Rodney Goggins has won his first ranking event of the season after beating Ryan Cronin to lift the Irish Masters cup in Carlow.
Goggins, usually a regular at the business end of tournaments in recent years, had struggled to reach the latter rounds at the beginning of this season before signs in recent times of a resurgence to top form.
The Liam Mellows club player reached the last four in January’s Premier Cup, losing to eventual champion Michael Judge, and he recorded some excellent victories at the Ivy Rooms this weekend to land the fifth ranking event of the campaign.
Goggins saw off Cork’s Greg Casey in the last 16 before a 3-0 whitewash win over national champion Brendan O’Donoghue.
In the semi-finals, Goggins edged Philip Browne, one of the most improved players this season, 4-2 before repeating the trick against Cronin in the final.
Cork’s Cronin, a recent runner-up in the All-Ireland Club Championship alongside his Crucible teammates, can also lay claim to being the player who has made the most strides forward during this campaign – especially now after reaching his first ranking event final.
He’ll undoubtedly be disappointed that his run ended in defeat but victories over Josh Boileau and Jason Devaney will stand him in good stead ahead of the upcoming European Championship in Poland.
Devaney, also flying to Wroclaw next week, compiled the highest break with a run of 102.