The fourth senior ranking event of the Irish snooker season starts on Saturday at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow.
The Dublin Snooker Leagues Premier Cup sees a campaign-high total of 65 entries taking part.
David Morris leads the rankings at the halfway point of the term but has chosen not to enter the first tournament of 2018.
That means that Stephen Bateman, runner-up in the Barracks Classic in September and currently second in the rankings behind Morris, represents the top seed with the likes of TJ Dowling, Greg Casey, and Brendan O’Donoghue also set to feature.
Indeed, the latter is faced with one of the more difficult first-round fixtures with the reigning national champion set to take on Jason Devaney in the last 64.
Rodney Goggins won the last event of 2017 when he captured the President’s Cup in November but is also tasked with a tricky initial battle as he meets Cork’s David Cassidy.
Meanwhile, Barracks Classic champion Michael Judge returns after missing the last competition with a bout against Paddy Brady while three-time national champion Dowling is challenged by John O’Sullivan.
If the tournament does not finish on Saturday, a decision will be made as to when the remaining rounds will be concluded.