World Champions all felt Goffs best place to play in World outside of Crucible

by Gazette Reporter
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Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and company couldn’t believe the athleticism and skill levels of the Limerick and Kilkenny hurlers as they watched All Ireland on TV By Ken Doherty

When champions like Ronnie O’Sullivan, Dennis Taylor and Stephen Hendry say that the atmosphere at Goffs for snooker is the best there is outside of the Crucible Theatre, then that’s good enough for me.

I’ve always thought that myself but maybe I felt I was being a bit biased. Snooker is making something of a comeback as a spectator and television sport and all we need to have a good Irish Masters back on the circuit is for a sponsor to emerge.

The cigarettes company used to fulfil that function for years but they are now banned from doing so. It would be a great boost for Irish snooker if we could get something to support the event as I’m sure they would get their money back with the event being televised on RTE and other networks as well. 

The crowd in Goffs over the weekend would agree that it was a great event with Ronnie eventually winning out. What’s new! 

I’d like to say that I played well but the opposite was the case. In fact, it is back to the drawing board for me because I couldn’t hit a ball out of my way. Would you believe I was as nervous as if I was a teenager in front of a crowd for the first time? 

The reason I suppose is that I so wanted to do well that I tried too hard – and that often can get in your way as you are not relaxed and that affects the cue.


I was delighted to hear the lads praising the venue so much because as players we love to have an audience that gets involved in the action during the various frames. And the way the venue is designed, it is a wonderfully natural amphitheatre which almost makes you feel like you are one of two gladiators out there trying to triumph on the green baize. 

We stayed in the beautiful Killashee Hotel nearby just outside Naas and you should have seen the boys’ faces as they watched Limerick and Kilkenny getting stuck into each other in the All Ireland hurling final on Sunday afternoon.

The pace of the game was so fast that they were struggling to keep up with the trajectory of the ball. Like myself, they were all amazed at the skill and athletic levels both teams had in their armoury in what was a sweltering hot day. 

They felt much more at home when the game was over and we turned over to watch the golf on Sky Sports. Rory was the favourites and I’d say by the reaction that our group had a fair few bob riding on him winning as he looked to end his eight-year Major drought. 

Unfortunately, it goes on at least until next year’s Masters at Augusta but I have to say I thought he played very well and only for that unbelievable birdie rush by Cameron Smith after the turn, he would probably have pulled something out to win it.

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