Snooker stars visit Dublin for night of nostalgia

by Gazette Reporter
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Snooker is again undergoing a masive popularity surge following the recent World championships in Sheffield in which Ronnie O’Sullivan won his record seven title.

Seemingly the viewership figures were the largest they have been  for eight years and BBC also reported that last week’s senior championship had enhanced viewing number despite the fact that it was broadcast on BBC4 and not the main channels.

I was disappointed myself in those championship as I was beaten by the eventual champion Lee Walker. The Welsh player went on to beat the legendary WhirlwindJimmy White 5-4 in Sunday’s Crucible Theatre final.

It was nice that Lee won his first title on snooker’s professional tour as a 46-year-old. Certainly none of us begrudged him his victory.

The upshot of this year’s activity is that I will be back in Ireland quite a bit over the next few months with some legends of the game either talking about or playing the game.

Later this week, Stephen Hendry, Dennis Taylor and myself are doing  Q&A sessions in the Strand Hotel in Limerick on Friday night (May 20), the Ballygarry House Hotel in Tralee on Sunday and we are in the St Stephen’s Green Club next Tuesday – the venue is already sold out.

However if  you’d like to get a chance to see some of the old past masters in action, there is a tournament at Goffs  on July 16/17. Basically there are four of us playing, myself, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen and Jimmy. There will be semi-final sessions and then the two winners will play in the final.

Older fans will want to see the likes of Jimmy and Stephen but Ronnie is a man for all ages and believe me, just to see him cueing in the flesh is an unforgettable experience.

I think it is pretty certain as well that I will have snooker night to remember in the St Helen’s Radisson hotel in Dublin sometime in September or October. I will let you know more about the format and line-up as the dates are confirmed.

Television is a big influence in popularising sport and I’ve noticed from the programmes coinciding with my own World Championship’s 25th anniversary, that it is opening up exploits of times past to a whole new audience.

I have got my card for the pro circuit for another two years and am really looking forward to having a ball as I wind down my playing days in that time. Who knows, I could surprise myself and a lot of others by winning another major prie. That will be my intention anyway every time I approach a snooker table in competitive fare.

The main thing is I am enjoying the game and the ambience around it more than ever and as long as that last, it would be foolish to give up.

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