There is just no stopping Cookstown Parochial when it comes to winning the IIBA Club Championship.
They were back on the winners’ rostrum at the Watson Stadium at the weekend, picking up the coveted title for an astonishing fifth time since 2005.
Once again Parochial reached the semi final stage without a great deal of fuss, ploughing through the qualifying heats back in November.
And they didn’t disappoint when they lined out against Michelin in the semi finals before cruising to the title following a comprehensive victory over Strabane Cricket Club.
“We have a great record in this tournament and it was good to keep that going,” said Parochial’s Colm McHugh. “This was our fifth success, but it is probably the best yet because the tournament is becoming a lot more difficult to win.
“Once we got through to the last four again, we were determined not to let it slip.”
It was Michelin’s first semi final appearance and they certainly gave it their best shot, losing by only five shots.
In fact, it was Damien McElroy’s impressive 12-6 win over Graham Wilson that tilted the tie in Parochial’s favour. Paddy Hanlon also made an important contribution by beating George Robinson 6-4, but William Caldwell kept Michele in the hunt with a 10-7 victory over McHugh.
Any hopes off an all Mid Ulster final were torpedoed were when Cookstown High, who have had their hands on the title on two previous occasions, surprisingly were dumped out by Strabane Cricket Club - albeit by the closest of margins.
Mark Beattie was the toast of Strabane as his astonishing 13-5 win against Dayne Jordan, was enough to see his team over the line and into their first final.
Alan Paul tried desperately to repair the damage by beating Tom Patton 11-4, but Pat McSorley’s 6-6 draw with Mark Wilson guaranteed High’s elimination.
Unfortunately, Strabane failed to recapture that form in the decider.
It was all one way traffic with McHugh leading the charge by storming to a 7-0 win against McSorley. McElroy again made a decisive impact by beating Patton 12-5. It meant that Beattie’s 9-6 victory over Hanlon was of little significance.
Meanwhile, Marian turned in an excellent performance to lift the IIBA Plate for the first time.
They defied the odds to beat a strong All Saints side in the semi finals before taking out the fancied Wellington in the decider.
“We are all thrilled with the win,” said Marian’s Willie McCaw. “It may not have been the main event, but we were determined to go all the way.”
It was James Martin’s 7-4 victory against Jonny Wilson that boosted Marian’s chances in the semi finals. McCaw batted out a crucial 6-6 result with Eddie Campbell, with DJ Wilson the only Saints’ winner following a tense 6-4 success against Brian McAlary.
Marian then put their foot on the gas when it mattered against Wellington, racking up a 33-27 victory.
Even though McCaw crashed to an alarming 14-5 defeat to Alan Graham, his team mates doing the business on the adjacent rinks, with McAlary recording a stunning 14-1 win against Gary Burke and Martin edging home 14-12 against Ivor McIlroy.
IIBA Club Championship semi finals
Cookstown Parochial 25 Michelin 20 (D McElroy 12 G Wilson 6; C McHugh 7 W Caldwell 10; P Hanlon 6 G Robinson 4).
Cookstown High 22 Strabane CC 23 (A Paul 11 T Patton 4; M Wilson 6 P McSorley 6; D Jordan 5 M Beattie 13).
Final: Cookstwon Parochial 24 Strabane CC 14 (D McElroy 12 T Patton 5; C McHugh 7 P McSorley 0; P Hanlon 6 M Beattie 9).
IIBA Plate semi finals
Wellington 17 St Coleman’s 14 (A Graham 8 M McAleese 2; I McIlroy 8 D Walker 3; G Burke 1 A Tennant 9).
All Saint’s 15 Marian 17 (E Campbell 6 W McCaw 6; J Wilson 4 J Martin 7; D J Wilson 5 B McAlary 4).
Final: Wellington 27 Marian 33 (A Graham 14 W McCaw 5; I McIlroy 12 J Martin 14; G Burke 1 B McAlary 14).