LAST THURSDAY night’s final of the Connie Glackin Snooker Knockout Cup, sponsored and hosted by AOH Club, brought the curtain down on the North-West Veterans’ League’s 2015/16 competition programme.
The veteran potters of Cnoc-N-Ros OB and Creggan OP shared centre stage in the final act of the campaign, the Rosemount side emerging victorious to emulate Letterkenny’s CYMS (2011/12) as only the second club to win North-West veterans’ snooker’s two most prestige team tournament in the same season – League Section One and Singles Cup.
In the remaining two team tournaments, AOH bridged a seven-year gap for a Pairs KO Cup second-strike, while Shantallow House doubled-up on the Racecourse Road club’s 2011 success in the Section Two League.
In the triple bill of non-team events, Ray Barrow and Martin Young hit the jackpot in the Snooker Championship and Individual League, both relinquished their NWVSL maiden title tags in the process. In contrast, it was business as usual for Charlie O’Connell, a record-equalling fourth billiards crown
TEAM SNOOKER – Cnoc-Na-Ros and AOH were involved in a ‘titanic tussle’ for League Section One supremacy, the ‘Villagers’ ultimately prevailing by the minimum one-point margin... Title-winning team – Charlie O’Connell (scr), Joe Canning (+15), Mickey Doherty (+15) and Eugene Dunbar (+20).
The league champions were forced to make one change from their regular line-up for last Thursday night’s Singles Cup final against Creggan, with Kevin McKinney plucked off the subs’ bench to replace Mickey Doherty (withdrew through illness).
Before the start of play, a one-minute silence was observed for poignant reflections on the late John O’Connell, brother of Charlie and true stalwart of the Rosemount club.
The sides traded the first two frames, the winning duo of Charlie O’Connell (comfortable) and Paddy McGlinchey both exhibiting solid displays, the Rath Mor side holding the call on points at half-time through McGlinchey’s runaway victory.
But the points issue was rendered redundant when wins in the remaining two frames from Eugene Dunbar (without undue difficulty) and Kevin McKinney (cushy) secured a 3-1 decision and thus complete the second part of the League-and-Cup double.
Frame Scores – Charlie O’Connell 57, Martin Moore (+5) 34; Joe Canning (+5) 21, Paddy McGlinchey 73; Eugene Dunbar (+15) 52, Eddie Friel 46; Kevin McKinney 63, Gerry Canning (+10) 23... Match officials were John Clifford (overseer), Paddy Kerr and Dan Shiels (referees).
**AOH collected compensation for their narrow miss in Section One via the Pairs Cup (defeated Over-the-Hill 3-1 in final)... Winning Team – Ray Barrow (scr), Hugo Duffy (scr), Sean Ferry (scr) and John McDaid (+5).
**Shantallow House and Cnoc-Na-Ros ‘B’ finished neck-and-neck on the the League Section Two summit, the Racecourse Road outfit clinching the title in a tie-breaker (3-1)... Winning Team – Bobby Kelly (scr), Gerry McLaughlin (+5), Jack Johnston and Don Meenan (+10).
THE INDIVIDUALS – Ray Barrow (AOH) and Phil Curran (Mailey’s OB) opposed in the Snooker Championship decider, the Hibs man highlighting his 2-0 decision with a yellow-to-black colour clearance to snatch the opening frame (47-42 and 57-31).
** Over-the-Hill’s Martin Young (+5) and Cnoc’s Joe Canning (+15), the first two home in the Individual League Section One preps, confirmed the qualification form-book by emerging unscathed from the semi and quarter-final knockout play-offs.
The Brandywell potter enjoyed the better of exchanges in the play-off final, putting a touch of shine on a comfortable 2-0 verdict with a 26 clearance in frame two (63-43 and 73-24).
**Jim McNamee’s unrivalled four-title tally in the Billiards Championship (1988-91-92-94) was matched by Charlie O’Connell (2005-06-15-16), the Cnoc cueman securing equality accreditation with a narrow 15-point verdict over Waterside’s Gerald Toner (100-85).
The NWVSL committee are indebted to the following for supporting the 2015/16 tournament programme – The Sponsors – Station House Hotel, Letterkenny (League); AOH Club (Connie Glackin Cup); George McAllister (Jim McAllister Billiards Championship); George Doherty (Donal McVeigh Snooker Championship); Mrs Betty Fox (Jim Fox League Trophy)..... Host Clubs – AOH, Cnoc Na-Ros OB, Creggan OP and Mailey’s Bar... Last but not least, the referees for a tedious task well done.