The Republic of Ireland National Under 14 and Under 16 Snooker and U-18 teams played the 2022 Celtic Challenge in the Terry Griffiths Matchroom in Llanelli, Wales on Saturday the 2nd of July 2022.
This year saw 7 Irish players making their international debut and it is a new area of Irish Junior Snooker with players from Longford, Galway, Cork, Newbridge, Limerick, Wexford playing this year and this event is fantastic for their overall development.
- U-14: Joe Shannon from Longford, Max Kennedy from Galway, David Hickey from Youghal and Aaron Donnelly from Newbridge.
- U-16: Ronan McGuirk from Meath, Jack O Brien from Limerick, David Farrelly from Dublin and Ben Du Bois from Galway.
- U-18: Alex Currid from Wexford – TEAM CAPTAIN, Adam Halnon from Wexford, Ryan McGuirk from Meath and James O Connell from Cork.
All the players played great and I hope this motivates everyone to practice and compete more at a higher age group in our SBI National events as getting experience of playing better players is what makes good International players.
This annual event features the best Irish and Welsh Junior players. This year saw four players on each team play two frames against each other over four sessions of play.
After a fantastic display of Snooker that saw the Welsh juniors win all four sessions with an overall total 66 points to 30 to win back the title. The SBI Referees were Jason Dowling and Aonghus McAnally and they all did a superb job on the day.
The Welsh team started off with an impressive 15-9 win in the first session and they followed up with another 15-9 in the second session. We then had lunch but the Welsh won the third session 21 -3 and in the final session it was the Welsh winning 15-9 to claim the title in style.
Gordan Pantall from the Welsh Billiards & Snooker Association and Jim Leacy from Snooker & Billiards Ireland presented the Welsh team captain Liam Davies with the Perpetual Cup.
- First Session Wales beat Ireland 15 – 9
- Second Session Wales beat Ireland 15 – 9
- Third Session Wales beat Ireland 21 – 3
- Fourth Session Wales beat Ireland 15-9
Jack O Brien had the best individual stats on the day winning 6 out of a possible 8, Alex Currid and Joe Shannon were next with 5 out of 8. Max Kennedy won 4 out of 8 to finish 3rd for Ireland. In the team stats of the Irish Under 14’s lost 21-11. The U-16’s lost 22-10 and Under 18’s lost 23-9.
National Coach PJ Nolan said ‘’ Well done to all the Irish players for being so professional from the first to last frame. Congratulations to each player for flying the flag with passion and pride today. Ireland had won the last 4 junior Celtic Challenge titles but the training for our Irish players to win back the title starts in September ‘’