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Stephen McKinley admits he must hit heights to triumph

By David Mason

Published 02/09/2016

On target: Stephen McKinley goes for IBA Singles glory
On target: Stephen McKinley goes for IBA Singles glory

Even though Stephen McKinley has already dethroned the current champion, he admits he faces a massive test in the IBA Singles semi-final against Barry Kane at Whitehead.

McKinley produced a majestic performance to demolish six-times Irish title holder Marty McHugh in the NIBA final last month, which earned him his place in the showpiece national event on his home green.

The only certainty is, there will be a new name on the coveted piece of silverware tomorrow night with McKinley coming up against a determined Kane, who is looking to become the first Provincial player to get his hands on the trophy since 2008.

Belmont's Mark McPeak lines out against Noel Maher of Crumlin in the other semi-final tie.

"This will be a massive test. Barry is an experienced international player, so I'll require my best form," McKinley said.

Kane impressively eliminated Nicky McCaw, who was the title holder, in the final of the Provincial singles. He now wants to finish the job.

"I've played a heck of a lot of games to get here, so I know I must now up the ante," said the Dunluce man.

McHugh still has a big part to play as he is involved in the pairs and triples.

He is again joined by his Whitehead team mate Barry Browne, the international duo lining out against the Leinster combination skipped by Pat Smyth.

IBA Championships

Singles: M McPeak (Belmont) v N Maher (Crumlin); S McKinley (Whitehead) v B Kane (Dunluce).

Under-25 singles: J Byrne (Crumlin) v M Gallagher (Letterkenny); C Dorman (Donaghadee) S Shields (Ballymena).

Youth singles (Under-18): J Moffett (Banbridge) v A McKeown (Mossley); C O'Brien (CYM) v R Hutchinson (Castlerock).

Pairs: M Nutt, S Kirkwood (Old Bleach) v G Smith, M Wilson (Cookstown); TA Smyth, TP Smyth (Leinster) v B Browne, M McHugh (Whitehead).

Triples: J Montgomery, JR Wilson, M McHugh (Whitehead) v D Duncan, M Torrington, A Duncan (Ballymena); N Roche, TA Smyth, TP Smyth (Leinster) v S Martin, N McCaw, B McAlary (Ballymoney).

Fours: S Cavan, R Horner, S Martin, S Bennett (Belmont) v J Montgomery, W Browne, S McKinley, B Browne (Whitehead); J Faulkner, S Edwards, T Murray, J Dixon (Meath) v A Kennedy, U McKeeman, R Kane, B Kane (Dunluce).

Senior Fours: F Porter, B Dorman, S Dalzell, T Cheevers (Donaghadee) v M Kelly, B Vaughan, D McCarthy, F McCarthy (CYM); J McLaney, R Barry, R Battersby, R Horner (Belmont) v S Walker, H Paul T Smith, W McCaw (Ballymoney).

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