He debuted on 15th August 2017, outrunning Sarah Capperauld 83 – 30. He achieved a further seven clear victories with an octototal of 793 points and a high score of 120, showing exceptional skill on the numbers rounds, where, when solving his preferred four-large selections, he frequently ascended into intermediate totals in the thousands or tens of thousands before dividing down again. During his heat run he thrashed previous Series 26 semi-finalist Chris Feetenby, winning 96 – 21.
He eventually returned for the Series 77 finals in December as the #4 Seed. There, he faced by coincidence, another Apterite, Irishman and teacher, Eoin Jackson who was the #5 Seed. The quarter-final game he played was a very close one, with both of them managing to spot two niners, LOCALISES and MONRADITE in the process. However, it was him who just won by two points with a score of 111 – 109 after the crucial conundrum, SUSIFENNT was left unsolved. McIlvenny then appeared in the immediately following game, his semi-final against #1 prospect Tom Chafer-Cook, and while he made a strong score of 83 here, it proved to simply not be enough against Chafer-Cook as the latter achieved the highest score of the series and ultimately came in just one point short of a max game. However, he showed off his numbers skill one last time on the final numbers round before bowing out in his only defeat to date.
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Guest||Lex||Max|
|6645||15/08/2017||P||Sarah Capperauld||30 – 83||Noel McIlvenny||Barry McGuigan||Susie Dent||134|
|6646||16/08/2017||P||Noel McIlvenny||100 – 53||Andrew Smithies||Barry McGuigan||Susie Dent||155|
|6647||17/08/2017||P||Noel McIlvenny||96 – 21||Chris Feetenby||Barry McGuigan||Susie Dent||134|
|6648||18/08/2017||P||Noel McIlvenny||109 – 54||Paul Collins||Barry McGuigan||Susie Dent||132|
|6649||21/08/2017||P||Noel McIlvenny||100 – 61||Mike Browning||Barry McGuigan||Susie Dent||144|
|6650||22/08/2017||P||Noel McIlvenny||93 – 16||Ben Parker||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||140|
|6651||23/08/2017||P||Noel McIlvenny||120 – 36||Neil Harvey||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||146|
|6652||24/08/2017||P||Noel McIlvenny||92 – 44||Gary Shacklady||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||127|
|6733||19/12/2017||QF||Noel McIlvenny||111 – 109||Eoin Jackson||Rufus Hound||Susie Dent||142|
|6734||20/12/2017||SF||Tom Chafer-Cook||134 – 83||Noel McIlvenny||Rufus Hound||Susie Dent||135|