Battling Team Blue sees off the challenge of Team Raspberry in James Stanners & Sons Painting/Decorating Division 1 final
Report by AOB
Its been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Team Blue in the James Stanners & Sons Painting/Decorating Division 1 team league, but after a campaign which saw them scramble into the semi finals on the final night of group action and then qualify for the final on aggregate aces after their semi final against Team Red had finished level at 2-2, the quartet of Noel Holohan, Mikey Murphy, Mick Armstrong and Eoin Lacey had their resilience rewarded when they came out on top against Team Raspberry, comprising Shane Terry, Dean O’Neill, Ricky Barron and Barry Stone, by three matches to one.
Team Raspberry sprung from the traps to take an early lead in the opening match of this final, as Ricky Barron and Barry Stone totally dominated an out of sorts Mick Armstrong and Eoin Lacey to forge into a 13-8 lead. It all looked very promising for Team Raspberry at that point, but just as they had done throughout the competition, Team Blue dug in their heels and fought back to claim the opening game by the minimum margin of 15-14. It was ‘only’ a single point win, but in the overall context of this final it was to prove crucial. Visibly stung by that loss, Barron and Stone were unable to mount a challege in the second and as Armstrong and Leacy sprinted home 15-4, Team Blue now had a 2-0 lead and a healthy 30-18 point advantage, should the tie finish level on games. Noel Holohan and Mikey Murphy were in a very strong position going in against Shane Terry and Dean O’Neill, but for a while in the opening game it was the latter who looked likely to take the game and reduce the defecit by a significant margin. But once again Holohan and Murphy dug deep and while they did end up losing the game 14-15, those late scores gained left them up 2-1 in games and 44-33 in aces. Terry and O’Neill now had the mammoth task of winning the last game 15-3 in order to claim the title and not suprisingly it proved beyond them. Holohan and Murphy had the scores needed for victory within minutes of the restart and on the night few would despute their right to be named champions. Once again in Wexford the knockout stages had proved beyond those who had topped the table, but after Team Blue had secured the last qualifying place in their last group match, they proved too tough for everyone when the ‘sudden death’ stage was reached.