Irish Snooker

Irish Scene: Goggins Beats O’Donoghue in Carlow

Rodney Goggins extended his lead at the top of the Irish rankings after a 5-1 victory over nearest challenger Brendan O’Donoghue in the sixth Senior ranking event of the season in Carlow.

Wexford’s Goggins won the opening title back in October and has never failed to reach at least the semi-final stage in each of the subsequent five events.

His second triumph denied O’Donoghue the opportunity of back-to-back trophies and ensured that he holds on to the number one spot in the rankings list having seen his advantage whittled down last month.

Goggins’ consistency, and O’Donoghue’s for that matter, has meant that the pair will more than likely be the only contenders to be top dog in Ireland for the 2011/12 campaign.

Third ranked Vincent Muldoon was defeated in the quarter-finals and fellow former pro Joe Delaney decisively let a 3-1 lead over Goggins slip to lose 4-3 in the semi-finals and all but end the Dubliner’s hopes of returning to the Main Tour via this route.

In the other last four clash, O’Donoghue reeled off three frames in a row to beat Johnny Williams 4-2, the latter enjoying a good run to reach the semi-finals of a ranker for the first time this season.

As ever, the ‘Sniper’ was on hand to offer insight into another busy weekend of action in the Irish scene and here’s what Williams had to say on his own performance, Goggins and Irish snooker in general.

“I started off very poorly against George Tierney which is always the way in my first games to be honest but I came through it and beat Glen Doyle in a scrappy match to reach the last 16. There, I knew I was up against it with Keith Sheldreck and I thought he was the better player but we never seem to play without it going to deciders lately. I won eventually, an ugly win but I am due some luck in the rankings. My quarter-final game was with my practice partner Vinnie Muldoon, I knew even though he had not been practicing he had just knocked in a 124 break and I would have to be on top form. I won the first two frames with good breaks aided by a bit of luck, Vinnie took a good third frame but I knew he was a little below par and I was cueing well. I won a good last frame and just played really well to deservedly win in the end 4-1. It was a nice bit of pay back.

“The semi-final against Brendan started off well and I had a 50 in the first, then he had a good 60 clearance in the second but I had another 55 in the third to go 2-1 up. The fourth frame, though, changed the game. I was on 36, balls opened nicely and was directly behind a red rolling into the middle for the pink in the corner and it rolled off about half an inch. Brendan took that frame with a 50 clearance and I was so annoyed at what had happened that my match was lost from there. It’s very annoying being my first semi this season and Brendan admitted after that I had been the better player. I never like to blame a table but on this occasion there was no other reason – I was playing too good.

“Joe Delaney went 3-1 up against Rodney in the other semi-final but yet again “The Machine” went into over drive. He never really looked like losing from 3-1 down and came out victorious 4-3. There is nothing more I can say about Rodney other than he is the most solid, consistent player I’ve ever witnessed in the ranking events, he never goes for the wrong shot and never gives up.

“The race is still on between Goggins and O’Donoghue  but if I’m being totally honest I can’t see Brendan catching Rodney after today’s result – especially with Rodney being so consistent. O’Donoghue is a phenomenal player too, he is also very consistent and his match play is amazing, but Rodney has the lead now and with 2 events left I can’t see him being caught.

“I have been told that if Goggins gets the number 1 spot he isn’t going to take the professional Main Tour spot which I have mixed feeling about. If the spot is awarded to the runner-up in the rankings then that’s all well and good but I think maybe he is taking away the opportunity for someone who wants to have a go on the Main Tour. I think he is good enough to give it another go (having already played as a pro in the 2007/8 season). On the other hand, if people can’t beat him here some people would maybe argue that they don’t deserve the spot and if they can’t finish number 1 in Ireland they won’t last long on the pro circuit – this has some merit. I have not actually asked Rodney what his goal is for this season and why he plays if he doesn’t want the spot but I can only assume it’s for qualification for the World Amateurs . It’s definitely not money orientated as the prize money for snooker in Ireland is shocking. 

“I got €65 for a semi-final myself which is not great. However, I play for the love of the game and to progress my own game and maybe one day go further in the game, my time will come.

“That said, snooker all over the world is getting very big but if the number of entrants in this ranking event is anything to go by it’s diminishing in this country and that is a real shame. Something drastic has to happen. In my own opinion and even though their tables cost me my first final spot today, Carlow is the best snooker club in Ireland and I was never in favour of the comps moving around the country. Conditions are well below par in every club I have been to this season but that’s only my opinion. Carlow has quick cloths, steel back cushions and proper air conditioning when needed – if only they could level the tables properly!”

Once again a big thank you to Johnny for some very informative insight into this weekend’s tournament and the sport here in Ireland more generally.

The full results for this event can be viewed by clicking here.

Current 2011/12 Irish Senior Rankings Top 10

1. Rodney Goggins – 720

2. Brendan O’Donoghue – 680

3. Vincent Muldoon – 560

4. Joe Delaney – 540

5. Greg Casey – 450

6. Keith Sheldreck – 440

7. John Sutton – 390

8. Johnny Williams – 390

9. Mark Tuite – 380

10. Robert Redmond – 370



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.