Shaun Murphy Ronnie O'Sullivan
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‘If you tell jokes, they have to be funny’ – Shaun Murphy tells Ronnie O’Sullivan

Shaun Murphy has responded to Ronnie O’Sullivan who criticised his decision to use two cues in last week’s Northern Ireland Open.

Murphy has long been an advocate of developing and modernising the game, and he believes that snooker players should rely on several cues rather than just one.

His theory is that different cues will suit the various conditions that snooker players experience at each venue and throughout each event.

Murphy trialled the revolutionary approach at last week’s Northern Ireland Open, much to the excitement or bewilderment of fans and onlookers.

The world number seven took two cues into the arena at the Waterfront Hall for his victories over Ryan Thomerson, Marco Fu, and Sean O’Sullivan.

But it wasn’t until his round-four encounter with Chris Wakelin that he actually reached for the second option at hand.

Despite leading 2-1, Murphy subsequently spent most of the remainder of the tie in his seat and eventually lost 4-2.

It prompted a savage response from world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan when asked about the topic on Eurosport.

“Have three cues if you’re winning, but when you keep getting pumped it don’t look good, does it?” O’Sullivan wryly quipped.

“So start winning some matches before you start doing that.”

O’Sullivan and Murphy have clashed on numerous occasions in the past, and it’s no secret that there is not much love lost between the pair.

Yet the latest gibe from the Rocket seemed a bit odd considering Murphy has actually won three titles during the calendar year of 2023.

The Magician triumphed at the season-opening Championship League after lucrative victories at the end of last season in the Players and Tour Championships.

Murphy was given the opportunity to reply during the latest episode of his podcast with emcee Phil Seymour, and his fiery retort didn’t disappoint.

“First and foremost, let me put this out there. I can take a joke as much as the next person,” Shaun Murphy said on The Onefourseven Snooker podcast.

“I love having a bit of craic with everyone, and if you’re going to give it, you’ve got to be able to take it.”

“But I didn’t get it, I didn’t understand what the joke was. I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot.

“I didn’t understand what he meant. Because as you’ve said, I won three or four matches last week in Belfast – I’d taken multiple cues into the arena every time I walked out to play.

“Anyone who understands what I’m trying to do at the moment understands that it’s only towards the end of the event that I’m going to need the second cue, as conditions deteriorate.

“So when was I meant to do it? Jokes are fine, I hope he remembers who started it when it all goes wrong in the future.

“Because unless you’ve been living under a rock for 20 years, you will know that we’re not the best of friends.

“So I hope he remembers who started it, but I just didn’t get it. I didn’t understand it.

“I’m happy to take a joke, but I’ve a few shots of my own to take. There’ll come a time when I get a chance to make a little cheap shot at Ronnie’s expense.

“And do you know what? I’ll probably take it after that. Remember this Ron – if you’re going to tell jokes, they have to be funny.

“They have to make sense. Otherwise you just look silly.”

Shaun Murphy and Ronnie O’Sullivan will next be in action at the upcoming International Championship in Tianjin.

Murphy has already reached the last 64 where he’ll entertain Dominic Dale, while O’Sullivan’s held over qualifying-round fixture is against Ken Doherty.

The latter has participated in only two ranking events this season so far, but he did land silverware with his success at the invitational Shanghai Masters.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Hugh Hillen

    Could someone in the know please let me know why is John Higgins still allowed to play snooker on T. V. when he was caught on video arranging
    match results. I believe its called Match Fixing?

    • He was set up by the fake sheikh, Mazher Mahmood, a “journalist”, working for the gutter press News of the World, that was notorious for it’s dubious practices. He used methods that ended up with him serving a prison sentence. No matches were fixed, John only talked about non-tour matches. It was alleged that he was speaking under duress and never intended to go through with any non-tour match fixing. As I remember it, he was suspended for not informing the snooker governing body, he served his suspension. This was all years ago, I struggle to understand why people can’t let it go, but I guess some people never will?

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