Annette Newman from Carlow won the 2019 Maureen Butler Cup at Sharkx Newbridge recently.  This prestigious event of the RILSA calendar has been a qualifier event now for a number of years, with only the top 16 players in Ireland at the end of the season in with a chance to take this title.

The cup was first played for in 1969 when a young Brid Maxwell from Dublin won the inaugural event and came back in 1970 to retain it.  Audrey Mooney won it in 1971 with Brid Maxwell taking it back in 1972, both Brid and Audrey were National Champions.  3 times National Ladies Champion, Mary Raymond won it in 1973.

The late Maureen Butler was to win the cup herself in 1974 & 1976 and also a National Champion on 2 occasions.  5 times National Champion, Ann McMahon won it in 2002 with Cathy Dunne a former National Champion taking the title in 2016 after the cup was recovered.  Current National Champion Paula Judge won it in 2017 and came back to retain it in 2018.  When you read through the winners of this Cup, we see a familiar trend in that all winners to date have all won the National Championship title at one time or another.  Is it an omen or will we see this trend broke in the years ahead, we wait and see!!

This time it was the 2015 National Champion and current number 1, Annette’s turn to win the title, in its 50th year, after a great display of snooker at the RILSA Academy, Sharkx Newbridge.

Annette’s win is even more important as she personally knew Maureen and had played her on many occasions in the past.  Annette said “to win this cup is very special to me having known Maureen, I have nothing but great memories of her, after winning the National Championship in 2015, this was my next goal and I’m delighted to have my name on the cup at last”

The girls played some great snooker on the day and it was good to see some players make it to the semis of this event for the first time in Valerie Maloney from Offaly and Rachel Bradley from Kildare who played great throughout the day.

Also in good form after her win at the last ranking of the season, the Kildare Open back in March, was Louise Jordan from Meath, sailing through to the final with good 2 nil wins over Megan Randle (Kilkenny) last 16, Jennifer Earle (Dublin) in the quarters and Rachel Bradley (Kildare) in the semis to meet Annette in the final.

The first frame went all the way to the pink and black where Louise only needed pink for frame but was unfortunate to go in off to let Annette have a shot at a difficult pink which she potted and after a bout of safety on the black Annette potted black to take the first frame.  Louise started well in the second but Annette stepped up a gear to over take her and after potting the blue, Louise needed snookers to win the frame, however Annette was in form and potted pink and black to seal the win and take the title of Maureen Butler Cup Champion 2019.

Everyone who partook on the day received vouchers with medals for semi finalists, R/Up and winner along with cash prizes.  All those who were knocked out in the earlier rounds received vouchers and had entry into the plate competition, report to follow soon.

Congratulations to Annette on a great win and to Louise on a fine performance.  Thanks and well done to all the players for their support and participation in making this 50th Maureen Butler Cup a memorial and successful event.

Thanks to Bernie and Paul of Sharkx for providing excellent playing conditions and sponsoring vouchers to all the players.

A big thank you to Dave Earle for all his help in refereeing throughout the day and the final.