Darren Dornan and Ryan McQuillan to do battle for NI snooker title

The latter took the scalp of defending champion Robbie McGuigan in the quarter-finals

Darren Dornan (left) and Ryan McQuillan
Darren Dornan (left) and Ryan McQuillan will meet in this weekend's Northern Ireland Amateur Championship decider

IT’S not the final anybody was expecting but Darren Dornan and Ryan McQuillan will square off this weekend in the season-ending Northern Ireland Amateur Snooker Championship at the Antrim Sports Club.

McQuillan, from the host club, will be appearing in the first ranking tournament decider of his career and he has certainly made it there the hard way, knocking out defending champion and club-mate Robbie McGuigan (5-4) in the quarter-finals and then Coalisland’s Fergal Quinn (6-3) in the last four.

McGuigan, who will now join the pro ranks on a two-year card, had been hoping to sign off from the amateur game with a fourth consecutive title but despite leading 4-3, McQuillan forced a deciding frame, which he then won with break of 59.

Quinn had accounted for another Antrim player, Raymond Fry (5-1), in the last eight and after losing the first frame to a 72 from McQuillan he raced to a 3-1 interval lead. However, he wasn’t to win another frame.

Loughinisland man Dornan, who plays out of Drumaness club and was runner-up in 2019, had a comfortable win over Gregory Cooke in the last eight before beating Armagh’s Declan Hughes 6-5 in the semi-final.

Hughes had turned in a big performance in his quarter-final, beating number one and eight-times champion Patrick Wallace 5-0. That win included a break of 120 which broke down on the yellow with a maximum on.

Hughes also had a break of 104 to go 4-4 against Dornan after trailing 3-0 early on.

The final will be the best of 19 frames over two sessions on Saturday.

Nibsa wishes to thank tournament sponsors That Prize Guy and McKinney Competitions for their continued support.