Joe Delaney jumped up to second in the Irish rankings after winning the seventh Senior ranking event of the season in Navan.
Delaney put the disappointment of being dumped out of the World Championship qualifying in the early rounds well and truly behind him with a 5-3 victory over Robert Redmond in the final.
The former Main Tour stalwart had also enjoyed comfortable triumphs over Philip Browne, David Cassidy and number 1 player Rodney Goggins to reach the final as he overtakes Brendan O’Donoghue in the standings – the Nenagh man choosing not to make the trip to County Meath.
Dublin’s Redmond, reaching his first final of the season, enjoyed wins over John Sutton and last season’s National champion Jason Devaney.
SHQ’s Johnny Williams had backed up his run to the last four in the last event with a solid quarter-final showing this time around and remains in the top 8 in the rankings.
The Maynooth captain, as always, was at hand to give his thoughts on the tournament as well as the decision by World Snooker to withdraw the nomination for a professional Tour card to the top ranked amateur in the country.
“For me, the tournament went well as I had a tough draw. Cathal Dunne, who I play with in Maynooth, didn’t really play up to his potential so I managed to get through that one easily enough. I knew my last 16 match against Josh Boileau was going to be a battle. Josh played amazingly to beat Mark Tuite in the previous round with a couple of 70 breaks and an 80 in the decider. I went 1 -0 up with a good clearance, then Josh didn’t miss too many in the next two frames to go 2-1 ahead and had a long pink to beat me but missed it and I was able to level to force a decider. In the final frame I played a safety behind the blue early on but thought I left a red on. To my luck the blue rolled back a half-inch and rested on the white, Josh left me in from his escape and I made a good 50+ game. The table lost Josh the game really as he was the better player.”
“In the last 8 it was Rodney Goggins. I have never really played anyone like Rodney before – he is just the most solid and consistent person on the circuit which is kind of intimidating even when you’re feeling confident which I do for most games. He never misses anything easy. I only took the first frame due to him playing a few bad safeties in a row, after that I honestly don’t remember being left in the balls to score. He went 3-1 up and 60 odd ahead, I then made a 30 break to leave 30 in it with one red left. I put him in a snooker, he came off two cushions, hit the red and it went in the middle – game over. However, had it not went in, it was just delaying the inevitable in my opinion as he was playing too strongly.
“Rodney puts in a lot of practice and it really shows come competition time. Joe Delaney is just a pure legend, when he is in form nothing seems to faze him, no one scares him and he is full of confidence. Lately, he has got the better of Rodney as he knows his game inside out from their amateur days together. I watched a few of Joe’s games and even though he wasn’t at his best he did what he needed to win and didn’t miss anything easy. I didn’t see his semi or final but from what I heard he was very strong. You don’t win a senior ranking event by not playing near your best.
“Players who caught my eye this weekend were Josh Boileau again and Jason Devaney. Jason had many big breaks over the weekend and played really well to beat Vincent Muldoon. Josh is one of the most laid back players I’ve ever seen and I love that about him. He strolls around the table as if he’s in his pyjamas on a sunday afternoon. But for me the player of the weekend was Robbie Redmond – he too is a very calm and collected player and reached his first final for a while. He is one of the best break builders in the Irish game, and from what I heard all his yoga and pilates are doing him the world of good.
“All in all, though, I was very disappointed with the turn out this weekend again. Something like 38 players turned up with 13 pulling out last-minute and something needs be done. From what I understand the entire structure is being changed next season and I also heard all the comps will be back in Carlow which I agree with because at present its tables are by far the best and most consistent and the location is more central. This year just did not work and numbers were at an all time low.
“As for my opinion on World Snooker taking away the Main Tour spot for Ireland and the UK, at first I thought it was a disgrace. However, then I heard they would offer the top two eligible players a place in the Q-School and for me this is a great thing. I think it would be very hard for an Irish amateur to adjust to the pro circuit and stay on first time around. The Q-School is full of ex pros and amazing talent and if you can’t make it out of there, well, I don’t think you deserve to be on the Main Tour. It would just cost you too much with nothing in return also.
“So for me, overall I’m not bothered about the Main Tour spot. I will try my very best to earn a place in the Q-School next season as I am a bit behind in the rankings on this occasion. From what I heard the players going will be Joe Delaney and either Robert Redmond or Keith Sheldreck. Even if I had been offered a spot, due to financial difficulties I would have had to turn it down but whoever does go will be very strong over there.”
Thanks again to Johnny for his excellent input on the Irish scene and good luck to him and all the players as the season comes to a conclusion in May.
Current 2011/12 Irish Senior Rankings Top 10
1. Rodney Goggins – 820
2. Joe Delaney – 690
3. Brendan O’Donoghue – 680
4. Vincent Muldoon – 640
5. Greg Casey – 510
6. Keith Sheldreck – 500
7. Robert Redmond – 490
8. Johnny Williams – 470
9. Jason Devaney – 460
10. John Sutton – 450