Newry Pool League Update.
Here we are at the deciding end of the league season.
The teams making top four in each Division are now confirmed.
It has been a battle to the end, just to get into the top four. With teams only focusing on that and that alone.
The teams that ran so close will be disappointed but can be proud of good results and helping to make each Division very competitive.
In the Premier, Trainors A lost out on the last match of the season to Quarter Bar, who nearly missed the boat and put themselves in a precarious position by losing to Whitecross the week before.
It all went down to the wire but the top four teams, who will play in the playoffs are, Pat Brady’s Different Strokes who gain home advantage against the aforementioned Quarter Bar. CWC A (who were put to the sword by Pats team, on the last game, and with only five players, I’m told), will play Paddy Tavey’s dark horses, Dans Bar.
CWC A captain Liam Bradley, likes to analyse his opponents a little, but I’m not talking about Dans Bar, he’s not analysing Dans Bar, Liams eye is on Different Strokes, that’s who CWC A see as their only threat in the league, whether he admits that or not.
Is it a foregone conclusion Different Strokes will reach the finals night and go on to lift the Premier Title? Jamie Lavelle’s Quarter Bar will play with ease and under no pressure, Different Strokes would do well not to take them lightly. Will CWC A write Paddy’s Dans team off. Well yes, they will. Are they right to? Time will tell.
The First Division sees the Hustlers on top and deservedly so. They will play at home to St Monnina, who Hustlers drew with, last game of the league. A game that actually didn’t stand to mean much, and Hustlers were safely in the top two, and the only team who could have forced a playoff with Conor McQuaids Killeavey men, are the talented but somewhat erratic CWC B.
CWC B, however, just managed a draw, (despite CWC B knowing McGuigans last two players down on the match sheet, where not present and unlikely to get a private jet to the match) They failed to take hold of that opportunity and lost out by two points. CWC B will be formable opponents in the Charity Cup, if they can regroup and bond a bit better, somehow I just don’t see that happening.
So Hustlers will play St. Monnina, a team that in the last two seasons, have beaten Hustlers twice, all be it, the Hustlers team has changed personnel since the mentioned, Monnina wins, it will be tough this one will go to the wire. The Kileavey men will be confident and strong and if Hustlers bottle it, they will be sunk.
The McGuigans team, will face Paul Murphys, Bears, with quality players in their side, Bears have been like a Boa Constrictor, keeping their head down, gliding slowly along, ready to pounce on their over confident opponents. They comfortably made the playoff but lose home advantage, but they won’t be too concerned with that, playing on a better table in McGuigans than their own, will only help players like Eugene McDermot and Garry Powell, Raphael Crummy and the Heaney’s will plot the downfall of Marty Conroys men and want to keep the match tight, hoping in the end, to deliver the final tightening crush and squeeze the life out of Skippy, Gerald and Diddles. Pat Byrne, Paul McArevy, Noel Bradley, Bud Flanagan and Seamy Rooney, will all be looking to play a big part in the match but will Marty Conroy, give a game to all the men who helped the team get to the top two spot or will he go for glory and let his star men double up on games, and play twice. It’s a hard one and everyone wants to share in the reward of playing in a match they fought hard to reach. The decision is Marty’s or will there be mutiny and Skippy demand the team sheet.
The Bears will be tightly hugging the grapevine, listening out for enemy chatter, if they spot disorientation they will strike hard and leave McGuigans floundering. This time next week, we will know.
The Division Two situation is actually hard to believe, before Thursday match Millvale were in the top 4, with two points in the bag through a bye in the last game, there was nothing more they could do. Foresters simply had to lose to the strong Nifty Fifty’s and lose out on fourth spot. . Ruairi Whites team simply dumped the script, beat Aidan Griffins team and leap frogged into third, dooming the Millvale men to fifth.
John Magees Bosco have been the golden boys, navigating the murky waters and staying clear of any potential threats to their dominance as Division leaders. They will play Nifty Fifty’s and with a strong rivalry brooding, how this match starts and who gets the best start will probably determine the winner.
Trainors B are definitely a team Bosco, Niftys and their playoff opponent Foresters will be watching closely. They have got better as the league progressed and Paddy Crimmons men will be a real tough opponent for Hugh, John, Kieran and the lads. I just can’t see Foresters winning. I have been wrong before.
The Charity Cup games, which take place on the same night as the playoffs, sees Trainors A (if they can pull together after their recent top four disappointment) play Whitecross, a game Mick Feenan says is a walkover for Whitecross, the player who claims to have only lost three games this year, reckons Whitecross are far to good for Trainors A and the league table is not true of the quality in Whitecross. Micky Ohanlon reckons Micky Feenan is the best player - in the Feenan house and didn’t write Trainors (Tommy Mooney, Kieran Hanna and the two Marks along with Jim Bradley, Gus Hughes and Barry McAllister) off, saying they are a quality side but might be there for the taking as Trainors must travel.
Ballyholland who have had a bad league this year have one last chance at redemption, as they face the CWC B. This is a hard one to call. Ballyholland have the players if they turn up but with Mike Nugent and Cailim McParland, Barry Kelland and Tommy Rooney among the quality players that make up the W.M team, the Ballyholland team will have their work cut out.
Nans Rams will face St Monnina B and Malachy Maguire’s men should get over the line, although Pete Donnelly and Tony McGuiness will not hand them it on a plate.
Dromintee face their neighbours Murphys and this will be an interesting one.
Sheila Johnson and Pat Quinn will hope their top players can compete, I am not sure if Paddy McCann is available but he certainly is a match winner. Dromintee have moved forward in leaps and bounds, they missed out on a top 4 spot but put it up to a lot of teams, John Daly will be hoping Anthony Reynolds makes himself available and players like Kevin Kelly, Micheal, Ronan and John will all play a role.
The reward is to reach and play in the final, a match in front of a full house on The awards Night, which will be held on Friday, April 7th in Newry Foresters.
Good luck to you all.
It’s all a bit of craic!