A little late on the scene following the antics of the World Championship qualifiers during the weekend and the subequent Last 32 draw yesterday but the latest National Senior event finished in Carlow on Sunday.
Brendan O’Donoghue won his second Irish ranking title in a row with a 5-0 drubbing of John Sutton in the final while Nenagh’s David Hogan fired in the first competitive maximum break domestically for a decade.
In the semi-finals Sutton had earlier whitewashed Davy Morris while champion O’Donoghue edged Rodney Goggins in a decider 4-3.
The event was the last of the season before the final 96 do battle to determine who becomes the 2013 National champion.
As always, SnookerHQ’s Johnny ‘Sniper’ Williams was on hand to give his account of the weekend’s play.
“My weekend, as per usual this season, didn’t go to well. I didn’t practice as much as I should have before this event and it showed. If you don’t put into the game what the top players put in, you don’t deserve to get out what the top players get out – it’s as simple as that. I have recently been accepted to do my PDE in University College Dublin and I’ve been way to busy with trying to find teaching placement, sending emails, posting letters and attempting to find work over the summer to practice. I will, however, be putting in a lot more hours for the end of season championships.”
“I played Peter Dunne in my first match and well Peter give me many opportunities to get my cue arm going and I got through the game easily enough with a 3-0 victory. I then played John Sutton, who had a late night in a money match the night before, and well he played like I expected him to play with lack of sleep, which was really poor. I didn’t play great either but he just played terrible in fairness and he will admit it himself.
“I then played one of my regular last 16 men in Brendan O’Donoghue. He beat me easy enough 3-0. When he went one up I was like 55 ahead in the second, missed a very potable red to clinch the frame with the rest and he dished up to win on the black. He had 80, 60 and 50 breaks in the match and looked very, very good. I said to myself that he would go on and win, which he did. He is now two off the all-time total ranking event wins behind Rodney Goggins.
“My hat goes off to John Sutton, who played so bad against me, and, as it was a double elimination competition, got back in the back door and buzzed for the rest of the comp. He got to the final, showing real determination. Sutton has a love-hate relationship with the game, especially if things aren’t going his way he hates it, but he is super talented and when he actually tries he is very hard to beat. He defeated both Davids Hogan and Morris on the way to the final, 4-1 and 4-0 respectively. He has a great head-to-head record against Morris over the years.
“Although Brendan won the event, the star of the show for me was David Hogan this time around. A 147 max break, his first in tournament play, after him having one in practice a few days previous, then to follow-up with a 143 and 129, was just epic scoring.
“The venue was perfect and the tables were fast. As people would say it’s the same conditions for everyone and, bar a few rolls on the odd table, the venue was faultless and the event was run very smoothly.
“On a final note we did only get 44 entries. Three pulled out on the day, so being left with 41 entries for a ranking tournament is just awfully poor. I, for the life of me, can’t put my finger on the reason why. There are many explanations out there but one is as good as the other. I myself am going with the recession and the costs it takes for people to travel long distances to events with petrol and hotels, etc. It would be the only reason I wouldn’t go to an event. Yet, I haven’t missed one all season, I drive and am now unemployed!
“My goal at the start of the season was to finish top 5 and this is not now possible. I then wanted to qualify for the Home Nations team and now this might be a step too far depending on the championships. I’m due a good run and maybe now it will come at the right time. I got to semis of it last year and this year I want to go a step further.”
A massive thanks to Johnny as ever for his excellent insight into the game in Ireland.
And a big congratulations to both Tipperary natives O’Donoghue and Hogan for their achievements at the weekend.