Ruairi Kelly retained his Ulster Intermediate Singles title by defeating fellow Tyrone player Padraig McGlinchey in the final. It was a mighty close call however as McGlinchey was in the driving seat for the vast majority of the first two games. The Carrickmore man’s all out attack had Kelly struggling to stay in contention and after building up an 8-1 he lead resisted Kelly’s fightback to win 21-18.
Kelly opened up stronger in the second game and some excellent play took him into a 9-1 lead before McGlinchey responded. A high three wall serve paid dividends and gave him the chance to draw level at 13 each. From this point the action was intense and McGlinchey looked a sure winner when he led 20-17. Four times he served for the match but each time Kelly dug out the winning shot and edged closer to the winning point himself which eventually came with a precise right corner kill.
The momentum in the tie-breaker was now with the Brackey man and although McGlinchey managed to keep in touch up until 8 all 5 unanswered points gave Kelly the decisive break. He was now playing with complete confidence producing kill and pass shots from both right and left hands. Mc Glinchey displayed great tenacity to hang in right to the very last point but Kelly was not to be denied the victory.
Ruairi now meets Meath man Carl Browne on Saturday April 2nd in Kells Co. Meath in the All Ireland Semi-Final. Another win for the talented Tyrone man is on the cards and will take him one step closer to his goal of senior status. We wish him well in his quest.