Rodney Goggins emerged victorious in the first ranking event of the 2014/15 Irish amateur campaign, after an impressive victory over Robert Murphy in Letterkenny.
Murphy raced into a 2-0 lead, helped by a break of 103, but Goggins replied in turn with runs of 106, 95 and 67 to clinch the title with a 4-2 success.
There were a lot of talking points regarding this event, with many unhappy that it was being held away from the normal Ivy Rooms venue in Carlow.
Some of these complaints were justified, although it was encouraging to see quite a lot of unfamiliar names at the latter stage of the tournament – a factor that staging a ranking event around the country is supposed to create.
John Sutton made the trip up to Donegal for what is potentially his one and only event on the Irish season for this year, and he was on hand to give his account of proceedings at the North West Snooker Club.
“The first ranking event was won by Rodney Goggins, who beat Robert Murphy 4-2 in a high-quality final. There were 47 entries for this event with 41 turning up out of the entries and there was a high number of local players.”
“For me, I lost to Tony Seymour in a very low standard match which was not helped by the table we played on but I must say overall the conditions were very good and the staff made us all feel very welcome – we were just unlucky.
“The main talking points before this tournament were half the prize fund being taken out to fund international trips and the tournament being held in Letterkenny which some felt was too far for very little reward.
“The distance nor the lack of prize fund does not bother me and never has done and I don’t like to get involved in the politics of the game, hence why I’ve never made any comments or been to any meeting so it would be unfair of me to comment now.
“However, I know a lot of players are not happy about the prize fund being cut in half and intend on not playing this season. As for me, I won’t be playing anymore ranking events this year as they clash with the pro events.
“Back to the weekend’s snooker and it was great to see a lot of new faces participating and competing that don’t normally enter these tournaments.
“They did very well might I add, but again I’m not sure if they will enter any more as travelling far distances might be too much for them.
“Most notable absentees from the tournament were last season’s number one and current national champion Martin McCrudden, along with David Hogan, Josh boileau and TJ Dowling all deciding against travelling the distance.
“That said, it still had a lot of the top boys with the most consistent two players of the last 10 years getting to the final.
“I’m sure the rest of the season will have many more twists and turns with new faces getting to the latter stages and I would like to wish all the players the best of luck for the season ahead.”