Putting to raise funds for potting

Our top snooker players are taking to the fairways and greens to raise the cash to fund the hosting of a major international tournament so they can take on the best from three other countries at the Pot Black club in October in the International Challenge Cup.

Cookstown will host teams from Republic of Ireland, Scotland and France for the fifth staging of the tournament, its first time in the province.

The event came into being in 2012 when a team from the Republic travelled to France to play for the cup for the first time and were victorious.

Northern Ireland became involved a year later when it was staged in Youghal, County Cork, with the home side retaining the trophy.

Belgium became the fourth nation to participate in 2014, at home in Leuven, when NI were champions, winning their first ever major international team title.

Belgium’s late withdrawal last year meant NI defended the title back in Youghal against only ROI and France and they lost to the hosts in an exciting finish to the wire.

This year’s staging should prove to be the most competitive yet, Scotland making their debut, and they’ll provide stiff opposition at the Burn Road club come October 13-15. Made up of four men and four masters, the NI team contains mostly local players - Patrick Wallace, Mickey Quinn and Dermot Loughran from the host club, Paul McGuckin from Mitchells and Brian Milne from St Pat’s, Magherafelt - who will be determined to wrestle the cup back from the southern counterparts. We originally said we’d play until it was our turn to host the event and then hastily retire, due to the amount of work involved!” quipped Wallace.

“Seriously, though, we’ve been looked after so well in the last three years, we’ve met so many great people and it has been so much fun to play in, we simply had to do our bit to keep it going. We are delighted to host it and welcome our friends from Republic, France and Scotland to Cookstown. We will try our very best to ensure it is the best ICC yet,” assured the NI champion. “But, as you can imagine, it is a costly exercise to host and we are undertaking various fundraising exercises to try to raise the money required, including a raffle, a snooker marathon and a golf day at Killymoon Golf Club on Friday 12th August.”

The tee has been reserved from 12-4pm and the Northern Ireland team invites fourballs to play at £120 per team, including meal. There are prizes for top four teams, longest drive, nearest the pin and more. To sponsor a hole, enter a team, or if you need more information, telephone 07776 232582 or 07921 157994.