Fonacab Central Darts League
The Crumlin Star club had the ‘full house’ signs up for the much-awaited bottom half cup shoot out to decide the destination of the Tommy Henry Memorial Cup.
Four teams had negotiated through last week’s preliminary matches and all were chomping at the bit to stamp their authority on proceedings.
The crucial draw paired home unit Crumlin Star against near neighbours Shamrock United with Donegal Celtic facing the men from McDermotts.
The opening clash set the tone for a smashing game as Shamrock United man Tony Kelly hit the maximum 180 in scoring a great win over Crumlin Star opponent Peadar McAlorum.
It was soon all square as Star ace Dougie Bowes made no mistake in coming home in front of Henry McTasney Jnr.
The home side took the lead for the first time when their player Fra Ferguson never put a foot wrong in getting the nod over Gerard Burns.
The big Shamrock support did not have to wait long to see their side equalise as Fra Maguire was in good form and he played quality arrows to end the challenge of star player Jim Fitzpatrick.
Ben Lagan was next up for the Star and he put in a top notch performance coming home in 19 darts to see off a good player in Paddy Brady.
The next game was a cracker and Shamrock star Peter Fitzpatrick played super darts to score a man of the match 18-dart success to just get home in front of Anto Magee.
Shamrock moved in front once more and it was all thanks to Rab Lyttle who excelled in coming home in front of Star man Anto Magee.
They soon extended their advantage and put themselves within touching distance of the final when new boy Aaron McGivern played super darts to get the better of Alan Murphy.
The Star now had their backs pinned back firmly against the wall and they faced a stiff task if they
were to overcome a vibrant Shamrock unit.
The next game was an important one for both sides and at one stage it looked as if Tommy Henry would put the Star back into contention but his sterling effort was eclipsed by a magic display coming from Shamrock match winner Paddy McAleese, whose win brought the Shamrock support to their feet as it catapulted his team into the show piece grand final.
The second clash also looked to have all the makings of a classic and first blood went the way of Suffolk Road outfit Donegal Celtic and young Dee Armstrong was in great nick and he played sound darts to end the challenge of McDermott’s player Ray
It was soon one apiece as big Eamon Mulholland was right on the money and he gave a five-star performance to end the aspirations of Celtic man Sean McGibbon.
McDermott’s moved in front once more as Kevin Robinson never put a foot wrong as he got the better of Celtic ace Martin Flynn Snr and at this point all things were looking good for the Falls Road side.
But the pendulum soon swung in favour of the Celtic side and it started with a great comeback win from Martin Flynn Jnr, who did well to come in front of McDermott’s starlet Freddie Stelges.
Sean Armstrong was next up for Celtic and his darts were accurate and true and he was always on top and his win put his side in front as he came home in front of McDermott’s banker Chailme Burns.
Buoyed by that win Celtic now had their tails up and they had the right man for the big occasion in the next game as Joe Corr was in great form and he did enough to end the hopes of McDermott’s man Sean Fitzpatrick to extend the Celtic lead to 4-2.
McDermott’s had to do something quickly as the situation was now becoming perilous, and it soon went from bad to worse for them as they fell further in arrears as Seamus Armstrong Jnr played an absolute cracker and it was enough to see off the challenge of Oliver McMahon Jnr.
The Celtic support were soon on their feet as their man Gerry Murray took the early advantage against opponent Paul Stafford, when the opportunity presented itself Murray made no mistake and his winning double set up a final showdown with the men from Shamrock United.
The noise was reaching a crescendo as the first two players toed the oche.
Both sides were well aware of the importance of making a good start, and with the Tommy Henry Memorial Cup awaiting the winner, both sets of supporters were adding their voices to encourage their players.
First up for Celtic was the experienced Martin Flynn Snr against Henry McTasney Jnr.
As things panned out it fell the way of Flynn whose win eased Celtic into an early lead.
Peter Fitzpatrick was next up for Shamrock and again the big man was in great form hitting the maximum 180 to score a comprehensive win over Sean Armstrong Jnr.
Shamrock edged in front for the first time as Paddy Brady gave a solid performance to just edge out opponent Seamus Armstrong Jnr.
It was soon 3-1 as Shamrock man Fra Maguire played well to ease home in front of Martin Flynn Jnr.
The Shamrock support were in great voice as they knew their side had laid solid foundations to claim the win, and they were confident their men could go on and lift the trophy.
But Celtic are no mean outfit and they soon dented the Shamrock aspirations with first Alan Hanna coming good in scoring a great win over Marty Galway, and then Gerry Murray did likewise against a good player in Paddy McAleese.
The next game turned out to be a cracker with both player hitting big scores early doors.
They were neck and neck all the way to the finish, but Shamrock player Tony Kelly got first pop at game and he slotted home the winning score
to outpoint a good adversary in Joe Corr.
It was soon back to level pegging as Celtic ace Ray Gilmore gave a workmanlike display to dent the hopes of Shamrock player Rab Lyttle, to set up a grand stand finish.
The cup was there for the taking to whichever of the teams that could find that bit extra to stamp their authority on proceedings.
Aaron McGivern and Sean McGibbon were next to the oche with young McGivern pitched in against the experienced McGibbon.
This time fortune fell the way of youth as McGivern rose to the occasion and his win put his side within touching distance of claiming the Henry Cup.
The next game was also a close run affair. In the Shamrock corner was Gerard Burns, up against Celtic opponent Paul Healey.
Both players hit solid scores and going into the home straight there was nothing between them.
They both had chances at game but the plaudits went the way of the Shamrock man Burns and the noise could be heard down in lower Ardoyne as the Shamrock support celebrated in style as they received the Tommy Henry Memorial Cup.
The league committee would like to thank the Crumlin Star club and Henry family for their generous sponsorship and also for the use of their clubrooms.