Third time lucky for Conor and DJ

DJ Wilson and Conor McCartan of Dunbarton, who won the PG pairs tournament.
DJ Wilson and Conor McCartan of Dunbarton, who won the PG pairs tournament.

In the afternoon, the pairs were played but in very different conditions to the fours in the morning.

Constant rain, thunder, flooded rinks were all par for the course but that couldn’t stop the Gilford lads who finally got their hands on the winner’s medals.

The trophy was destined to travel to Gilford regardless as the final was an all 
Dunbarton affair.

Fifteen year old Ryan McIlroy was leading for Chris Mulholland and they qualified for the final with a thumping semi final defeat of the Old Bleach pair of Barclay/Kirkwood, not playing the last three ends.

In the final, they faced clubmates and current Irish Internationals Conor McCartan and DJ Wilson. Conor and DJ had anything but a comfortable passage to the final as they scraped past the Ballymena father and son pair of Torrington/Torrington six days earlier.

Trailing by three shots with just two ends remaining, the locals held their nerve to score counts of four and two to book their passage into the final in a nervewracking contest. The final was played in appalling conditions yet was a very high standard. An early count of five on the second end put DJ’s pair in pole position and they never looked back.

Their lead increased to 13-6 at the midpoint and this was increased to 16-8 after 13 ends. End 14 proved to be pivotal as Ryan and Chris played a terrific end, lying four shots with just one bowl remaining.

Skip DJ drove the head and despite losing his balance and ending up lying on the ground, managed to remove all four opposition bowls for a double and an 18-8 advantage.

From then on it was plain sailing and Conor and DJ, who lost successive pairs finals in 2007 and 2008, made it third time lucky with a strong 24-12 win. Huge credit should be given to Ryan and Chris who played their part in a terrific game in horrendous weather conditions.

At 15 years old, this is already Ryan’s second Private Greens Final and the future looks very bright for Dunbarton’s young starlet.