Martin McCrudden closed the gap at the top of the Irish rankings after victory in the sixth Premier Tour event of the season on Sunday.
McCrudden won his third event of the campaign with a titanic 4-3 victory over Rodney Goggins in the final, having earlier whitewashed John Sutton in the last four.
Goggins, who was featuring in his first final since capturing the opening event of the season back in October, saw off Brendan O’Donoghue in the semi-finals – the latter contesting his first semi-final of what has been an unusually quiet season for the Nenagh native.
There are only realistically two players, though, who can now top the rankings list with only 30 points separating McCrudden from rival Robert Murphy in top spot.
There are a further 130 points to David Hogan in third, with 150 available for winning an event.
Q Club’s Murphy bowed out to Goggins in the quarter-finals, himself failing to the reach the final since that opening tournament of the season at the Ivy Rooms.
McCrudden’s Celbridge teammate Sutton was on hand again following a good weekend which saw him rise to fifth in the standings.
“Martin McCrudden won the sixth Seniors of the season. Yet again there were a good few walkovers and no shows which was disappointing but it still didn’t take away from a high quality and tense tournament.
“Once more it was Martin who came out on top and it is now a two-horse race between him and Robbie Murphy to see who finishes no.1 for the season.
“It was a return to form for Rodney Goggins who reached the final but came up a little short losing out 4-3 in a high-quality final.
“Like so often this season, I flattered to deceive while playing well enough in my first three matches. I’m scoring well and I won the high break prize again with a 118 – that’s three out of six by the way I be won this season – and seems to be the only thing I can win.
“I lost 4 0 in the semi-final to Martin and was poor with no excuse. The other semi between Bren and Rodders was a closer affair with Rodney winning 4-2.
“It’s all geared towards a great championship with a lot of quality players but where is it going to be hosted???”
Top 5 in the Irish Rankings
1) Robert Murphy
2) Martin McCrudden
3) David Hogan
4) Michael Judge
5) John Sutton