Vincent Muldoon continued his excellent progress in the European Snooker Championship with two 5-2 victories ensuring his passage through to the semi-finals.
The Galway potter, who studies and practices in NUI Maynooth, outplayed countryman Robert Murphy in the last 16 to put an end to his fellow Irishman’s quest for a Main Tour place.
In the quarter-finals, Muldoon failed to find his top form and looked in deep trouble when, at 2-0 behind, his opponent Bobby Cruickshanks needed only the brown to open up what could have been an insurmountable three frame cushion.
However, the Scot rattled the brown in the jaws of the green pocket and Muldoon cleared to the black to mount his charge to the winning line.
Two breaks over 70 put a slight gloss on the performance but he will need to up his game if he has aspirations of making it beyond the last four, where he will meet top seed Martin O’Donnell.
The 25 year-old Englishman came from 3-1 behind against Scott Donaldson – Irish cueist Martin McCrudden’s nemesis in the last 32 – to sneak a 5-4 triumph with a 50 break in the decider.
In the bottom half of the draw, two Welshman fought their way through the opposition.
Indeed, Daniel Wells and Lee Walker made light work of the challenges they faced in the quarter-finals with both securing a brace of 5-1 victories over Adam Duffy and Kevin van Hove respectively.
With all four remaining players coming from either Britain or Ireland, it is perhaps a little disappointing that some of the other continental European contingent could not put up a bigger challenge this year.
That said, the quality is very high. Of the four semi-finalists, only O’Donnell has never contested the professional Main Tour and will surely be desperate to win the event, therefore sealing the final available spot for next season.
However, experience may come into the equation with Lee Walker, in particular, boasting a quarter-final appearance at the World Championship in the past – although that was a significant 14 years ago.
22 year-old Wells is already assured of his place on the Main Tour for 2011/12 having topped the Welsh rankings which may reduce the tension as he looks to win what he hopes will be the last amateur championship he competes in.
Coverage of the semi-finals and the final over the next two days can be viewed by clicking here. All three matches should be streamed live via that link.