Martin McCrudden won the Irish National Championship for the fourth time on Saturday – a record in the modern era.
The Celbridge potter put the disappointment of failing in his bid to turn professional at Q-School last week behind him by emerging through a tough field at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow.
McCrudden had been one of the favourites to lift the trophy after an excellent season where he collected three of the six ranking titles to finish second in the standings – only just behind Q-Club’s Robert Murphy.
After overcoming Tom O’Driscoll 4-2 in the last 16, McCrudden was rarely seriously tested as he made his way to the final.
He defeated Brendan O’Donoghue, the player he beat to claim his first senior championship in 2001, 5-2 before a 6-3 victory over Rodney Goggins earned him his final berth.
A 106 century break was then the highlight as he overcame the challenge of defending champion Michael Judge with a 7-3 triumph, in doing so bagging his third title in six seasons.
In Q-School, McCrudden had reached the penultimate round of the first event before being narrowly ousted by returning pro Zhang Anda.
This triumph, though, will surely be of some consolation as he reiterates his status as one of the country’s best players.
Another who can lay claim to that is the world and European under-21 runner-up Josh Boileau.
The 18 year-old, who has a bright future in the sport, got his hands on some silverware after beating Charlie Sweeney for the National Under-19 crown – compiling runs of 108, 102 and 93 in a dominant 4-0 victory.
Sweeney himself had earlier won the Under-16 category.