Michael Judge left it late before adding a second ranking title this season to rise into the top five of the Irish Senior rankings.
Judge, who was on the professional Main Tour as recently as two years ago surged into an early 3-0 lead against David Morris in last night’s final.
The Dubliner squandered the advantage and trailed his 24 year-old opponent 4-3 but forced a decider and managed to retrieve a 51 point deficit in the final frame to take the glory on the pink.
Amazingly, it is Kilkenny’s Morris’ first ever defeat in a ranking event final.
38 year-old Judge had earlier come through another tense finale in his 4-3 victory over Robert Murphy while Morris eased passed current no.1 David Hogan 4-1 in his last four clash.
Johnny Williams was pipped by Brendan O’Donoghue in a close last 32 tie but the ‘Sniper’ was again on hand to give his account of proceedings at Celbridge Snooker Club.
“This tournament was a seeded group tournament, something we have played before and something to be honest I don’t really mind as you get plenty of games and chances to get your arm going. However, it’s not without its flaws. It was pointed out to me at the weekend that, as the draw is pre-determined, it is very easy for people to lose a game on purpose and finish second in their group if they would prefer to play a certain player from another group more so than if they finished top.”
“For me I played really well in the group stages. I had good wins over John Torpey, Brendan Thomas and Phil Martin, but typical of how my year is going snooker wise, Brendan O’Donoghue only finished second in his group which meant instead of a possible last 16 clash we met in the last 32. I went 2-0 up and Brendan looked all over the place, I was playing good solid match snooker and Brendan and I usually have good close games. I had chances to win 3-0 in fairness and didn’t take them. When he got a scrappy third frame on the board it looked like he got a little boost of confidence and he started to score better in the next two. A bad safety shot on the last yellow in the deciding frame cost me the match in the end.
“I feel this season has just gotten away from me at this stage, and it’s all what ifs and buts now. I still think I can go far in one of these comps but getting early hard draws like I’ve been getting thus far has proved to be my Achilles heel. I’ve beaten nearly every top player so it’s not as if I don’t have the game, just lacking some confidence and a little bit of luck.
“Two standout people apart from the norm this weekend were Christopher Humphries and James Fennessy, both growing in confidence extremely quickly, and very tricky opponents to meet at any stage of the event even for the top players. Both score really well. They are without a doubt my two people to watch out for next season.
“The venue was top drawer as per usual. Good fast clothes, the pockets are big on most tables but sure it makes for bigger scores and more easy on the eye snooker. The cloths were running really fast, as for rolls on tables I got the same table the whole event so I couldn’t really comment. I heard no complaints from any of the players anyway. Not to mention I live five minutes away from the club and went home to watch the football after my group matches so I was happy.
“One complaint made to me was the fact that the groups were all played in turns, which meant for some people they were waiting an entire six hours between the groups and their last 32 knockout matches which in truth is just a bit much. They suggested playing one half right through and then the next half right through.
“Morris is a class act, had great performances in Killarney and is continuing his great run of form after his last senior ranking event win. I really hope he comes to Maynooth and gets the scholarship for my benefit as well as his. Judge is also another class act. Both of them are recently off the main tour and adapting to the amateur ranks very nicely it seems, just goes to show on top form these lads are a step above the rest of us. Hogan will maintain is number one spot and in fairness he is very consistent this season and will be very hard caught at this stage in my opinion. But the finish to the season will be exciting no doubt.”
Follow Johnny on Twitter – @TheSniper147
Irish Rankings after Event 5
1. David Hogan – 580
2. Josh Boileau – 480
3. Robert Murphy – 480
4. David Morris – 450
5. Michael Judge – 420