Robert Murphy won his second title of the season in the fifth Irish Premier Tour event in Carlow at the weekend.
It was a tough test all the way for Murphy, who enjoyed early wins over Greg Casey and Colm Gilcreest before being taken the distance in his semi-final encounter with reigning Senior National champion Michael Judge.
Murphy also needed all seven frames in a thrilling final, where he managed to come out on top in a 4-3 triumph over Martin McCrudden.
The victory ensures that Murphy has now opened up a healthy gap at the top of the Irish rankings – with 100 points now separating him and McCrudden.
Celbridge’s McCrudden has also won two tournaments but the difference has been Murphy’s appearance in two further finals, as well as a semi-final in the campaign’s opening event.
It continues a great run of success for Murphy, who was also a member of the winning All-Ireland Club Championship team with Q Club Wicklow.
It wasn’t the best of weekends for SnookerHQ‘s Philip Browne, as he went out in the opening round, but the Roadstone potter was still on hand to give his account of the weekend’s action.
“There were only 25 players in the tournament. I lost 3-1 to an in-form Andy McCloskey in the Last 32. I didn’t play well and he dominated most of the game and deserved his win. He then went on to beat John Sutton to reach the quarter-finals, only to lose there to club mate David Hogan.
“The shock of the first round was Mark Owens beating Rodney Goggins 3-1. Owens also got to the quarter-finals but ended up losing 3-1 to Martin McCrudden.
“There were no surprises in the semi-final line up as the top four ranked players squared off. Robert Murphy beat Q Club teammate Mick Judge 4-3 and Martin McCrudden beat David Hogan 4-3 in a pair of entertaining encounters.
“The final was between the top two players Murphy and McCrudden, both of whom are in really good form right now. It’s the third time in four tournaments they squared off in the final. Robert appeared to be in control when he opened up a 3-0 lead but Martin fought back to 3-3 to force a nervy decider. Robert eventually stole the last frame on the black to win the tournament 4-3 and congratulations to him.”
Irish Rankings Top 5
1. Robert Murphy
2. Martin McCrudden
3. David Hogan
4. Michael Judge
5. Jason Devaney