LAST WEEK’S action in the 2016 North-West Snooker Championships – Hugh Brady Senior semi-finals and Dungloe Bar Pairs final – delivered a red-letter week in the career thus far of Letterkenny’s Gareth Kirwan.
The 35-year-old CYMS potter booked his ticket for a maiden voyage to the ultimate stage of the game’s flagship event. And 48 hours after his ‘Senior’ breakthrough, he finally shed his ‘seconditis’ tag in the ‘Pairs’ decider (fifth bite at the cherry).
PAIRS FINAL – Gareth Kirwan & Adrian McFadden became the newest double-act to lift the title, thanks to defeating Shantallow’s Peter Doherty & Joe Porter 3-1 in last Wednesday night’s final, hosted by Tracey’s Bar.
The Letterkenny pair took the first two frames by contrasting margins, the opener in clear-cut fashion (64-14). And though Kirwan fashioned the best-match break of 38 in the second, they just about prevailed on the pink (56-46).
The Shantallow duo, helped by Doherty’s runs of 22 and 15, reduced the deficit in frame three (61-41). Exchanges were pretty dull in the fourth frame (fragmented scoring all the way), the outcome hanging in the balance on the last three colours until McFadden settled the issue by potting blue and pink (45-31).
The NWIABSA committee extends grateful thanks to Dungloe Bar (sponsor) and Tracey’s Bar (host club), together with all the referees who officiated throughout the tournament.
SENIOR SEMI-FINALS – Gerald McCloskey preserved hopes of a belated return visit to the victory rostrum (2008 kingpin), courtesy of defeating Tracey’s Bar companion Anthony McGill (3-1). Although McGill posted the two highest-match breaks of 35 (first frame) and 52 (third), McCloskey played the more consistent snooker on the night and was not unduly bothered to secure his place in the final (69-36, 58-10, 40-65 and 62-36).
Kirwan progressed past Waterside’s Simon Cooke (3-1). The Pair traded the first two frames, with Kirwan posting a 43 break en-route to taking the opener by a cushy margin (73-29), before Cooke restored parity with equal comfort (51-15).
Cooke seemed fair set to take frame three (34 points clear on the last red), only to eventually lose by a slim margin, the combination of conceding several points on the ‘Miss’ rule and Kirwan’s strong finish (74-62).
The Letterkenny cueist, buoyed by his come-from-behind win, put the match to bed in sizzling style in frame four, compiling breaks of 51, 31 and 20 without reply (110-0).
Date for final to be announced in next Tuesday’s column.