Ireland’s Josh Boileau has won the 2016 European Under-21 Championship after a 6-1 victory over Brandon Sargeant in Poland.
The 20 year-old dominated the final to erase the painful memories of his defeat at the same stage to Oliver Lines two years ago – a match in which, somewhat poetically, he lost 6-1.
This year’s showdown began a little nervously, understandably so with the prestigious title at stake.
Both men were seeking to join an illustrious band of names which includes the likes of Mark Allen, Michael White and Luca Brecel – players who won the tournament when it was in its previous Under-19 guise.
Boileau took a lengthy opener before Sargeant leveled to make it one frame apiece.
From there, though, the Kildare cueist began to move through the gears, highlighted by a wonderful 130 century break in the fifth frame sending him three frames clear at the short interval.
While Boileau was brimming with confidence, it was clear that his 18 year-old opponent was beginning to feel the pressure as he struggled to get any momentum going.
Boileau moved 5-1 ahead and, even though he offered Sargeant a couple of opportunities to initiate an unlikely revival, the Irishman potted an excellent final black to seal the triumph.
The success confirms what many people had believed already, that Boileau has a potentially long and bright future in the sport.
He has excelled in the junior scene domestically for years and recently claimed his maiden Irish senior ranking title.
As well as previously finishing runner-up in this European event, he also was a beaten finalist in the 2014 World Under-21 Championship too.
But there was to be no denying Boileau for a third time on the international front, with victory set to provide him with the standard two-year professional Main Tour ticket.
Personally, this is obviously a huge achievement for Boileau but it also marks an important moment for Irish snooker in general and hopefully a feat that can kick start a further revival in fortunes for the game in the country.
Yet, that’s for the future and the now is all about Josh Boileau, a player who has generously written at times on SnookerHQ and who comes across as a very genuine and likable young man.
His attention will now turn to the European Championship itself, which begins today at the same venue in Wroclaw.
Boileau will be attempting to achieve a rare double but the pressure will surely now be off his shoulders.
Good luck to him and the other Irishmen taking part – Michael Judge, Brendan O’Donoghue, Jason Devaney and Ryan Cronin.
But, above all, congratulations!