Snooker News

Irish Quartet Progress in Euro U-21

The European Under-21 Championship has been well under way in Serbia this week as four of Ireland’s five-strong man team have already made it to the last 32.

Ryan Cronin, Jason Devaney, Josh Boileau and Anthony Doherty are all through in the knockout phase having safely progressed from the preliminary group stages earlier in the week.

The fifth member, Andy McCloskey, won a couple of matches to get out of his group but the last 64 was as far as the Nenagh native would go.

For the rest, though, it is all to play for still.

The most intriguing tie perhaps is the All-Ireland battle between Dublin’s Doherty and Ryan Cronin from the Crucible Club in Cork.

Cronin demolished his group with five straight-forward victories to the detriment of just the solitary frame to earn himself a straight passage to the second knock-out round.

But Doherty, currently topping the Under-21 rankings back home in Ireland, whitewashed Jesse Huttenen 4-0 to set up the intriguing tie of two players who will know their games inside out having grown up in the game together.

The other duo has their work cut out as well with former Senior, Under-21 and Under-19 National champion Devaney up against talented young Englishman Shane Castle.

Many across the Irish Sea in England are tipping Castle for big things so it will be interesting to see how the contest between two of the most promising lads either side of the pond will fare.

Finally, there’s Boileau – who many on the Emerald Isle are now firmly believing to be the next big hope for a well overdue Irish breakthrough onto the mainstream.

There is a lot of pressure on the Kildare cueist’s shoulders but he has overcome most of those and at the tender age of 17 is placed second behind David Hogan on the current Irish Senior Rankings – an incredible achievement.

Boileau has failed to reach the semi-finals or better in only one of the six tournaments staged in Ireland this season and has been runner-up twice as he eagerly awaits his first piece of silverware – which, if he stays an amateur, is only a matter of time.

But we here at SnookerHQ all hope that he has more ambitious and global desires.

Of course, Boileau will be hoping to win this week and automatically (as has been the case in previous years) receive an invitation onto the professional Main Tour.

But even if he doesn’t, it is likely he will have another crack at Q-School in May after putting in a more than respectable performance at Sheffield in 2012.

Boileau has a lot to overcome before anyone can really be thinking of such matters, though.

Scotland’s Rhys Clark stands between the Newbridge potter and a place in the last 16.

Either way, it has already been a decent tournament for the young Irish. Can one or more of them now go on to make it a memorable one?

The draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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