On Sunday December 30, the inaugural Leitrim Champion took place in the Drumshanbo Pool Hall with 26 competitors.
The Leitrim Champion is the most prestigious pool competition in the Leitrim Pool calendar and one of our three majors alongside the Shane Barry Memorial competition and the ongoing Premier League.
Well done to Niall Sweeney of Cootehall on winning the event, beating Brendan Shivnan from Mohill 7-1 in the final of the event.
In the competition, we had seven preliminary matches before the round of last 16 with a highly anticipated prelim between two county A players Wayne Kilmartin and John McKenna. Both were looking to win the title for a second time but Wayne came out trumps 5-3.
Niall Sweeney beat County B player Paddy Brady 5-1 and newcomer Tommy Washington beat Colin Hamilton 5-0. Stephen Gordon played young Adam Casey, Stephen was on the All-Ireland winning B team last year and beat Adam 5-1, JJ McVeigh beat Drumkeerin’s Paul Christy 5-0.
Richard Shanley started the day well beating Conor Banks 5-0 and on the tightest of margins Raymond Christie beat Leo Aruju 5-4.
On to the last 16, a few players showed flying form at the start of the event including Wayne Kilmartin who beat Daragh McQuaid 5-0, Niall Sweeney beat Tommy Washington 5-0 and Gavin Donnelly beating Hugh Kielty 5-0.
Brendan Shivnan of the A team beat B team player Stephen Gordon 5-2, Dessie Gardiner of Carrick on Shannon beat Raymond Christie 5-2 and Richard Shanley beat fellow B team player John Casey 5-3.
In the last two games we had very tight affairs both going to deciders first between two brothers, Dave and Kevin McWeeney the other between JJ McVeigh and Jeremiah Coulter Dave scraped past Kevin in their match while JJ was victorious over JC.
In the Quarter Finals we had a great selection of players from established names to new names, in the first match Gavin Donnelly beat Dave McWeeney 5-2, Gavin clearing from break on three occasions.
Niall Sweeney beat Wayne Kilmartin in a very attacking, high standard match. On the other side of the draw it couldn’t have been tighter with Brendan Shivnan scraping past JJ McVeigh and Dessie Gardiner overcoming Richie Shanley 5-4 from a 4-3 deficit.
In the semi finals Gavin Donnelly played Niall Sweeney, Gavin started brilliantly winning the first 2 frames with great finishes but Niall responded winning the next 6 frames.
Brendan showed all his practice is paying off beating Dessie Gardiner 5-2.
In the final Brendan Shivnan vs Niall Sweeney, Niall won the first 4 frames, 4-0 Brendan claimed one back, 4-1 but Niall pushed on to win 7-1.
With the Premier League in full swing we are closely coming to the business end of things with six rounds remaining.
In the Group stages the top 12 will play off in one of three different knockouts A, B or C. Group 1 Jeremiah Coulter is leading the way with Peter Devaney, Niall Sweeney and Dave McWeeney completing the top four at the moment.
In Group 2, first is Darragh McQuaid with Jamie Gaffney, Kevin McWeeney and Dave Flynn completing the top four.
Membership is now due for this year 2019, the fees are as follows: Senior €50 per annum; Ladies/ U18 €30 per annum; Under 15 free. With payment of membership, each visit to the hall will be €4 for seniors, €3 for Ladies & U18s and €2 for U15s. This is great value for the facilities available with three brand new supremes being purchased in March also.
Best of luck to the Leitrim Men’s team who are competing in the Northern Ireland Intercounty Championships this weekend as well as all the players who are competing in Tullamore at the Irish Pool Open over the weekend of Friday to Sunday January 11-13.