Barry Kane sent out a message of intent by roaring into the semi final of the AIIB National Singles Championships at the Ballybrakes Community Club.
The Bushmills man produced a superb display in the qualifier to claim is very first slot in the last four of the blue riband event.
He will met Belfast’s John McCullough on January 10 with a spot in the showcase decider up for grabs.
“I’m thrilled to be through to the semis,” claimed Kane, a former winner off both the world indoor and outdoor Under-25 singles. “It’s my first indoor national singles appearance at this stage.
“I won the Irish junior singles back in 2007. My only other national final was in the pairs, when I lost out to Jeremy Henry and Ian McClure.
“Then, I was beaten the following year, this time in the semi final, by Neil Booth.”
Kane is already relishing the prospect of facing McCullough. He added: To my recollection, the only time we’ve ever met in singles before was in the PBA qualifier a few years back. I beat him 2-1 on a tie break. I’ve no doubt it will be another tough game.”
No bad for a player who only returned to stadium bowls last season following a two-year self-imposed exile after he pulled out of the 2010 Irish side.
He got off to a flyer in the last 16 qualifier on his home carpet at Ballybrakes with an impressive 21-15 over two time winner Ian McClure.
Kane then turned up the heat at the quarter final stage with an eye-catching 21-13 win against Alistair Coleman, who last week lost out at the semi final stage of the WIBC Under-25 singles in Glasgow.
McCullough is assured of a busy schedule in next month’s Irish semi finals because he has also qualified in the pairs and triples.
The Belfast player chalked up a 21-15 victory over Stephen Coleman senior in his first match and then produced a magnificent performance to beat his Watson Stadium colleague Clifford Craig 21-12.
Meanwhile, in the top half of the draw, Mark McPeak secured his spot in the last four, where he will meet Alistair Kennedy, from the Ballybrakes Club.. The Belfast player began his assault by beating Chris Eadie 21-9. But he took an even bigger scalp in the quarter finals by dumping out the reigning champion Simon Martin (21-13).
AIIB National singles qualifier: S Martin (BIBC) 21 T Robinson (CAIBC) 17, M McPeak (BIBC) 21 C Eadie (BIBC) 9, A Kennedy (BCIBC) 21 S Bennett (BIBC) 17, S Gibson (BIBC) 21 P Prunty (BIBC) 17, B Kane (BCIBC) 21 I McClure (BCIBC) 15, A Coleman (CAIBC) w/o R Coleman (CAIBC), G Kelly (BCIBC) 16 C Craig (BIBC) 21, S Coleman sen (CAIBC) 15 J McCullough (BIBC) 21.
Quarter finals: Martin 13 McPeak 21, Kennedy 21 Gibson 19, Kane 21 Coleman 13, Craig 12 McCullough 21
Semi finals (January 10): McPeak v Kennedy, Kane v McCullough.
Bowls results . . .
Belfast Indoor Bowls Club Specsavers Men’s League
Monday: J Frazer 10 M Kirkwood 10, A Robinson 9 M Brown 8, J Millar 15 A Roberts 12, J Hinds 8 R Walker 17, JJ Leonard 11 D Millar 8, D Hamilton 15 R Dunbar 6, P Cromie 19 W Meehan 6.
Tuesday “A”: R Eynon 12 D Hamilton 12, B Hunter 11 B Daly 8, P McVeigh 9 M Merritt 12, J McGettrick 12 C Campbell 7.
Tuesday “B”: T White 14 JH Campbell 9, D Watson 8 M Irvine 12, M Simpson 7 R Meaklim 18, M Hedley 12 D Linton 9, I McIntyre 14 D McCandless 5, A Brown 17 D Rankin 10, E Thompson 18 M Gwynne 10.
Wednesday: D Moore 18 R Simpson 15, S Elliman 18 A Fee 10, M Dunlop 7 J Marshall 18, B Carlisle 14 A Gray 4, W Moran 9 J Millar 10, J Trolan 17 W Thompson 8, I McIntyre 11 F Lemon 7.
Thursday: F Simpson 19 A Bailie 12, R Dunbar 0 D Linton W/O, D McCandless 15 D McCluskey 8, A Fee 12 T Gil1 14, S Elliman 28 S Malcolmson 3.
Friday: H McFarland 14 R McKitterick 8, P Prunty 12 M Moorehead 7, W Meehan 12 N Hamilton 11, E McCourt 11 D Nelson 12, D Simpson 12 J Marshall 12
Men’s Saturday League: B Kelso 5 W McCullough 22, A Robinson 9 A Coyle 23, J Herron 6 W Thompson 21, B Nixon 12 M Gwynne 13, G Finlay 7 M Dunlop 14, A Briggs 9 T Roberts 6, H Johnston 9 P McVeigh 21, D Burns 20 M Irvine 11, A Bailie 14 J McKelvey 12, M Merritt 12 D Simpson 16.