a really good season and will fancy another result here. Conor Heaney beat Luke Phelan comfortably in round 1. Heaney was disappointing against Forester's and CWC B and will be hoping to up his game for the Singles again. Looks like a bridge too far for Conor Heaney. Martin White to go through 2-1.
Harvey LAVELLE (CWC A) v Ralph CRUMMY (Bears) Harvey Lavelle suffered his 1st league defeat since the 2nd league game of the season against Trainor's in his last league game before the individuals 2nd round. Lavelle had won 10 in a row. He had to overcome the dangerous potter Niall McQuillan in round 1. Ralph Crummy struggled past Division 2 Jamie Heaney 2-1 in the 1st round. Crummy has won 4 of his last 5 league games and a total of 9 wins this season is a cueiest full of confidence and hitting the balls well. There's only a handful of players that Harvey Lavelle would be favourite against and Ralph Crummy isn't one of them. 2-0 Lavelle.
Shane McALLISTER (Hustlers) v Gareth TREANOR (Nifty Fifty) Shane McAllister had a hard fought win over multiple league winner Eugene McDermott 2-1 in the 1st round. McAllister has been his usual reliable self this season. He's on a 4 game winning streak and he's won 7 out of his last 8. His league 10 wins puts him right up there with the best in the Premier Division. Gareth Treanor beat fellow Division 2 player Benny Hoey in round 1 and reading his next opponents stats should fill him with dread. Gareth Treanor is a man on a mission. He's been on a phenomenal run winning all his league games in January and unbeaten in February. Gareth Treanor could be a handful but Shane McAllister is a class act and it should be 2-0.
Henry McLOUGHLIN (McSwiggan's) v Martin CONROY Henry McLoughlin produced one of the biggest 1st round shocks when he beat experienced Premier Division cueiest Mervyn Kernaghan 2-1. McLoughlin lost his last Thursday night match but 2 wins previous keeps his confidence up going into the 2nd round of the Singles. Martin Conroy is having an incredible season for McGuigan's. Conroy cruised past Kevin Crilly in round 1. He has only been beaten 3 times in the league so far this season and has 9 wins under his belt. A break finish against Whitecross is his highlight so far. Henry McLoughlin will make Martin Conroy work for it but the Premier player Conroy should have too much ability. 2-1.
@ TJ's Jimmy McVERRY (Trainor's A) v Cailim McPARLAND (CWC B) Jimmy McVerry came through a tricky tie against another Premier player Leigh McAlinden. The former Dan's captain has been a bit part player for Trainors this season playing just 6 league games. He's won half of them but how much will lack of table time affect his game? Cailim McParland edged out Niall Rice 2-1 in the 1st round. McParland is a sensational potter but he needs to learn to hang a ball or play a safety. He can play under pressure like his final frame win against Windmill that salvaged CWC B a draw recently. Jimmy McVerry won't go pot for pot or he's likely to bow out. McVerry can slow the pace and nick this match 2-1.
Jim McMAHON (Ballyholland) v Damien McARDLE (Nifty Fifty) Jim McMahon has won all his league games this side of Christmas as he helps Ballyholland to a 1st time return to the Premier Division. McMahon loves a tactical game and he may well need it. Damien McArdle beat Rony O'Reilly to secure his place in round two. Diddles has been a masterstroke signing for Nifty Fifty as they cruise towards promotion. He plays an exciting brand of pool going for pot from everywhere. TJ's good potting tables should suit Damien McArdle for a close 2-1 win.
Cathal McCOY (McGuigan's) v Brendan McNALLY (Trainor's B) Cathal McCoy beat inconsistent Charlie Docherty in the 1st round. McCoy spent the 1st half of the season in and out of the Trainor's and subsequently joined McGuigan's. He hasn't given 100% effort to them yet but he has the talent to make an impact. Brendan McNally had a surprise 2-0 win over Jamie Fletcher in round 1. McNally hasn't appeared too much for Trainor's this season and the turn of the year hasn't encouraged him to pull the cue out of storage either. Cathal McCoy and Brendan McNally could serve up an interesting battle but McCoy has more strings to his bow. 2-1 Cathal McCoy.
Ben McCLOREY (Bosco B) v Michael TEGGART (St. Monnina A) Ben McClorey won a fantastic 2-1 battle over team mate John Magee in the 1st round. McClorey recently lost to Millvale then got axed for the next match. He will need to up his game to see the 3rd round. Michael Teggart was in the same venue as Ben McClorey when Teggart beat Gerard McAvoy. In fact McClorey reffed the match. Teggart will be hoping McClorey wasn't paying attention. Teggart won his last Thursday night out when he won away to Murphy's. His been in great form since the turn of the year and should be a vital part of a promotion chasing Saints. Michael Teggart can be a class act when he turns up on form. 2-0 to the Saints player isn't out of the question.