One of the most sought after cups in the Craigavon District Darts League calendar year was up for grabs this week as the Eire Og club hosted the annual Jim McCusker Cup which is played out over the one leg of 701 , nine man team format.
Jim McCusker was one of the best players for years in the Lurgan/ Craigavon area and in his memory, despite the terrible weather conditions almost a 100 % of the league players turned out trying to help their respected teams claim the trophy with nearly every team at full strength.
On Board one host club Eire Og went up against Clann Eireann and the hosts showed their intentions on the night winning all the first five legs played to claim victory with the highlight being an excellent 123 checkout by Chris Cinnamond on the bull.
Dermie McStay finished the match off with victory over Joe McCabe to make Eire Og the first team through to the semi-finals.
Board two was a much tighter affair as the Stables and last years league champions went right to the wire with the Stables claiming a 5-4 victory.
The match swung back and fourth with the Stables opening up an early 2-0 lead only for the Vintage to draw level and then gradually go in front with wins for Dee Blaney, Conor Mallon, Paul Beattie and Oliver Toland. But it was to be John Bishorek and Pat Curran to lead the Stables into the next round winning the last two legs to set up a semi-final clash against Eire Og.
Board three seen the INF and Celtic clash and it was the INF who progressed with a 5-2 victory.
Mick Millar opened up the tie with a win over Vincey Culbert before Dave McCusker, who is the son of Jim McCusker , showed how much it means to him to try and get his hands on the trophy when he beat young John Bishorek Jr in an excellent game that seen no less than seven ton plus scores during the leg.
Sean Farren put Celtic back in front in game three but that was to be the last of their wins as the INF rolled off the next four legs with wins for Marty Crossan with a 103 checkout, Paddy Magill, Terry Morrow and Roy White putting the Forresters men into the semi-finals.
Their opponents were to be Drumgor who had a 5-1 win over the Trojans with Marty Craig , Clive Hanna, Paul Donnelly and Stevie Duff putting the winners 4-0 up before Davy Vaughan Jr pulled one back with victory over Niall Heaney.
It was Pearse Richardson who finished the tie off when he beat Liz McLaughlin to set up a clash between the two teams that sit top of the league table.
Semi-final number one brought the Stables up against Eire Og on board number three and it was Eire Og who took the early initiative with wins for Chris Cinnamond and Nathan McCabe. It was Hugh Campbell, John Bishorek and Rab Lewis who turned the tie on its head though with all three claiming wins to put the Stables back in front. But back came Eire Og winning legs six and seven with Mark McLernon and Hugh Heaney putting them only one away from the final.
It was Michael Lamb who got the win over Micky Dunwoodie in leg number 8 that set up the last leg decider between Gareth Bunting and Paul McGahon with the winner taking all and putting their team into the final.
As expected there was little between the players with Gareth getting down to his double first and making no mistake much to his teams delight to put The Stables into the final at the expense of the hosts.
Semi-final number two seen Drumgor come flying out of the traps taking an early 3-0 lead that the INF were unable to recover from . Wins for Pearse Richardson, Niall Heaney and Eamon Duff seen the INF face an up hill struggle but despite wins for Terry Morrow and Vincey Culbert sr it was Shane Lennon and Clive Hanna that got Drumgor over the line with two games to spare for a 5-2 win and set up a clash against the Stables .
The final was first versus sixth in the league with Drumgor going in as slight favourites and with the rest of the crowd watching being in great spirits the atmosphere was buzzing with everyone having a great night.
The all important draw was made and it seen Pat Curran’s numerous treble 19’s put the Stables one nil up when he claimed victory over Marty Craig. Rab Lewis doubled the lead when he beat Stevie Duff to give the Stables the perfect start.
Legs three and four though saw the Drumgor fight back begin when Paul Donnelly and Pearse Richardson who was the first of four players to win all their three games played on the night level the match with wins over Cherie Toland and Hugh Campbell to pretty much make it a best of five
Gareth Bunting became the second player on the night with a 100 % record when he won game five over Shane Lennon to put the Stables back in front.
The two captains went head to head in match six and it was Shane Lennon who put the Stables on the verge of victory with the win over Joe Duff to put them only one leg away from getting the Stables name on the trophy.
Clive Hanna kept his 100% win record on the night with a win over Peter Morris which only increased the tension that was building when he won game 7 to make it 4-3 to the Stables with two to play.
Michael Lamb had the honour of winning the last leg for the Stables when he beat James Henry for a 5-3 win , to put an end to another excellent nights darts and entertainment in the Craigavon district darts league.
Results QF Eire Og 5-0 Clann Eireann; Stables 5-4 Vintage ; INF 5-2 Celtic ; Drumgor 5-1 Trojans .
SF: Stables 5-4 Eire Og ; Drumgor 5-2 INF.
Final : Stables 5-3 Drumgor.