David Morris edged defending champion Michael Judge 4-3 to win the first senior ranking event of the Irish campaign on Sunday in Letterkenny.
Reigning Barracks Classic winner Judge lost only three frames en route to securing his return to the final but the national champion was ultimately denied a repeat success by Kilkenny’s Morris.
The latter, a three-time national champion himself, recorded comfortable enough victories over Philip O’Connor and Aaron Holland in the early stages before a narrow 3-2 success against Cork’s Greg Casey in the last eight.
Morris then hammered Johnny Farrell with a semi-final whitewash display before eclipsing Judge in a tight decider to already match his return from last season when he picked up a single trophy throughout the term.
Judge had an impressive run to the final as he saw off the likes of John Sutton, Stephen Bateman, and Brendan O’Donoghue to reach the title decider, but the Dubliner just about missed out in an entertaining affair.
The 43 year-old did manage to record the best break of the tournament, though, a terrific 121 that stood as the highest of six centuries that were compiled over the weekend at the Northwest Snooker Club in Donegal.
In total, 51 players made the trip up for the first event of the season, which for the first time in a number of years will see all of the ranking events shared out across the country as opposed to solely being staged at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow.
Josh Boileau made his return to the Irish scene after dropping off the Main Tour at the end of last season, losing out in a close 3-2 defeat to Farrell in the quarter-finals.
The next destination will be Celbridge Snooker Club in County Kildare, which will host event two towards the end of October.