Teenager Aaron Hill beat former professional Joe Delaney 4-3 to win the Hickson’s Centra Open at Celbridge Snooker Club at the weekend – his maiden senior Irish ranking event title.
Just a few weeks after a terrific run to the final of the IBSF Under-16 World Championship in Russia, Hill continued his meteoric rise up the pecking order on the domestic front with a tremendous triumph in County Kildare.
The 16 year-old edged Delaney, who once made an appearance in the last 32 of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, in a tight final showdown that went the distance.
But Hill, who is one of a number of cueists from Cork who are performing strongly on the Irish scene these days, held his nerve and it’ll be very interesting to see how far this young talent can go.
En route to the final, Hill ousted Brendan O’Donoghue and Michael Judge, who have won four out of the last six National Championships between them, highlighting that the youngster’s success was hardly a fluke.
Hill commented on Facebook after his breakthrough victory that he was “lost for words.”
“After losing out for a world title just two weeks ago by a narrow frame I’ve just bounced back by winning my first Irish senior ranking event.
“I’m absolutely buzzing (and) want to thank my sponsor Tomas Singleton, my coach Pj Nolan, and most off all my family and friends for all the support.”
Not only was the tournament promising in terms of producing an exciting new winner, expelling a much-needed breath of fresh air into the game in Ireland, but it also boasted the highest field for a senior ranker in many years with a highly respectable 75 entrants in total.
For the first time in a few years, the ranking competitions this term will be taken to clubs and venues around the country rather than being solely staged at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow – and the impact looks promising already.
The standard in Celbridge was also high with several big centuries made, including a magnificent 130 from Dublin’s Philip Browne that stood as the best of the weekend.
David Morris, who won the Barracks Classic last month, suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat to Ryan Cronin, another Cork competitor, in the last 16.