The Branagan got off the mark in the third round, while the Killane could have won outright, but came undone in Skerries.
The Branagan faced an Elm Mount side who had a 1900 on board 4 – stronger than either of the Gonzaga teams had out against us. With no FMs though, we were only outrated by an average of 200 points per board this time. Leon lost on 1 – against a player he had beaten earlier in the year – but Odhrán, William, Lara and Kavin all held draws. That left Ben, up against a 1920 who had arrived 40 minutes late. By 11pm, he was an exchange and pawn up, but was down to increments, and he had to continue playing on increments for another 20 minutes before finally sealing the full point to earn a 3-3 draw. Kavin, Ben, Odhrán and Lara are all on 2000+ performances. A draw against bottom side Bray should be enough to secure third place in the tournament.
On Tuesday, the Killane were in Skerries to face the only other side in the competition, with the William Brennan having been merged in to make the tournament big enough to run. Skerries pulled out the stops for this one, bringing in an 1800, while we had to scratch on 6, giving Skerries a 1-0 lead from the off. Ronan lost on the top board, while the two Cooneys also went down to defeat. Danny had a good win on 3 though, and Eric held a tricky draw to give us 1½ from the evening. We’re still two points ahead of Skerries in the race to pip them to the trophy in which we’ve just lost 4½-1½ to the only other entrant! We play Bray on Sunday, who are flying high having dropped only 3½ points from their three games so far.