Top Seeded Connors chases fifth crown

FORTY-FOUR players are set to face the starter in the 2011 renewal of the North-West Senior Snooker Individual Championship, sponsored by PFS Accountants and hosted by Du Pont SC, with the search for the game’s ‘Holy Grail’ scheduled to cue-off on Sunday, January 9th.

The star-studded line-up includes five players who know what it takes to win title, headed by Letterkenny’s Johnny Connors, a four-time champion (2002-04-06-10) and seeded NO. 1 to strike again, the seedings determined by best recent performances in the Championship.

Seeded two and three are Du Pont’s Pascal McKenna and Gerald McCloskey, with the first-named potter seeking to emulate his 2009 success, while McCloskey bids to replicate his 2008 triumph.

Seeded four and five are Strabane’s Glenn Roulston and Shantallow’s Pete Murphy, both of whom boast history-making Championship conquests. Roulston, a dual scorer (2005-07), is the only County Tyrone representative to wear the crown, whereas Murphy’s shock victory in 2003 earned him the distinction as the lone junior-graded competitor to win NW snooker’s supreme individual title.

GPO’s Seamus Cusack (6), Shantallow’s Peter Doherty (7) and Claudy’s Paul Donaghy (8) occupy the remaining three seeded berths by virtue of collecting runner-up honours. Cusack hit the post and rattled the crossbar in back-to-back finals (2007-08), Doherty finished second in 2006, while Donaghy took the minor placing in 2005.

There are several non-seeded contenders perfectly capable of hitting the jackpot, not least a quintet of senior-graded cuemen, namely Du Pont’s Emmett Casson, Waterside’s Simon Cooke and the Letterkenny triumvirate of Christopher Gibbons, Phelim McClafferty and Johnny White (runner-up in 2003).

The preview of who’s hot and who’s not for the 2011 title will appear in due course, but meanwhile the full draw reads as follows - Seamus Gallagher (Pot Black) v Raymond Barrow (AOH); Joe Sims (Shantallow) v Kevin McKinney (Oak Grove); Pius Fenlon (Shantallow) v Adrian McFadden (Letterkenny CYMS); Owen Toland (Shantallow) v Gareth Kirwan (Letterkenny CYMS); Liam Kelly (Oak Grove) v Davy Clifford (Glendermott); Mickey McGowan (Du Pont) v Peter Logue (Du Pont); Owen McLaughlin (Shantallow) v Jan Biernat (Glendermott); Brian Tracey (Du Pont) v Gerry McKeever (Letterkenny NW); Malachy McIvor (Pot Black) v Jimmy Logue (Du Pont); Richard Long (Glendermott) v Shay Norris (Oak Grove); Stephen Heaney (Glendermott) v Anthony McGill (Letterkenny CYMS); Paul Doherty (Letterkenny CYMS) v Paul McGinley (Letterkenny NW).

Second-Round - 1. Johnny Connors, Letterkenny CYMS (seeded one) v Seamus Gallagher or Raymond Barrow; 2. Johnny White (Letterkenny NW) v Joe Sims or Kevin McKinney; 3. Emmett Casson (Du Pont) v Pius Fenlon or Adrian McFadden; 4. Paul Donaghy, Claudy (seeded eight) v Owen Toland or Gareth Kirwan. 5. Glenn Roulston, St. Pat’s-Strabane (seeded four) v Ralph Dixon (Du Pont); 6. Joe Porter (Shantallow) v Mickey McGowan or Peter Logue; 7. Phelim McClafferty (Letterkenny CYMS) v Liam Kelly or Davy Clifford; 8. Pete Murphy, Shantallow (seeded five) v Maurice Ferguson (Glendermott). 9. Pascal McKenna, Du Pont (seeded two) v Paul Doherty or Paul McGinley; 10. Christopher Gibbons (Letterkenny CYMS) v Stephen Heaney or Anthony McGill; 11. Patrick McCrossan (St. Pat’s-Strabane) v Stephen Brady (Oak Grove); 12. Peter Doherty, Shantallow (seeded seven) v Richard Long or Shay Norris.13. Gerald McCloskey, Du Pont (seeded three) v Owen McLaughlin or Jan Biernat; 14. Sean McVeigh (Letterkenny NW) v Keith Shiels (Shantallow); 15. Simon Cooke (Maxibreak) v Brian Tracey or Gerry McKeever; 16. Seamus Cusck, GPO (seeded six) v Malachy McIvor or Jimmy Logue.

Third-Round - (A) 1 v 2; (B) 3 v 4; (C) 5 v 6; (D) 7 v 8; (E) 9 v 10; (F) 11 v 12; (G) 13 v 14; (H) 15 v 16.

Quarter-Finals (17) A v B; (18) C v D; (19) E v F; (20) G v H... Semi-Finals - (17 v 18) and (19 v 20).