Irish Snooker

Irish Juniors Claim Celtic Challenge

Following on from the recent success of their senior counterparts, the Irish juniors have followed suit with some glory of their own.

Inspired by Josh Boileau’s achievement of reaching both the final of the World and European Under-21 Championships, not to mention Mark Tuite’s stunning capture of the European Masters Championship only a couple of weeks ago, the Irish Junior team last weekend sealed victory in the Celtic Challenge against Wales.

The 2014 winning team - photo courtesy of PJ Nolan.

The 2014 winning team – photo courtesy of PJ Nolan.

Ireland had not won the annual tournament since 2009, which perhaps reflected some of the problems surrounding the grass-roots of the sport in that period.

However, there have been a lot of improvements to the structure of the game at underage levels in the last year, a significant portion of which has been overseen by regular SnookerHQ features writer Fin Ruane.

Despite the success of David Morris on the Main Tour last season, the last decade or so has not been the most fruitful professionally.

Ireland has continued to produce plenty of quality players who have performed well on the amateur scene but then most of these have ultimately failed on the pro circuit.

It is therefore vital for these juniors to gain as much experience, and experience of winning at that, from as early an age as possible.

Of course, not all of these youngsters will go on to a higher level and some are merely competing for the sheer fun of the game.

Yet, there will undoubtedly be a few who will have the ability and talent to continue on to the next level.

At just 18, Kildare’s Boileau has proven that hard work and dedication from a young age can pay off and who knows what further success he may achieve in the future.

One would think that his international experience as a teenager will stand him in good stead once the almost inevitable leap into the pro ranks is made.

So while the Celtic Challenge, featuring two competitions between the respective Under-14 and Under-16 camps, may go under the radar somewhat, the importance of it and other tournaments like it should not be overlooked, and congratulations must go to all the young boys taking part.

The full report and list of players who competed can be viewed on the RIBSA website by clicking 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.