The 2012/13 Irish Senior amateur season got under way over the weekend as David Hogan returned to these shores with victory in Carlow.
The 24 year-old topped the Irish rankings in 2011, ensuring his return to the professional circuit but the Nenagh man endured a nightmare first half to the last campaign and chose not to enter any of the pro tournaments after the New Year.
However, Hogan wasted little time in finding his feet again on home soil as he destroyed most of his opposition at the Ivy Rooms to grab an early lead at the top of the ranking list.
Under the new round-robin format that is being tested in some ranking events this season, the 2009 European champion topped his group to the loss of only one frame before whitewashing namesake Douglas Hogan to reach the last 16.
Back-to-back victories over former National champions Colm Gilcreest and Davy Morris brought Hogan to the semi-finals, where he wasted little time in hammering Phil Arnold 4-0.
In the final, Hogan saw off the challenge of teenager Josh Boileau 5-1 to claim the first trophy of the season.
17 year-old Boileau himself excelled to reach his maiden Senior final with impressive 4-3 triumphs over Roberts Redmond and Murphy.
Boileau had earlier knocked out SnookerHQ‘s Johnny ‘Sniper’ Williams, who returns once again this season to offer his insight into each event…
“Going into this tournament I felt very confident. I was playing well in practice, scoring heavy and had practice with quality players each day of the week coming up to the comp so I felt sharp. All of that went out the window, though, when I got to Carlow. The groups were a good idea but the length of time it took to run them was a disaster. Any confidence or momentum I had going in that day evaporated.
“I played my first group game at 2pm – each match was best of two frames. I didn’t play my second until 3.30 and my third was at 6.30, so three hours waiting for my game just killed me mentally. I finished my five-man group at 8pm, a whole six hours after it started! For me, this was a shambles. I understand people wanted change, but we wanted a change for the better and for me this just didn’t work. Hopefully the association will learn from this. The tournament went on until 1am on the opening night which I think is a disgrace.
“Another thing that annoyed me was the fact that they played many last 32 matches and last 16 matches hours before groups were finished. They should have finished the groups first and then played all the last 32 together. Some lads were at home in bed by 7 while some of us were finishing off our groups.
“Even though I played badly all day I topped my group. I then drew the short straw and played a very in-form Josh Bolieau. I had my chances in every frame but my cue action and confidence had just left me, I was mentally drained. That’s taking nothing away from Josh because he had his best ever tournament and was obviously in form to make his first ever senior ranking final.
“The two main men of the weekend were no doubt the two finalists. With David Hogan you know what you’re going to get – great safety play, hard match player and a heavy scorer who tries his heart out in every match. He adapted very well after coming from the Main Tour and showed his class over the weekend.
Josh on the other hand is turning into the new wonder kid, something that people have expected off him this season as he is a very talented youngster. I play with him often in Maynooth and his all-round game is just very strong. I have no doubts he is going to be at the top of the Senior rankings for many years to come. He has a great cue action and a great temperament. It’s a fantastic achievement for him making his first Senior final and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he wraps up his first senior title.
“The next competition is in Letterkenny as far as I know. It’s a double elimination and I just hope it runs a lot smoother than it did in Carlow.”
Rankings after Event 1
1. David Hogan – 150
2. Josh Boileau- 120
3. Phil Arnold – 100
= Robert Murphy – 100
5. John Torpey – 80
= Davy Morris – 80
= Robert Redmond – 80
= Jason Devaney – 80