Jason Dowling from Rathkeale won the Pat O'Sullivan Memorial Billiards Cup on Sunday.
The Pat O’Sullivan Memorial handicap tournament was played at the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club in Carlow on Sunday, 15th of March 2015. After a day’s play, which saw many games decided on close margins, Jason Dowling, as a reward for his long journey from Rathkeale, was the well deserved winner on the day.
Play started at 11.15am and all but one of the first round matches were completed within the time limit. Among the first round eliminations were John Kehoe (Enniscorthy), Edenderry duo of Liam Byrne and Anthony Cullen, James Bateman (Kilkenny), Joe Doheny (Borris-in-Ossory) and compatriot and long-time travelling partner of the late Pat O’Sullivan, Larry Drennan (Kilkenny).
The semi finalists in the top half of the draw were Robert McCrum (Celbridge) and Aonghus McAnally (Portmarnock), Robert having a good win over welcome newcomer Michael O’Shaughnessy (Rathkeale), while Aonghus, had an equally good quarter final win against his regular practice partner Brendan Devlin (Celbridge). In the semi final, Robert was first to show, scoring steadily at each visit, amassing a 100 point lead in the process. At this point, it seemed as though Robert eased off the pedal, missing the occasional straightforward shot. Sensing this as an opportunity, Aonghus then put his game together and despite making significant inroads into the deficit found himself still 36 points adrift at the end.
The semi finalists in the bottom half of the draw were Rodney Goggins (Wexford) and eventual winner Jason Dowling (Rathkeale). Rodney, having survived a tough opening round match against Larry Drennan (Kilkenny), overtaking Larry’s lead almost as time was called to take the game by a mere 4 points, advanced to the semi final with an impressive win in his quarter final against Rathkeale player Anthony O’Flaherty, while Jason progressed to the semi final in a close quarter final against Mark Nolan (Edenderry). In the semi final, Jason scored consistently, putting pressure on Rodney to make up the handicap deficit. As the game progressed, Rodney struggled to overcome the difference, leaving Jason to proceed comfortably to the Final.
The Final turned out to be an enthralling game, both players alternating between good scoring play and nervous scoreless visits. From the start, it was a matter of whether Robert would overcome the 41 point handicap difference or if Jason could score well enough to keep ahead. As the game progressed towards its closing stages, the pressures of the situation produced a series of no-score visits by both players, heightening the tension of the event. Despite the feeling of being relentlessly reeled in by Robert, Jason managed to hold his nerve and by pulling off a few fine shots in his last few visits, finished the game with a margin of 24 points to claim the trophy.
As always, our thanks are due to Marian Leacy for the excellent facilities and to the staff at The Ivy Rooms for their help on the day. It was also a great pleasure to have Noel O’Sullivan, brother of the late Pat, in attendance to make the presentations to the finalists.
Results (all matches 400 up, handicapped, 90 minutes time limit):
Brendan Devlin 400 - 397 Liam Byrne
John Kehoe 353 - 400 Aonghus McAnally
Rodney Goggins 225 - 221 Larry Drennan
Anthony Cullen 384 - 400 Anthony O'Flaherty
Mark Nolan 400 - 300 Joe Doheny
James Bateman 297 - 400 Jason Dowling
Michael O'Shaughnessy 344 - 400 Robert McCrum
Brendan Devlin 339 - 400 Aonghus McAnally
Rodney Goggins (Brk: 86) 353 - 183 Anthony O'Flaherty
Mark Nolan 376 - 400 Jason Dowling
Robert McCrum (Brk: 53) 400 - 364 Aonghus Mcanally
Rodney Goggins 365 - 456 Jason Dowling