Mahon Cup success for disciplined St Michael’s

Mahon Cup success for disciplined St Michael’s

9 January 2019

THE final of the long-standing Mahon Cup was played out before an appreciative crowd in the Drumaness clubrooms just before Christmas.  

In the final were holders St Michael’s from Downpatrick and Queen’s Hall from Newtownards.

League sponsor Gary Rodgers conducted the draw for the match pairings, which saw Gareth McKeever up first against Alastair McDonald and Bobby Douglas taking on Keith Lemon. 

McDonald got into his stride the quicker and soon built up a good lead over Gareth at 120 points to 71. He then hit the buffers and McKeever clawed his way back into contention to trail by just one point at 137 to 138.  

However, McDonald wasn’t finished and a second wind in the final quarter saw him bag breaks of 19 and 20 to cross the line at 200 points to McKeever’s 164.  

On the other table Douglas had made all the early running, leading by almost double scores at 63 points to 32 at one stage. He too was then caught napping as Lemon bagged breaks of 18 and 20 (twice) to tie the scores at 145 points apiece. 

The players took their scores turn about until they each reached 190, with the final outcome anybody’s guess.

Lemon seemed to have victory in his grasp as he eyed an easy red to the centre pocket, only to miss it and throw Douglas an unlikely lifeline.

Unbelievably, he too missed a match ball red with the scores on 199 -198, but made no mistake at the second time of asking to scrape home at 200 points to Lemon’s hard-earned 198. 

These first two results meant Tommy Hunter was staring at a 151-point deficit as he faced Sean Burns in the last match, with the Downpatrick man needing only 50 points to retain the cup for his team.  

A nervy Burns break-off shot was pounced on by Hunter, who stroked a lovely 58 break to give him just the start he needed.  Burns got his first points on the board soon after but couldn’t find any rhythm and was only on 11 as Hunter reached 77. 

A few trademark pots — not to mention a couple of flukes — saw Burns push his score on to 34, with Hunter still looking dangerous on 122. 

With the scores at 36–133, Burns chose to take on a pot when an in-off or cannon looked an easier option. 

Neutral observers wondered if he had made a big mistake. However, the balls ran awkwardly on him and Hunter only managed to make 15, taking him to 148 on the scoreboard.

Burns then took his unexpected chance and a closing break of 17 took him to 53 points and ensured the cup was staying in St Michael’s.  

League treasurer Robert Pollock thanked the Drumaness club for hosting the final before presenting the cup to a smiling Bobby Douglas.  

Douglas congratulated the Queen’s men for their sportsmanship in defeat and reiterated the thanks to Drumaness before everyone headed for the post-match refreshments.