The New Institute Nenagh A team of Mark Walsh (Captain), Brendan O`Donoghue, David Hogan, Tony Seymour, Tom Gleeson and Andy McCloskey returned to the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney for the second weekend in succession, to compete in the 2016 All Ireland Club Snooker Championship. The team were high on confidence after winning a historic third straight Munster Club Championship the previous weekend but were drawn in the group of death, with reigning All Ireland champions, The Q Club Wicklow, Munster and All Ireland semi-finalists, St.John`s of Limerick, Potters Drogheda A and Terry Rogers B.
They faced Potters Drogheda A in their opening game on Thursday lunchtime. This was a routine victory, with wins for Mark Walsh, Brendan O`Donoghue and David Hogan sealing a 3-0 win, with Tom Gleeson and Tony Seymour also level at one frame all in their matches. In their second game on Thursday evening, Terry Rogers B provided the opposition. This was a comfortable 3-0 victory also, with Walsh, O`Donoghue and Hogan winning once again. This left the team top of their group, ahead of a rest day on Friday.
Reigning dual All-Ireland champions, The Q Club Wicklow, provided fierce opposition to Nenagh on Saturday morning. On table one, Jason Watson defeated David Hogan 2-1 in a tightly contested affair. Former professional, Michael Judge defeated Mark Walsh 2-1 in a black ball decider on table two, while on table three, Brendan O`Donoghue also lost a black ball decider to Robert Murphy. Elsewhere, Tom Gleeson was in devastating form, as he defeated Wayne Doyle 2-0, with breaks of 55 and 69. Tony Seymour was one frame down in his match.
This defeat meant that Nenagh had to beat St.Johns of Limerick in their final group game or else face the prospect of a three way play-off. Nenagh had beaten St.John`s twice in the Munster Club Championship the previous weekend, but knew that they could not take last year`s All-Ireland semi-finalists challenge lightly. In the end, it was a 3-0 victory for Nenagh, with Hogan, O`Donoghue and Walsh victorious, meaning Nenagh advanced as group runners up.
They were now faced with a play-off to advance to the All-Ireland quarter finals and were drawn to play Norris` Snooker Club from Waterford. Nenagh went into this match on the back of a serious setback, with Tom Gleeson forced to depart due to personal circumstances. This paved the way for the introduction of Andy McCloskey into the team. Mark Walsh was victorious against his opponent on table one, while Brendan O`Donoghue was 1-1 on table two. David Hogan won 2-0 on table three and Tony Seymour beat former Irish international Andrew Gray 2-0 on table five, with Andy McCloskey level at 1-1 on his table. This resulted in a 3-0 victory for the New Institute and set up a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland quarter final, against Terry Rogers A from Dublin.
The New Institute A were out for revenge against their Dublin opponents, seeking to avenge their defeat at the same stage last year. There was a mouth-watering clash on table one, with David Hogan taking on Martin McCrudden. The opening frame came down to a black ball, with McCrudden leaving the ball over the hole and allowing Hogan to take a one frame advantage in the process. Hogan grinded out the second frame, while in the third frame, McCrudden was over thirty points ahead, with six reds tied up across the table. Hogan went on to make an incredible 61 clearance and win 3-0. On table two, Brendan O`Donoghue raced into a two nil lead against the experienced Johnny Farrell. Farrell then levelled at 2-2, leaving the match finely poised. With Tony Seymour going two nil down to Philly Browne on table four and TJ Dowling beating Andy McCloskey 3-0, Mark Walsh`s game against Joe Corrigan became crucial. Mark pinched the opening two frames on the colours, with the advantage in the third frame going over and back. Eventually, Mark stroked in the pink ball to seal a 3-0 victory. This meant that O`Donoghue`s game against Farrell was crucial and the former potted the last two reds and colours to seal victory for the New Institute and avenge last year’s defeat.
The semi-final draw saw the New Institute drawn to face The Q Club Wicklow once again. This was a very difficult match to call, after their close game earlier on Saturday morning. Nenagh lined out differently on this occasion and this proved to be difference, as they won by 3 matches to 1. There were victories for Brendan O`Donoghue against Michael Judge 3-1, for David Hogan against Robert Murphy 3-1 and also Andy McCloskey, who put in a superb performance to beat Wayne Doyle 3-0. This was after Mark Walsh had earlier lost 3-0 to Jason Watson, while Tony Seymour was level in his match against Keith Sheldreck. This was a fantastic result for the team, after suffering defeat to their opponents in the group stage and also sending the 2014 & 2015 All-Ireland champions out of the competition.
The All Ireland Club Final was a repeat of last weekend`s Munster Club final with the New Institute facing The Crucible from Cork city in the final. The New Institute were seeking a second All Ireland title for the club, after their victory in 2008. The final got off to a fantastic start for the Nenagh men, with David Hogan wrapping up an impressive 3-0 victory over Dean Callanan. Meanwhile, Andy McCloskey was beaten by David Cassidy 3-0 to level the match at 1-1. Mark Walsh and Tony Seymour went 1-0 up in their matches against Ryan Cronin and Daniel O`Regan respectively. Brendan O`Donoghue faced Greg Casey on table one, with the match level after two frames. Tony Seymour quickly wrapped up an impressive 3-0, meaning Nenagh required just one more win for the title. Brendan went 2-1 behind in his match, but there was no need for panic, as Mark Walsh won the next two frames and sealed a superb victory for the New Institute and sent the crowd wild. This was a fantastic win for such a small club of less than fifty members and is a fantastic boost to Nenagh as a sporting town. The committee of the New Institute wishes to congratulate the team on their victory and thank them for their brilliant service to the club once again.
The New Institute C team of Martin Kelly (captain), Gary Power, Billy Kelly, Michael Healy, Jason Burns and Tom Forde also competed in Killarney last weekend. They competed in the All Ireland B Championship. In their opening game against Potters Drogheda B, there were wins for Michael Healy and Martin Kelly, while Gary Power and Billy Kelly were defeated. The match came down to Tom Forde, who unfortunately lost 2-1, meaning it was victory for the Louth men. Blackstaff from Belfast were their opponents in their second match. The C team were unable to ever fully gain control of this match and eventually lost 3-0. They were defeated by Ballina in their final group game, with Martin Kelly and Jason Burns unfinished at 1-1 in their matches. Potters Drogheda B went on to win the title. The club would like to congratulate the C team on becoming the first team from the club to reach the All Ireland B Championship and wish to thank them for their performances over the past two weekends.
As a final note, we would like to thank all of the sponsors who kindly supported our A team ahead of these two fantastic weekends of snooker. These were Open Season, The Hibernian Inn, 3 Mobile, JKC, Andy`s Bar, Tadhg Flynn Jewellers, Munster Metals, Seymour Construction, Seymour Garden Services, Ryan`s Pharmacy. Club Secretary, Tony Seymour, commented that it was “fantastic to see local businesses supporting sporting teams in the town and acknowledged the A team`s appreciation for this help”.
Report by Niall Farrell, New Institute Snooker Club P.R.O.