King reigns supreme as history maker pots ‘Triple Crown’ glory

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The rewind button is pressed back to 1994, the year when Paul King potted his way into North-West snooker history as the first to achieve the greatest feat any player can aspire to on the domestic scene - ‘The Triple Crown’ - winning the Senior Championship, Burke Trophy and Pairs Championship titles in the same year.

The Eglinton potter initiated the first part of the ‘treble’ in the Burke Trophy (prize for the player winning most frames in the Premier League campaign), before combining with Tommy McKeever to lift the pairs title.

The famous feat was completed with victory in the Senior Championship, but not before hovering on the brink of defeat against Seamus Gallagher (720 SC) when the duo met in the final at Greene’s Bar.

The red lights were flashing for King when Gallagher, leading 3-2, established a 47-0 advantage in the penultimate sixth frame. And things went from bad to worse, a poor safety shot handing The 720 potter a gilt-edged opportunity to consolidate.

As it was, Gallagher potted the red, only to miss an easy pink, the cue for King, a renowned come-from-behind battler, to stage a characteristic recovery and secure the equaliser on the black.

With Gallagher’s confidence drained, the Eglinton cueist took the shoot-out frame by a wide margin to win 4-3 and in the process stamped an indelible mark in the annals of North-West snooker.

The rest of the 1994 Championship winners included Seamus Conway (Greene’s Bar), a future Senior champion, who gave a strong hint of his emerging talent by lifting the Intermediate title, thanks to a 3-1 victory over Raymond Doherty (720 SC) in the final at AOH Club.

Pat McDaid (Catholic Club) won the ‘Junior’, courtesy of a 3-0 victory over John Doran (Greene’s) in the decider at Pot Black.

Finally, Jackie Logue was crowned champion in the veterans’ grade after beating Waterside compatriot Davy Smith 2-0 in the final at Greene’s Bar.

TEAM SNOOKER - Letterkenny’s CYMS, who fielded Pat Bonner, Paul Doherty and Gerry McKeever, joined the roll-call of Premier League champions.

St. Pat’s (Strabane) won the Premier Cup after defeating Green Baize (Eglinton) 4-2 in the final at Greene’s Bar - Davy McGurn 1, Nigel Feeney 1; Eddie McColgan 1, Paul King 1; Mickey McCrossan 2, Tommy McKeever 0.

The Strabane club also emerged victorious in the Handicap League Division One, the winning side being Davy McGurn (+10), Brendan McColgan (+20), John Blee (+30), Eddie McColgan (+30) and Mickey McCrossan (+30).

The Senior Cup final at Greene’s Bar between AOH and Oak Grove produced a tight, tense tussle, with the Hibs prevailing 3-1 - Kevin McCloskey (+15) 63, Stevie Moore (+25) 60; Fergal Toland (+25) 50, Andy Hegarty (+30) 65; Sean Ferry (+15) 71, Paul Killen (+30) 70; Paul Stainsby (+15) 55, Kevin Doherty (+30) 45; Martin Mooney (+30) v A. McCool (+30), not played.

Completing the list of winners in the major team events were the potters from Greene’s Bar, who beat AOH 4-2 in the final at Ulsterbus SC, the successful line-up being Colm McConomy (scr), Tony Martin (+10), Seamus Conway (+15), Sean Deeney (+20), Paul McCafferty (+20) and Mickey Doherty (+30).

AND FINALLY - 1994 marked Jimmy White’s swansong appearance in the World Snooker Championship final and it was business as usual for the Crucible’s perennial ‘nearly man’, as he had to be content with second place for the sixth time.

He lost to Stephen Hendry who, despite battling against a fractured elbow following a freak accident, edged an 18-17 verdict, the fourth time in which White’s world title dream was shattered by the Scot.

While the absence of the ‘Whirlwind’ from the Blue Riband’s roll-of-honour must be regarded as one of snooker’s supreme injustices, he had one hand and four fingers on the trophy in the 1994 final, but let the ambitions of a lifetime slip through his fingers.

In a nail-chewing shoot-out frame which evoked memories of the Taylor-Davis epic 1985 cliff-hangar, White blazed an open goal over the bar - missed a simple black off the spot with a title-winning break at his mercy - and a relieved Hendry held his nerve to snatch a last-gasp victory with a 58 clearance.