AOH are the champions of Cork snooker after a nail biting final last Thursday night played at Douglas snooker club, where the men from ‘Morrison’s Island’ ran out winners in the deciding and final frame where Sonny Stack got his club over the finishing line to defeat Youghal CYMS.
It was a match that swung one way and then turned. In the early stages Youghal were dominating up on three tables by two frames to nil, but down on two tables.
The first table to finish was the Shane O’Mahony v Derek Aherne table, where again O’Mahony showed his class and his reputation for being one of the toughest players to beat in the game on Leeside winning three frames to nil.
The score line was reversed on table four when Youghal’s Adrian Landers defeated Lloyd Myers three to nil and the final was all square at one match each.
Next up for the AOH was Gary Bracken a member of the 2011 Shooters team that won the first ‘Cork Billiards and Snooker Association’ (CBSA) Division one league title when he defeated one of the young talented players from Youghal, Adam Fitzgerald three frames to one frame, decided on a re-spotted black ball.
The AOH led at this stage by two matches to one and both their remaining players David Forde also a member of the 2011 league winning side and Sonny stack had fought their way back from two frame deficits.
The Forde versus Dylan Rees match was a cracker and when it looked like Forde might dish up and win the all-important game for victory he miscued on the green and Rees showed incredible composure to win the points and pot the pink to send the final to a deciding frame as Kelly and Stack were tied at two frames each.
Stack was always in control of the frame, but Kelly had a chance eighteen points behind with two reds remaining, but couldn’t get the decisive pots.
Stack as cool as a cucumber potted the vital balls at the vital time and secured the victory for the AOH for the first time in decades.
What was nice to see was the respect the players were given throughout the final and the sportsmanship between the two sides and their supporters both on and off the tables.
CBSA Administrator Brian Quilligan told the East Cork Journal “Douglas were great to provide a fantastic venue for the final it is in pristine condition. Youghal have showed what a great side they are, not only tonight but in the semi-final, but I must congratulate the AOH on winning the league, there can only be one winner and tonight the balls rolled the way of Lloyd Myers and his team”.
CBSA Cork Division One Final Results (Best of 5 Frames)
AOH ‘A 3 – 2 Youghal CYMS ‘B’
Sonny Stack 3 – 2 Ger Kelly
David Forde 2 – 3 Dylan Rees
Shane O’Mahony 3 – 0 Derek Aherne
Lloyd Myers 0 – 3 Adrian Landers
Gary Bracken 3 – 1 Adam Fitzgerald
It wasn’t the greatest final in term of quality snooker, but it was a very nervy and important event in the contex that it would be the very first time that either of these teams won the cup, mainly down to the dominance of the Crucible team that had won it four years in a row and that fact put a lot of pressure on both teams players which made some of the play very difficult indeed.
Players like the AOH’s Sonny Stack, Lloyd Myers and Shane O’Mahony have been AOH stalwarts all of their life and have come close on so many occasions as could be said for Adrian Landers, Ger Kelly and Derek Aherne of Youghal CYMS, so this final had very special meanings for all of these players.
As for Gary Bracken and David Forde of the AOH, they had tasted success in 2011 with winning Shooters team and Youghal’s Dylan Rees had come into the side this year following years in Waterford snooker and Adam Fitzgerald a young player who has improved dramatically in recent years will have many more finals I am sure.
The final looked over after 40 minutes Youghal were flying two nil up on two tables and a result in the bag from Landers, but there is something very gritty about this AOH team who never give up and have some very talented players in their ranks.
Sonny Stack was the eventual hero for the ‘Morisson’s Island Brigade’ playing a very calm frame that defined their season and when all is said and done the AOH won the game and there was no argument at the end of a match that could have gone any way really and that is snooker!
It has been some time since the AOH lifted the title, so say over 40 years, so the wait is finally over thanks to a team that I can see going very well in Killarney at the ‘Gleneagle Hotel Munster Snooker Club Championships’.
The real talking points in this year’s league campaign were in the semi-finals where the AOH again left it late against the Youghal CYMS ‘A’ side when Gary Bracken sunk the black ball in the last frame in the last match on the night to seal the final berth.
In the other semi-final the five in a row seeking Crucible snooker club were stopped in their tracks by the wonderful play of the Youghal CYMS ‘B’ side and even though the Youghal side genuinely felt they could win, it was a bit of a shock to the Cork snooker community when the result was achieved and it meant a new champion would be crowned for the first time and that in itself was a good thing for the game on Leeside.
Before finishing on the final, the Douglas club must be complimented for the fantastic facilities they produce year in and year out for finals in Cork, but yet again the tables were pristine, the atmosphere was great and the lads at the club were more than accommodating, so well done.
Cronin for Poland as he joins four Youghal CYMS players in the search for European Glory
One piece of very good news this week for the Crucible snooker club is that one of their top players Ryan Cronin has been selected to play for the ‘Republic of Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association’ (RIBSA) International team at the European championships in Poland in February.
Cronin is an excellent player, in particular when it comes to the big stage as he has proven in the past where at the PTC in Killarney a couple of years ago he was the only CBSA player to break through to the last 64 where he was unluckily beaten by Stephen McGuire and of course the canny cue-man from Blarney Street has already on a few occasions represented his country to great effect.
As he recently said himself “Now the work begins” which can only mean he will be living on the practice tables from here until February and with Killarney only just weeks away the Cork man will have something to prove with every shot he takes.
Thursday the 14th of January as all roads lead to the Kingdom
THURSDAY the 14th of January 2016 will see the start of the ‘Gleneagle Hotel Munster Snooker Club Championships’ with the first days fixtures and up to lunchtime on the 15th of January are available now, so teams and people travelling to the ‘Kingdom’ can now plan ahead for their annual pilgrimage to Killarney.
The demand to be part of this tournament is staggering with 19 teams in the ‘B’ Championship section and 15 teams in the ‘A’ Premier section there will be a minimum of six additional sessions which covers an eight hour time span.
Some people are not happy with the Thursday start, but what can you do if you want the championships to finish on Sunday.
Fixtures for 1.30pm onwards on Friday the 14th will be in place on arrival, but this fixture list ensures each team has a minimum of one match played.
Fixtures for Thursday the 14th of January. Best of 3 Frames (5 tables)
SESSION 1 (6pm)
Youghal CYMS C (Cork) V Ennis (Clare)
New Institute C (Tipperary) V Cue Club C (Kerry)
Youghal CYMS D (Cork) V Crucible C (Cork)
SESSION 2 (7.15pm)
Cappoquin (Waterford/Tipp) V Fermoy B (Cork)
Douglas A (Cork) V Douglas B (Cork)
Norris’s B (Waterford) V St John’s C (Limerick)
SESSION 3 (8.45pm)
Youghal CYMS D (Cork) V AOH B (Cork)
Century (Limerick) V Cue Club C (Kerry)
Youghal CYMS C (Cork) V Shooters C (Cork)
SESSION 4 (10pm)
St John’s A (Limerick) V St John’s B (Limerick)
Youghal CYMS A (Cork) V Planet Ennis (Clare)
Norris’s A (Waterford) V Cue Club A (Kerry)
Fixtures for Friday the 15th of January
SESSION 1 (9.30am)
New Institute A (Tipperary) V Thurles A (Tipperary)
Fermoy A (Cork) V New Institute B (Tipperary)
Crucible A (Cork) V Crucible B (Cork)
SESSION 2 (10.45am)
Cue Club A (Cork) V Hawks Nest (Waterford)
AOH A (Cork) V Youghal CYMS A (Cork)
Youghal CYMS B (Cork) V St John’s A (Limerick)
SESSION 3 (12 Noon)
Ebony A (Cork) V Ebony B (Cork)
Planet Ennis (Clare) V Fermoy A (Cork)
New Institute A (Tipperary) V St John’s B (Limerick)
SESSION 4 (1.30pm)
Shooters B (Cork) V Cue Club B (Kerry)
As the Cork snooker scene now takes its traditional break for Christmas it’s time to thank everyone for their support and on the resumption of play on the 5th of January the East Cork Journal will look ahead to the Gleneagle Hotel Munster Snooker Club Championships on the 14th of January edition……Happy Christmas and a good cueing New Year!