The third Irish ranking event of the season took place last weekend with Josh Boileau grabbing his first Senior success in the President’s Cup.
The week prior, the young cueist from Kildare had lost in the rescheduled final of the Irish Open to Michael Judge, but there was no stopping the 20 year-old on this occasion as he moved to the top of the rankings table.
It’s nice to see Boileau finally capture his maiden silverware in the main draw having been so successful in the underage categories for many years.
In the final, Boileau edged former national champion Jason Devaney, who had previously ended an impressive tournament for Jonathan Williams in the last four.
The ‘Sniper’ is again on hand to give his excellent insight into how the action unfolded at The Ivy Rooms in Carlow on Saturday and Sunday…
By Jonathan Williams
The tournament for me was, in one word, shocking! At times I was shocked by how badly I was playing and on other occasions I was surprised by how well I was playing. It was just a weekend of many shocks!
Even before the tournament started I did not feel well at all. It’s not that I was sick but I just I didn’t feel right. Once again, a minimal amount of practice and just a few personal issues both combined to make me not want to be there in the beginning.
I played the legend that is Dessie Sheehan in my first match and I brought him right down to my level and capitalised on his odd mistake. I think my highest break in that match was 61, but before and after that break it was 10. For some reason my body just had the shakes and it wasn’t due to nerves on this occasion. It was perplexing to say the least.
My second match was against the very nice and highly underrated Liam Brady. In his first tournament he was unlucky to lose to David Hogan as I watched the full match. I took nothing for granted against Liam and he moved into a very quick 2-0 lead with a high break of 58.
On the other hand I missed a handful of chances and got very angry at myself, something I dont usually do. I was just playing so badly that I wanted it all to end quickly and get home. Liam had a very easy chance to beat me 3-1 with the pink and black left on the table and luckily enough for me he missed his chance and I cleared to go 2-2. I knew he would probably feel he missed his chance and let his head drop so I knew I had to play a solid last frame ,which I did in the end but it was still nowhere near good enough.
My last 16 match was against a dude called Philip O’Connor who had a great win over John O’Sullivan. Admittedly, I had never seen him play before but I was very impressed and he should be playing in a lot more of the tournaments – especially in Intermediate where I think he could win a few titles.
I decided to change my game and just go for my shots. I played at my usual fast pace and by now my shakes were gone as I had a good meal. Philip was also a very fast player and it was just shot for shot until I took slight control towards the end of the deciding frame and managed to clinch it, again 3-2.
My next match was the biggest shock of all. Nobody expected me to beat Michael Judge, but as it turned out I don’t remember playing as well before in Carlow. Well, other than the last time I beat Mick during the All-Ireland team qualifiers. I played pretty decent that day, so I knew I had it in me.
He said after the match, “I didn’t know you could play that well.” I replied, “neither did I.” That says it all really. I don’t remember missing a ball and still only triumphed 3-2, which goes to show his class.
My final encounter was the semi-final against Jason Devaney. Jason and I don’t play each other a lot but the last two or three times we have he has beaten me, and he is a great player in fairness.
My preparation for a 9am match and travelling from Dublin was not as good as it should be and I’ll say nothing more on the matter. Jason was the better player, I missed some glorious chances and he deserved his final spot.
There were a few interesting talking points from the tournament it has to be said. The first being the never-ending early exits of one of the best players in the country, Martin McCrudden. I think Martin is like myself, very much a confidence player and needs to get a few matches under his belt before he starts to buzz. Lately he has been running into tricky opponents early on and not getting that chance, and like me again I don’t think he is putting in the time and effort that he used to because if he was he would be unstoppable.
Another notable moment was the 147 attempt by Martin’s lover and best friend in TJ Dowling. I noticed he was on a max when he was on 88 and I put down my cue and continued to watch. It looked like nothing could go wrong until he played a very poor shot on the last black and left himself almost dead straight. He couldn’t get himself close to the final yellow and, as a result, left himself a long yellow the length of the table which he missed in the end. A shame really because the break looked so effortless up until then.
The standout moment of the whole weekend, though, was Josh picking up his first senior ranking title. It was been a long time coming and with his class, commitment and talent it was certainly overdue. I watched his semi-final and he looked very impressive. He is number one in the rankings now and rightly so. I think he will stay there this season and hopefully help Ireland win a few international titles.
Overall I am very pleased with my weekend. I played excellent in patches. My ranking is increasing all the time and I am in a firm position to get a spot on the Home Internationals team next year which was one of my goals this season along with making my first ranking event final. Despite my current lack of dedication and commitment I am very happy with being joint fifth in the rankings at present.
Until next time, Sniper over and out!