snooker Goffs
Main News, World Seniors Tour

Snooker to return to iconic Goffs venue

The Mr Vegas Snooker 900 will head to Ireland in March, with the iconic venue of Goffs staging the World Seniors Tour event.

Last month, the inaugural Mr Vegas 900 was held at Epsom Racecourse with Stephen Hendry beating Jimmy White in the final to claim his maiden seniors title.

The pair will again be competing for the top prize as the format heads to the Emerald Isle on March 2nd.

Hendry and White will be joined by former world champions Dennis Taylor and Ken Doherty, Dubliner Fergal O’Brien, and Maltese legend Tony Drago.

Goffs in County Kildare famously hosted the Irish Masters – a prestigious non-ranking tournament on the main snooker tour – between 1978 and 2000.

Older players from that period often cite the venue, which is more commonly used as an auction house for bloodstock, as among the best in snooker’s history.

Its imposing circular enclosure makes it a perfect setup for a single table situation.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, who infamously won the Irish Masters in 1998 only to be disqualified after failing a drugs test for cannabis, has named it his favourite venue in the past.

“I think I’d have to say Goffs in Ireland. Goffs for me is the greatest venue,” the Rocket said on Colin Murray’s 52 podcast in 2020.

“What it’s basically for, it’s where all the horses are sold. All the top horses, where they buy all the Red Rums or whatever they are.”

“It’s a massive stable like a circle, and they decided to put a snooker tournament on there.

“Honestly, ask any snooker player who’s played there or just been there and watched any of the matches.

“They’ll all tell you, bar none, that it is the greatest snooker venue you’d ever get to play in.

“It’s the only time where I’ve played, when you hear people say, ‘the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.’ That was the one time it did.

“I had a lot of good matches there, playing your Davis’, your Hendrys, your Jimmy Whites and all that sort of stuff.

“But the match that stands out for me is playing Ken Doherty in the final – he might have been world champion at the time.

“We played in the final. You come through a tunnel with the crowd all up there.

“Ken obviously got a fantastic reception because he was from Dublin and obviously had all the home support. I got a decent shout as well.

“I was so nervous, it was like a rush. Getting out there and playing in that atmosphere was fantastic.

“You felt like you were a boxer – like Rocky going out and fighting. You don’t really feel like that when you’re playing snooker because it’s a lot more sedate.

“But the atmosphere in this particular evening, the roar of the crowd – it was gladiatorial.”

Steve Davis triumphed in the Irish Masters a record eight times and subsequently won the Irish Seniors Masters at Goffs on what was his last competitive appearance in the game in 2018.

The Irish Seniors was held again at the venue in 2019 when White emerged with the trophy.

The 2024 Mr Vegas 900 will mark the first time in five years that the World Seniors Snooker Tour has staged one of its events at Goffs.

The tournament is played under an exciting new format that sees each match played over 900 seconds or 15 minutes.

Like the first edition at Epsom Racecourse, this event is set to be broadcast live by Channel 5 for UK and Irish viewers.

All-day ticket passes cost €50 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.ie from Monday, January 22nd.

Featured photo credit: Monique Limbos

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