“My name is Josh Boileau and I’m trying to raise money for my snooker career.”
These are the honest words of European under-21 champion Josh Boileau, who is seeking sponsorship ahead of his rookie season on the professional Main Tour.
The 20 year-old’s triumph in Poland earlier this year was hailed as a huge success, for not just him but also Irish snooker in general – which has struggled to produce players of elite level in recent times.
However, while Boileau’s rise might feel like the end of a long battle to join the cream of the crop, in reality the hard work is only just beginning.
With the potential riches that come with plying one’s trade on the pro circuit, there also comes the added pressure of possible failure.
At the outset of a career especially it can be extremely expensive to support the dreams of progressing through the ranks.
The sport boasts as much prize money as it ever has, but with global aspirations come an increase in the inevitable costs such as travel, accommodation and living expenses.
This is all fine for the competitors who regularly feature at the business end of tournaments but for those further down the pecking order it is all about survival.
For this reason, it is almost imperative that every player, but especially the new breed, has a sponsor or some sort of financial backing.
It’s incredible to think that in Ireland – the same story goes for much of the UK and their homegrown talent too – there aren’t a few companies willing to take a chance on someone who now has the opportunity to star regularly in a well-watched sport that is broadcast on several major outlets.
Yet, that’s been the sorry reality for budding cueists in this part of the world for the last decade, maybe two.
Because of this, Boileau is attempting to acquire the help from primarily the fans of the game in an effort to fund his quest for future glory.
Setting up an account on the fundraising website gofundme.com, Boileau hopes to raise €20,000, the estimated amount necessary to sustain a single campaign on the Main Tour.
Boileau says: “with no sponsor, I am finding it difficult to fund my upcoming season as a pro.”
“It is very costly traveling to events, and if anyone would be interested in helping, I would appreciate it immensely.”
Modern day sport is as cut-throat as any business but it would be a shame if someone of his obvious talent wasn’t able to at least gain the foothold required to build a solid foundation at which to launch his professional career.
It’s been a long time – almost 20 years in fact – since Ireland had a world champion in snooker.
Boileau arguably offers the country its most realistic chance of one in the near future.
It’d be a pity for both him and Irish sport if that initial opportunity went to waste due to matters off, rather than on, the table.