Three of Ireland’s five-man team have made it through to the last 32 in the European Under-21 Championship in Romania.
All five players advanced relatively comfortably past the round-robin phase that took place over the last few days but two have this morning been defeated in the first round of the knockout stages.
20 year-old Ryan Cronin was dumped by Polish player Grzegorz Biernadski 4-1 while 16 year-old Stephen Bateman, who won four out of his five matches in his group, lost 4-0 to Dominik Scherubl.
The remaining three are still gunning for European glory, though, with the field to be whittled down to the final eight by the end of today’s play.
Josh Boileau, the 18 year-old who many predict could have a very bright future in the game, arguably lucked out in his draw as he came up against Belgium’s Sybren Sokolowski – only 12.
Boileau, twice a runner-up in Irish ranking events last season but enduring a quiet campaign this time around, had far too much for the not yet teenager, beating him 4-0 to set up a clash with Andreas Ploner this afternoon.
Boileau’s Newbridge CYMS teammate Dan Dempsey needed all seven frames to get past his initial knockout round in a 4-3 thriller and plays Englishman Ashley Carty for a place in the last 16.
Finally, Cork’s David Cassidy, in his last chance in the tournament at 21, faces another English player in relatively unknown quantity Clayton Humphries.
The trio will be hoping for extended runs in the event but face stiff competition from not only their upcoming challenges.
The likes of Scotland’s Rhys Clark, England’s Sanderson Lam and Oliver Lines, Welshmen Jamie Clarke and Duane Jones are still involved, not to mention Polish prodigy Kacper Filipiak, who has only surrendered four frame in the entire tournament so far.
The best of luck to the lads.