There can only be One
The final 32 promised some hard and tricky puzzles to solve pre draw and even more so after.
First up there were wins for Conor Brady, Ray Doherty, Philip Dunne, Chris Sunderland, Stevie Dempsey, Wayne Neeson, David Joyce, Niall Byrne and Sean O'Neill all winning their matches with something to spare. Sean O'Neill improving leaps and bounds this year with already a win on the WR Tour in the under 23's last time out, showed no respect for European Seniors Champion David Kelly with an easy 7 frames to 2 victory to progress.
The remaining last 32 games, 7 in all , went hill-hill. Close encounters could have been expected in Ward/McGuinness, Kelly/O Hara, Clarke/Merrigan, Docherty/Lefty Wright,Doyle/ORourke but there were 2 games on paper where we concluded wrongly the outcome and the other was an unknown.
Match 1 was Last Tour Event winner Karl O Donoghue vs Last Tour Event Plate winner Keith Cahill. On Paper , keith was a huge underdog in most people's opinion. But he made Karl pull out all the stops losing out in a photo finish.
Match 2 was Gavin Cleary, multiple BB Tour winner against New irish based Moroccan International Zitouni Kassam. Gavin came from 6-4 down to beat Zitouni in a thriller.
So to last 16 and juicy matches and close battles again the order of the afternoon. Sean O Neill continued with a clear win over David Joyce as did George O'Hara over Greg Clarke. Old stagers and they won't thank me for saying so either, Ray Doherty and Ray Doherty also won through to last 8. Karl O Donoghue had another demolition job over last tour events finalist Niall Docherty.
Gavin Cleary safely through with a win over Niall Byrne winning 7-5.
The last 2 matches were more of that hill-hill variety. Wexfords Jordan Doyle himself on a hot streak having made a WR tour finalk recently lost out in heartbreaking fashion to Dublins regular no.1 Wayne Neeson. His fellow countyman Chris Sunderland lost having led 6-4 but couldn't get to the finish line first against tournament Favourite, Cavan's Stevie Dempsey.
Quarter Finals and we are down to the pressure stages. No hiding spots here for anyone.
First up we had former Irish WR Champion Ray Doherty against former European Seniors Blackball Champion Ray Mcguinness. Ray McGuinness was in no mood for Dotsy to roll back the years and won handily 7 frames to 1.
Then we had George O Hara who is a snooker regular but not so much on the pool scene lately vs Stevie Dempsey. No need to build him up. Stevie came through easily winning 7-3.
Match 3 was a coin flip between 2 of the elite of 8 ball between Wayne Neeson and Karl O Donoghue. Yet another thriller, going hill-hill before Karl got the decisive frame to win 7-6.
Match 4 was an anticlimax, at least from Sean o Neills perspective after his earlier exploits. Gavin Cleary steamrolled him ,winning 7-1 to set up a clash with Karl in the semifinals.
Semifinals and we really got the cream of the crop in the final four.Titles oozed from this quartet, not one of them a stranger to this stage of a tournament.
Both multiple Tour winners here, in different disciplines and it was never going to be easy to beat the dogged Razor, it went hill-hill but after Ray broke dry, Stevie Dempsey won out 7-6 to make the final. Hard Luck
Gavin Cleary vs Karl O Donoghue
Gavin shot into a 4-1 lead before karl got some momentum. But when Gavin is buzzin, there is simply no stopping him and so he maintained his focus, cruising through 7-3.
Stephen Dempsey won yet another 8-Ball title in ireland,this time in Blackball rules defeating Gavin Cleary in the final by 7 frames to 3.
There wasn't much missed but when he did , Gavin didn't get the rolls when he needed to get back into the match. Stephen won the tournament but it could have all been different as he won 2 hill matches during the day to make the final. You need a bit of luck to win these, no matter how good you are.
Full results: The 32