Pool participants on cue at national finals
The Wexford Pool Association sent over 50 participants to the main event on the domestic calendar recently, and they returned home with a string of superb victories.
I.N.E.C. in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney, was the venue for the Irish Pool Association Festival of Pool from May 15 to 19, and there was great rejoicing when the John McMahon Memorial Trophy for the All-Ireland inter-county team championship was captured by Wexford.
Player-manager Richie Furlong from Rosslare and captain Richie Lawlor (Wexford ) were assisted by Robert Brady (Enniscorthy), Tommy Kavanagh (Gorey), Fran Morrison (Gorey), Matt O'Hara (Gorey), Adam Maher (Enniscorthy), Ben Doyle (Enniscorthy), Tyler O'Connor (Enniscorthy), Barry Sinnott (Enniscorthy) and Jordan Fitzpatrick (Enniscorthy).
Wexford began the group stage with a 14-7 win over Westmeath, before accounting for Cork 14-8.
Their big statement of intent came when they saw off Antrim, winners for the previous three years, on a 14-12 scoreline, and they went on to account for the Saffron county's second team 14-9 in the quarter-final.
Mayo were defeated 14-11 in the semi-final, and there was a commanding display in the final when Donegal were seen off by a convincing 14-4 margin.
This event was first held in 1995, and Wexford were previously winners in 1996, '97, '98, '99, '00 and 2002.
Seventeen years later, the holy grail of Irish pool has been claimed once more.
The Perpetual Cup is named in honour of John McMahon, an Irish pool legend who sadly passed away last Christmas.
Thanks go to Murt And Sandra of Breakers pool and snooker club in Gorey, the current headquarters of Wexford pool, and to Billy's Kelly's, The Faythe, Wexford, for its great facilities.
Wexford has produced some of Irish pool's greats over the years, including four-time individual Irish champion Robert Brady, four-time individual ladies' champion Sandra Bryan, and two-time Over-50s world individual champion Michael Fortune.
New members are always welcome and encouraged. The sport has never been bigger in Ireland, with 28 of the 32 counties attending the event in Killarney.
The county Over-50s team were beaten finalists in the All-Ireland inter-county event, with Michael Fortune (Wexford), Peter 'The Potter' Lucas (Gorey), Nicky Cahill (Saltmills), Pat Furlong (Curracloe), Leslie Walsh (Raheenduff), Sandra Bryan (Gorey) and Simone Shea (Gorey) proudly flying the flag.
The Under-23 'A' team also claimed an All-Ireland crown, with non-playing manager Pa 'Ping' O'Brien guiding the fortunes of Adam Maher (Enniscorthy, captain), Tyler O'Connor (Enniscorthy), Ben Doyle (Enniscorthy) and Kyle Murphy (Gorey).
Wexford was also represented by the men's 'B' team featuring player-manager Gavin Kelly (Enniscorthy), captain Pa O'Brien (Enniscorthy), Jim Sludds Jnr. (Enniscorthy), Murt Rossiter (Gorey), Kyle Murphy (Gorey), Sandra Bryan (Gorey), Peter 'The Potter' Lucas (Gorey), Aiden Howlin (Screen), Evan Kavanagh (Gorey), J.P. Cunningham (Gorey) and Kieran Sludds (Glenbrien).
The men's 'C' team comprised player-manager John 'Big Daddy' Ward (Gorey), Killian Ronan (Enniscorthy), Robbie O Neill (Gorey), Adam Halnon (Gorey), Simon Shea (Gorey), Danny Murphy (Rosslare), Robin Johnston (Gorey), Robert Duggan (Rosslare), Brandon Murphy (Gorey) and Dad Griffin (Gorey).
On the ladies' team were Sandra Bryan (Gorey), Anne Carley (Wexford), Simone Shea (Gorey) and Carolyn Whelan (Ballycullane).
The Junior team (Under-18) featured Adam Halnon (Gorey), Conor Brady (Enniscorthy) and Ryan Brady (Enniscorthy), while the Under-23 'B' team was made up of Darren Redmond (Enniscorthy), Brandon Murphy (Gorey), Robbie O'Neill (Gorey) and Aaron Doyle (Gorey).
On the Under-23 'C' team were Evan Kavanagh (Enniscorthy), Barry Sinnott (Enniscorthy), Killian Ronan (Enniscorthy) and Ryan Price (Gorey).
Ben Doyle ( Enniscorthy) was the individual Under-23 All-Ireland champion, while Sandra Bryan (Gorey) was a ladies' finalist.