Aidan Murray wins Pat O’Sullivan Memorial
The Pat O’Sullivan Memorial handicap tournament was played at Carlow on Sunday, 22nd of January 2012. After a day’s play, Aidan Murray (Wicklow), in keeping with his position in the top ranking players in the country, was the well deserved winner on the day.
Among the first round eliminations were Rathkeale players Packie Madigan and Jason Dowling, Enniscorthy father and son duo, Andy and John Kehoe, compatriot and long-time travelling partner of the late Pat O’Sullivan, Larry Drennan (Kilkenny), Kevin Christie (Portmarnock), Liam Byrne (Edenderry) and Robert McCrum (Celbridge).
The semi finalists in the top half of the draw were Eugene Hughes (Carlow), having won his quarter final quite convincingly against last year’s winner Aonghus McAnally (Portmarnock) and Paul McLoughlin (Edenderry), who had an equally convincing win over Anthony O’Flaherty (Rathkeale). Eugene continued his good form into the semi final and despite some good billiards by his opponent, was never really threatened by Paul.
The semi finalists in the bottom half of the draw were Mark Nolan (Edenderry) and Aidan Murray (Wicklow), each having good wins in their quarter finals respectively against another father and son duo, James and Stephen Bateman (Kilkenny). In the semi final, Mark, despite his good potting ability, was no match for Aidan’s systematic game, which earned him his place in this year’s final.
The final proved to be an enthralling game between two of the country’s top players. Eugene, having amassed an early lead of forty odd points, further increased his advantage with a magnificent break of 114, the highest of the day. Aidan responded with a 50 break, followed almost immediately by a 52 from Eugene. From this point both players exchanged break scores of 40 plus each leaving Eugene well over a hundred points ahead with a hundred to go for game. A series of no score visits by Eugene allowed Aidan, who was still making up the deficit at each visit, to advance his position until, with a timely break of 68, he reversed Eugene’s lead. As the game progressed to its conclusion, an absorbing safety exchange took place, Aidan gaining a further, if slight advantage with each visit, which he maintained to the finish to claim this year’s title.
By way of consolation for his journey from Rathkeale, Jason Dowling was the winner of the plate.
It was gratifying to have such good participation at this year’s Pat O’Sullivan tournament, an independent event, separate from any of the points ranking billiards series, which gave us an opportunity to remember Pat in an active way and to reflect on the influence he had on the game of billiards in Ireland.
As always, our thanks are due to Jim Leacy for the excellent facilities at The Ivy Rooms and to Marian and staff for their help on the day.
Results (all matches 400 up):
Packie Madigan 303 v 400 Aonghus McAnally
John Kehoe 320 v 400 Eugene Hughes
Larry Drennan 396 v 400 Anthony O’Flaherty
Kevin Christie 354 v 400 Paul McLaughlin
Jason Dowling 314 v 400 Mark Nolan
James Bateman 400 v 367 Andy Kehoe
Liam Byrne 204 v 400 Aidan Murray
Robert McCrum 350 v 400 Stephen Bateman
Aonghus McAnally 346 v 400 Eugene Hughes
Anthony O’Flaherty 280 v 400 Paul McLaughlin
Mark Nolan 400 v 310 James Bateman
Aidan Murray 400 v 338 Stephen Bateman
Eugene Hughes 400 v 301 Paul McLaughlan
Mark Nolan 322 v 400 Aidan Murray
Eugene Hughes 352 v 400 Aidan Murray
Jason Dowling 400 v 265 Andy Kehoe