Three in a row for McCullagh, triumphant in all-Irish Dublin final.


dublin eddy edmc
Host Eddy Byrne with 2016, 2017 and now 2018 champion Ed McCullagh.

FOCAL returned to the Emerald Isle on Saturday 29th September as Eddy Byrne and Rose Boyle welcomed 17 entrants to J.W. Sweetman in central Dublin for their third annual CoDub.

Everyone played eight 9-round games and top of the class by late afternoon was Mark Murray on seven wins and 449 points, followed by defending champion Ed McCullagh on six wins and 509 points — the only player to break through the 500 barrier, and by some distance. Waterford champion Hazel Drury finished 3rd with five wins and 454 points.

dublin prizes

Grand Final – recap
Ed McCullagh and Mark Murray opened their accounts with steady 6s in SPIRAL from ARRASQILP and WASTED from TWZAUESAD. An early six small numbers yielded 4 10 5 8 3 6 — 241 and both contenders hit the target. EM 22 – 22 MM.

Ed teed off at the 4th with GOLFED from GLXEEOFUD but Mark misfired with “fueled”, and the gap widened further as UNOPEN trumped “unopens” from OZJESNUPN. EM 34 – 22 MM.

A four large numbers pick turned out to be straightforward, adding ten more points for both before the first conundrum, CODUBTRYP was unravelled by Ed in two seconds. BYPRODUCT took his score to 54 points over Mark’s 32 at half-time.

Next, both players looked past the short -ING  endings available in ICNEGMIUO to offer up GENOMIC for 7, and moved on swiftly to EAOOLKSMV and the 7 in VAMOOSE. Scoreline EM 68 – 46 MM with five rounds to go.

A steady one large numbers added a further ten points, but Mark was seemingly unable to recover the deficit as the next two letters rounds produced steady 7s from TNSEEOVAW (NOVATES) and ATYENTISN (INSTATE). EM 92 – 70 MM and, with two rounds left, the game is beyond doubt.

Nonetheless, Ed was still on for the century but not before both players had to surmount a tricky four large: 100 25 50 75 6 9 — 435. Ed kept the two small numbers to one side and worked backwards from 450 with the larges, multiplying 75 by 6 (100+(50/25)).

The scoreline remained EM 102 – 70 MM as the second conundrum, REDEVOTES, was left unsolved. Our congratulations to Ed on his third successive win at Dublin in three years, and also to Mark on achieving a third 2nd place finish at FOCAL events this year in London, Waterford and Dublin (as well as co-hosting again in his adopted home city of Bristol).

dublin prizes group

FOCAL standings
The updated standings are available to view here in full.

20180929 standings

Ed’s second tournament and second win of the year propel him 30 places up the rankings to 69th, although Mark’s silver medal lifts him two to 14th. If Blackpool gets a decent turnout, Mark will be in with a chance of the Birmingham Finals.

The standings for the top 8 are largely unchanged, but take a wider look at the top 16. Bradley Horrocks’ 5th place finish translated into 26 points, enough to move him up two places into 3rd, and putting him 86 points clear of the cut-off. Whilst only 20 points now separate 1st and 5th places, another 40 separate 5th and 6th, and it really is too close to call those last remaining positions in the top flight.

Next events
We’re off to Blackpool on Saturday 13th October under the auspices of new host Mark Mills, followed by the Birmingham Open and our 2018 Finals running concurrently in the same room on Saturday 24th November.


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