McDermott wants pint

Local hero Gary McDermott has set his sights on a dream West of Ireland victory - and a celebratory pint.

The Rosses Point man, 26, swore off booze in January to prepare for his assault on the title that every Sligo man wants to win.

And after a wins over Wayne McCully and England’s Ben Jones in the first two rounds, he’s bang on track for the title.

McDermott said: “For a Rosses Point man the ‘West’ is the biggest championship of them all. If you were to win a championship, it’s the one you would choose to win.

“I have put a lot of preparation into this year and knocked the booze on the head for the past few months just for starters. Maybe I’ll have one on Wednesday!

“I’ve been doing a lot of work in the gym as well and while I’m not old, I want to get the most out of it as I can.

“I got to the last 16 the first year I played but I know what to expect a wee bit now. Before you would be a bit fearful and possibly giving too much respect to the bigger players.

“But you realise that if you dig your heels in and play your own game there is no-one you can’t beat.”

With five of Ireland’s international team crashing out yesterday, McDermott is in with a great chance of winning this year.

But he faces a massive test when he takes on English raider Jonathan Hurst in this morning’s third round.

Bruised by his quarter-final defeat last year, Hurst needed just 25 holes to cruise into the last 16.

He crushed Claremorris’ Pat Killeen 7 and 5 and then dispatched Cork’s Alan Harrington by 7 and 6 in the afternoon.

Hurst said: “I putted very well and missed very little inside 10 feet. I wasn’t happy with how I played last year in losing to Tommy McGowan in the quarters.

"I decided that if I came back I was coming to go all the way. Nobody likes finishing second.”

Irish Close champion Shane Lowry is the biggest name left in the top half of the draw after internationals Conor Doran, Simon Ward, Niall Kearney and defending champion Joe Lyons all crashed out.

Lowry holed a massive 35-footer across the 17th to go one up on Ulsterman Nicky Grant and escaped extra holes when the Knock player missed a six footer on the last.

Leading qualifier Andrew Hogan cruised to a 6 and 5 win over David Finn and faces Paul O’Hanlon.