2020 Snooker Q School
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Greg Casey Among 2020 Snooker Q School Hopefuls

The Cork player is hoping to join close pal Aaron Hill on the Main Tour for next season.

The 2020 Snooker Q School gets under way on Monday at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

More than 150 amateurs will vie for the dozen places on offer to compete on the professional circuit during the upcoming 2020/21 campaign.

Originally supposed to be staged several months ago, the series of high-pressured events was delayed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Entrants will be tested for coronavirus before being able to participate while guidelines will have to be adhered to throughout the competition.

Each contender will be given three attempts to obtain one of the twelve potentially lucrative two-year cards, with a semi-final spot in any of the events required to achieve the goal.

Ireland’s Greg Casey is making an appearance for the fifth time since 2015, hoping to fulfill his lifelong ambition of turning professional.

“I’m feeling good,” the Cork Crucible Snooker Club member told SnookerHQ on the eve of the competition.

“I think it’s always better to have a positive mindset and be confident. No matter who I’m playing, I know that if I play well and play my own game then I have a chance, which is all you want.”

“My preparations went okay. I wish I could have done an extra 20 or 30% more overall, but with the way certain things are at the moment it wasn’t possible.

“I have a beautiful daughter now named Dani-May – she is one and a half years old so she’s at a great age – and I spend a lot of time with her as she’s number one now.

“She makes me feel happy about everything in general, so it eases off some pressure just knowing she is there for me no matter what.

“It would mean a lot to me to qualify through Q School. Obviously, every snooker player dreams of being world champion, Masters champion, and playing at the Crucible, but to get yourself into those positions you must first qualify to the Main Tour.

Casey, who has for a long time been sponsored by Tomàs Singleton of Singleton’s SuperValu in Hollyhill, has been drawn to face Jamie Curtis-Barrett in the first round of the opening event on Monday.

In a coronavirus-influenced step aimed at completing the countless matches quicker in an effort to finish the action within as short a period as possible, all three of the 2020 Snooker Q School tournaments will run at the same time.

The format has also changed, with a mere three frames needed to advance from the early stages.

Former pro Jamie Curtis-Barrett represents Casey’s opening challenge in event one on Monday, and the latter will be hoping that his previous experience will stand him in good stead this year.

“I think it’s probably a small advantage knowing what it’s like. I remember my first time coming over and you are just expecting every player to go in and make 70, 100, 90, 100 – like they do on TV.”

“But that’s not the case, there’s a lot of pressure here because of what’s at stake. It does happen obviously but not as often as you’d expect as every player is trying their heart and soul out to get on the Main Tour.

“Being reduced to best of five’s makes a big difference as now the first frame in matches is huge.

“It’s going to be very important to start matches well. I think it’s too short for what’s at stake, but that’s just my opinion.”

Casey gives a lot of credit to his parents Judy and Anthony for the support they have given him down through the years.

Yet, recent inspiration has come from a younger source in teenager Aaron Hill, who plays out of the same club in Cork, while two others from the thriving region in Ross Bulman and Ryan Cronin will be in action at the 2020 Snooker Q School too.

“We’re good friends to be honest. We travel a good bit and play together so we get on really well and the rivalry only kicks in if we play each other.”

“I am super proud of Aaron, what he achieved by winning the European Under-18 and Under-21 Championships is amazing, there’s no other word to describe it.

“He’s a class act and it wasn’t a shock to me when he got on the Main Tour, no surprise whatsoever. I have played with Aaron since he began playing snooker, and he’s progressing so fast since he started.”

“He’s one of my best friends, so it’s a great motivation for me now with him on the tour to get on myself – it would be fantastic.”

While the biggest challenge lies ahead, one trial is at least over as Casey successfully completed the coronavirus test without too much of a fuss.

“It was grand to be honest. A couple of lads said it was bad so I expected the worst but it was fine, no bother at all!”

The 2020 Snooker Q School runs from August 3rd to August 9th in Sheffield.

Event 1 draw
Event 2 draw
Event 3 draw

Featured photo credit: PJ Nolan

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