Irish Snooker

Irish National Championship Commences This Weekend

The 2015 Irish National Championship gets under way today at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow.

Martin McCrudden with the trophy after his 2014 success - photo courtesy of Ivy Rooms Carlow.

Martin McCrudden with the trophy after his 2014 success – photo courtesy of Ivy Rooms Carlow.

93 hopefuls have entered this year in an attempt to come away with the coveted title in just over three weeks.

The Finals weekend takes place from the 22nd to the 24th of May but first the field must be whittled down to the last 16.

Most of the big names who featured throughout this campaign are gunning for domestic glory, while there are a couple of notable names returning for a shot at prizing away the trophy from the regular ranking event competitors.

Top seed Rodney Goggins must be considered the favourite after a season which saw his worst return out of the seven tournaments being a sole semi-final appearance.

The 147 Wexford cueist won three titles and finished runner-up on a hat-trick of other occasions – twice to prime rival Brendan O’Donoghue.

Both have been seeded through to the last 64 stage and, along with the rest of the top 16 ranked players, require a brace of victories to qualify for the showdown at the end of month.

Third seed Michael Judge, who won also two tournaments this year, has been handed a potentially difficult draw as the Dubliner could come up against returning defending champion Martin McCrudden in the last 32.

McCrudden won his fourth national crown twelve months ago – a record in the modern era – before walking away from the tour following the controversial changes made to the structure that saw half of the prize fund kept by RIBSA for international jaunts.

Another interesting name in the draw is that of twice runner-up David Hogan, with the ex professional having also taken a sabbatical from the sport in the recent season.

Meanwhile, Jason Devaney, who beat Hogan in the 2011 final, has 1993 champion Colm Gilcreest for company in his section of the draw.

The first eight places will be decided on Saturday with the remainder of the spots settled on Sunday.

Once again, though, the Finals weekend clashes with Q-School, the annual competition for Main Tour places, which means the likes of TJ Dowling and Josh Boileau are recognisable absentees from the draw.

Why this keeps happening year after year after year simply beggars belief!

The full draw for the Championship can be viewed here.

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