The Bunratty weekender was held 17-19 February. The main event, the Masters, had its strongest ever field and was won by English GM Michael Adams after a blitz play-off with former World Championship challenger Nigel Short. IM Mark Orr, resident now for many years in Scotland, was the only Ulster player in that section and finished on 3.0 points.
There were four separate tournaments at Bunratty and four Ulster players competed in the second-tier Challengers section. Unfortunately two of them met in round one with Danny Mallaghan turning the rating list on its head by beating second seed Gareth Annesley. However Gareth shrugged off that setback to win his remaining five games and secure himself an equal first place with three others, though Jan Heinrich took the Challengers title on tie-break. Danny lost in rounds 2 and 3 but finished strongly by beating fourth seed Pete Morriss in the final round. The other two Ulster players were Cecil Sloan and Paul McLoughlin. Cecil finished on a very creditable 3.0 after playing a strong field, rated an average 161 points higher - he also beat the afore-mentioned Mr Morriss. Unfortunately Paul, who tends to blow either hot or cold, couldn't raise the temperatures of his opponents this time.
Check out the complete results at the Bunratty website