Irish Snooker

Irish Set for World Under-21s

The IBSF World U-21 Championship gets under way on Saturday with a five-strong Irish team taking part in the United Arab Emirates.

World U21The team, led by European U-21 runner-up Josh Boileau, will be hoping to join an illustrious group of players who have been crowned world amateur champion in the age category.

The likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Peter Ebdon, Marco Fu, Ricky Walden and Liang Wenbo have all emerged victorious in the tournament, not to mention Irish duo Ken Doherty and Rodney Goggins.

Of that pair, Dublin’s Doherty of course went on to become the 1997 professional world champion at the Crucible in Sheffield, while Goggins remains one of the best amateur players on the Irish circuit.

18 year-old Boileau will be the favourite out of the Irish quintet to go far in the competition, but each player will be confident of performing well.

Joining the Kildare cueist on the plane to Al Fujairah are Daniel Dempsey, David Cassidy, Stephen Bateman and Daniel O’Regan.

Josh Boileau

Josh Boileau

Having gone all the way to the final of the European Under-21s in Romania, Boileau will be hopeful of going one better this time around as he attempts to conquer the world.

In Boileau’s round-robin group is a familiar foe in Welshman Tom Rees, who he ousted at the quarter-final stage in Bucharest at the end of March.

Boileau’s CYMS Newbridge club teammate Dempsey has the 2011 world amateur champion Hossein Vafeai Ayouri in his group

The Iranian should actually already have had an opportunity on the Main Tour prior to this only for visa troubles to scupper his chances, while he actually spends much of his time practicing on the Emerald Isle.

Cork’s Crucible club will also have two of their players represented in the Middle East as David Cassidy and Daniel O’Regan begin their challenges.

Cassidy was another player who had a good run in the Euros, eventually being edged out by overall winner Oliver Lines in the last four.

In O’Regan’s group is Chinese danger man Zhao Xintong, who was runner-up in the 2013 IBSF World Championship in Latvia.

Finally, 16 year-old Stephen Bateman contests his second major international tournament in as many months and he’ll be hoping to repeat his excellent performance in the European Under-21s, where he managed to progress from his group into the knockout phase.

With 79 participants involved the competition will be fierce throughout as they all bid for not only the glory of being crowned the world’s best, but also the potential opportunity of gaining an invitation onto the professional circuit.

As yet, this is unconfirmed but it has generally worked this way in the past.

Other names to look for include England’s Sam Harvey and Germany’s Lukas Kleckers, as well as the Chinese, Thai and Hong Kong contingent who tend to always be strong.

Somewhat surprisingly, South Korea has a player competing – Daegyu Lee – and I might attempt to get an interview with him upon my return to the country in the summer.

Follow the World Under-21 Championship here.

 



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.