Ireland’s representatives at the World Under 21 Snooker Championship suffered a catastrophic day in Montreal yesterday as all four players crashed out.
After easing through the round-robin stage of the event in the opening week, the quartet of Vincent Muldoon, Greg Casey, David Cassidy and Jason Devaney would all have felt confident of progressing further.
For the first three, things appeared to be going well with a trio of victories in the Last 32.
Muldoon, third seed following the lengthy group stages, made light work of Jurian Heusdens of Belgium 5-1 while Cassidy and Casey – who knocked in a 108 century break during his encounter – also enjoyed relatively comfortable successes.
Senior, Under-21 and Under-19 National champion Devaney was the only member of the quartet to flounder in the opening knock-out round when he lost 5-3 to Israel’s Shahar Ruberg.
However, his countrymen joined him on the flight back home later in the day when the remaining trio surprisingly crashed out in the Last 16.
Muldoon, perhaps the most disappointing of all the defeats having appeared to have continued on from the form that saw the Galway potter reach the final of recent European Championship, was edged out in a decider to Northern Ireland’s Declan Brennan.
Cassidy suffered a similar 5-4 loss, albeit against a formidable opponent in second seed Nick Jenkings of England, while Casey’s run ended with a 5-2 defeat to former Chinese professional Zhang Anda.
The results will go a long way in proving the strength and depth there is in the amateur game ranging from a variety of different nations and one only has to look at the quarter-final line up to realise the quality on show.
It is a shame for the young players that they could not have gone further in the tournament but the experience should stand them in good stead in the near future – particularly if they have ambitions of entering Q-School towards the end of the season.
As for the final eight in Canada, four ex-professionals in Anda, countryman Li Hang, Thai duo Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon and Noppon Saengkham are joined by third Thailand cueist Akani Songsermsawad, Jennings, Brennan and Welshman Duane Jones.