Over the course of this season, Jonathan “Sniper” Williams will be conducting a series of interviews with players from the Irish snooker scene.
Many thanks to Jonathan for his contributions to SnookerHQ and to all the players who have agreed to take part in this new feature. We hope you enjoy it.
Sniper: What are your goals for this season?
Murphy: “I want to try to win as many matches as I can and try to win as many tournaments as I can. I just want to prepare well and do my best, that’s all.”
Sniper: Tell us about your most successful moment in snooker.
Murphy: “There are two things for me. The European team tournament that I played with Mick (Judge) in Malta was amazing, I’ll never forget it. No other player will probably experience anything like it, it was like a football match. There was about a thousand people watching and there was a brilliant atmosphere. It was tiered seating and that’s where the World Amateurs was going to be until it got cancelled.”
“There’s one other moment that sticks out where I can hold my head up high and say, no matter what happens in my career, I mixed it with the pros. I stood up well to Trump and Milkins and Perry in the Six Red World Championship in Thailand a few years ago. Although it’s six reds and it’s a bit of a lottery, I held my head up high and I competed with them at the highest level. I didn’t let myself down and I nearly beat a few of them.”
Sniper: Then, is there any defeat that has stuck in your memory as being particularly painful?
Murphy: “Yeah, I lost in the semis of the Irish Championship to Robert Redmond 6-5 a few years back, it was about four or five years ago. I think that hurt me the most. He had a great clearance in the decider but I just felt that I threw the match away. I wouldn’t take anything away from Robert, he’s a great bloke and a great player, but I feel I should have won a lot easier.”
“I also lost 6-4 in another semi-final of the Irish Championship to John Torpey in the old Ivy Rooms. I was 4-1 up but I threw that match away as well. I fell asleep, which is unlike me, but sure these things happen.”
Sniper: Would there be anyone you would consider your most difficult opponent?
Murphy: “I think you’re going to find it hard beating any of the top players. All the great match players who are there, the lads who are constantly winning like Mick, Rodney Goggins, and TJ Dowling. Now Davy Morris and Joe Delaney are back so you’re going to have to play well whoever you play. If you don’t play well, you’re going to lose and that’s it.”
“I don’t think I’ve any bogey players as such. Off the top of my head, I don’t have a bad record against anyone. I think Brendan O’Donoghue has beaten me the last couple of times we have played but I think all of us at the top of the game are pretty even. I might be a little bit behind but not much.
“But I don’t believe in bogey players. My motto is that if I play well, if I play to my standard, then I should win.”
Sniper: Who would be your favourite professional player, and why?
Murphy: “That’s a good question. I think maybe Ding Junhui because his cue ball control is just in a different league. I’ve watched him practice and it’s just second to none. I would say to any aspiring junior player who wants to start playing the game to go and watch Ding Junhui’s cue ball.”
“Ken’s not far behind him. I’m not saying that just because Ken’s one of my best mates, but Ken’s cue ball has been brilliant as well.”
Sniper: What’s your opinion on the current state of Irish snooker? Back when you started playing there were more than 100 entries and play started on a Friday. Why does that not happen now?
Murphy: “One reason why that’s not happening now is that there are too many tournaments on the calendar, that’s the first thing. I’ve told RIBSA this and I’ve let them know my feelings about it.”
“There’s too much junior snooker and juniors are being guarded. This thing where there are certain juniors in one section of the draw and others in another section is a load of baloney. I think there’s far too much snooker on the calendar. If you look at any of the other countries, their calendars are nowhere near what it’s like here.
“Some tournaments could be brought back, though – for example, the inter-provincials. That was an event between the four provinces and the Dublin League used to be involved. It was brilliant. You should have tournaments like this brought back in. The same goes for a doubles championship where you could play with whoever you want – it’d create a bit of bite.
“There’s no bite there at the moment. It’s the same thing every year and the other big problem is that they have to separate the Senior events and the Masters events. They are both played on the same weekend and they are both taking away from each other. I’ve said this to RIBSA before but it’s fallen on deaf ears and I’m sick and tired of saying it.
“But there should be new tournaments on the calendar every year to make it more interesting. If you want to have all the ranking tournaments at the Ivy Rooms that’s fair enough, but at least have the conditions right.”
Sniper: Finally, is there a tournament or memory that sticks out in your mind for either good or bad reasons?
Murphy: “Malta is the best. It’s the best by a mile. Everything is around there, you don’t need to move, and that’s the best venue for me at the Dolmen Hotel. Absolutely.”