A few days late, but congratulations to Robert Murphy who won the third Premier Tour event of the season – The Presidents Cup – in the Ivy Rooms in Carlow last Sunday.
Murphy had a tough route to the title, with talented youngster Dan Dempsey and former professional Rodney Goggins early challengers before seeing off Colm Gilcreest in the semi-final and defending National champion Michael Judge in the final.
Murphy’s bout with Judge was, as what would have been expected, a very tight affair with the former just edging it in a decider 4-3.
It’s Murphy’s first trophy this season and his victory ensured that he went one better than in event two, where he placed runner-up to Martin McCrudden.
McCrudden was a surprising 3-0 loser at the hands of Dubliner Philip Browne in the last 32 while another notable early casualty was John Sutton, who was felled 3-1 by Colvin O’Brien.
Johnny ‘Sniper’ Williams withdrew from the event at the last minute but has still taken time to offer his views on the event as the Irish campaign approached the midway mark.
“Well, the two notable upsets are obviously Philip Browne beating Martin McCrudden and Colvin O’Brien edging John Sutton. Philip got his Irish waistcoat last year as an international player and has been one of the most improved players on the circuit this season. He will only get stronger in my opinion. As for Colvin beating John I’m quite surprised to be honest. Colvin is a great potter, but John has one of the best all-round games on the circuit. Fair play to Colvin but he is after retiring a great player in John, who claimed on Facebook that he has quit snooker – although that’s the fifth year in a row!”
“I can hold my hands up and say this time around I didn’t even practice one day before the comp and I was drawn against Josh Boileau, with the winner playing Michael Judge. So I decided not to go as it would be a waste of time and money, and I don’t deserve to knock anyone out like I did in the last event as I’m not putting in the effort. It’s as simple as that really, although I was having a little car trouble also. I was dressed and ready to go, but I ended up randomly playing a few practice frames with Joe Corrigan in Maynooth.”
“It going to be so tight at the top and I will try to make the next event. As long as I stay in the Premier division this season I’ll be happy enough and I’ll be back to full strength next season I hope.”
Sutton was understandably disappointed to have exited the tournament at such an early stage, particularly having reached the final of the first event early in the season, but ‘The Storm’ felt that the winner was a worthy one.
“The third tournament was won by one of the most consistent men of the last 15 years in Robbie Murphy when he beat his team-mate Mick Judge 4-3 in another one of their many battles. The result also puts him and Mick at 1 and 2 respectively in the rankings. As in the first two tournaments, the conditions were perfect and the buzz for a lot of the players is still there.”
“The match of the first round was without doubt the clash between Brendan O’Donoghue and TJ Dowling, which Brendan won 3-1. Although I didn’t see any of the match I can bet it was of a high and tense standard. Colvin O’Brien beat Greg Casey in the first round 3-0 which many would have seen as a shock. Another surprise in the last 32 some might say was Philip Browne beating no.1 seed Martin McCrudden 3-0 to get a bit of revenge for the loss in the last tournament. O’Brien then beat me 3-1. When your opponent plays well and you don’t it’s always a bad combination.”
“So after three tournaments gone we’ve had three different winners and the rankings are still very tight at the top. The standings seem to keep moving every tournament with plenty left to play for and the second half of the season still to come.”
So, well done to Robert Murphy and thankfully no further mention of an impending retirement from Sutton.
I’d like to then take this opportunity to wish him, the ‘Sniper’ and everybody associated with snooker in Ireland a safe and Merry Christmas.
Also, a special congratulations to John, who welcomed a new arrival into the family yesterday. A special gift indeed.
Rankings after Event 3
1) Robert Murphy
2) Michael Judge
3) Jason Devaney
4) David Hogan
5) Rodney Goggins