The All-Ireland Billiards Championship, which has not been held since 2009, was revived as an additional feature match during the 2016 Four Nations Billiards International at the Ivy Rooms, Carlow on 19th and 20th of November last. Darren Dornan, the current Northern Ireland champion and holder of the All-Ireland championship since 2009 when he beat the then Republic of Ireland champion, Eugene Hughes, met the current Republic of Ireland champion, Wayne Doyle in a 750up, 3 hour time limited challenge for the title of All-Ireland champion.
The match was scheduled to take place in two halves, coinciding with the playing sessions of the Four Nations tournament. The first half, over one and a half hours, was played on Saturday 19th, the second half, a one and a half hour session or first to 750 was played on Sunday 20th.
The early stages of the game were somewhat tentative, neither player making much progress in the scores. Perhaps the playing conditions, being played on the tightest table in the club, combined with the occasion itself had its effect. As the game progressed Wayne built up a lead, not so much by scoring heavily at the table, but by breaking down further into his break than Darren. This was the pattern of the first day’s play, leaving Wayne with a comfortable, but by no means unassailable overnight lead of 124.
As the players settled in to the second session, Darren began to show, scoring a little more effectively when at the table than Wayne and reducing his deficit almost by half. A timely break of 87 however, restored Wayne’s lead. From this point, Wayne’s scoring was visit for visit more effective than Darren’s until, with 5 minutes still on the clock, Darren decided that, after so many fruitless attempts, there was really no prospect of mounting anything like an effective counter challenge, conceding the match still well behind on points.
The conclusion and award ceremony at the end of the Four Nations tournament included the presentation of the very handsome All-Ireland Billiards Championship trophy.