The 2018/19 domestic Irish campaign gets under way for the senior players this weekend with the Barracks Classic set to be staged at the Northwest Snooker Club in Letterkenny, County Donegal.
For the first time in several years, ranking events throughout the season will be played at various clubs around the country, with the Ivy Rooms in Carlow set to host only one out of the six scheduled tournaments this term before the National Championship in May.
Celbridge Snooker Club in County Kildare, which earlier this week staged a low-key pro-am event comprising the likes of Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen, Ken Doherty, Fergal O’Brien, and national champion Michael Judge, Fairview, Newbridge, and Potters are the other clubs set to welcome the best players from across the country in the coming months.
The Barracks Classic, meanwhile, launches the new campaign as it has done for the last number of years – with defending champion Judge and 2016 winner Brendan O’Donoghue among those in field.
O’Donoghue was recently invited to take part in the ACBS Asian Tour on the back of his strong performance in the European Championship in April, with the Nenagh man jetting off to Qatar next week to compete alongside 23 of the world’s finest amateurs.
Back home, just over 50 competitors have entered the Barracks Classic with the likes of Judge, O’Donoghue, Rodney Goggins, David Morris, and TJ Dowling seeded through to the last 32.
Cork’s ever-growing crop of talent, including Greg Casey, Aaron Hill, Ross Bulman, Noel Landers, Ryan Cronin, and David Cassidy – who all featured prominently last season – are in the draw having decided to make the long trip up from the Rebel County.
The Barracks Classic also sees the return of Josh Boileau to the Irish scene after the former European under-21 champion’s disappointing debut stint on the Main Tour reached its climax in April.