The first SBI U-18 Ranking Event of the season took place on Sunday 23rd October at the Snooker and Billiards Ireland Academy of Excellence in Carlow. Nine players took part and the day ended with James O’ Connell as the worthy winner to get the U-18 tour well and truly up and running.
There was one preliminary round game that saw Ronan McGuirk register an easy win against Ben du Bois, Ronan met James O’ Connell in the quarter final but found James a little too strong to contain as James scored well early in the frames that mattered to take the match 3 frames to 1. James went on to book his final berth after winning a close game with Aaron Smith that went to a final frame decider with James doing the crucial scoring to establish a 50 point lead before Aaron conceded to James who would meet Joe Shannon in the final.
Joe Shannon had impressive victories against Jack O’ Brien and David Farrelly which suggested that the final had the makings to be a close cracking game. The first frame in the final was tactical and close but as the balls opened up and became potable it was James who scored heavily when he got opportunities and duly won the first frame.
The second frame saw Joe make a strong start and established a 25 point lead and for all the world looked like it would be one frame each but James gradually got back with little scores in numerous visits as Joe struggled to wrap up the frame, safety play ensued and James held his nerve to take the frame down to a black ball game. Both players had half chances to win it but it was James who had the first real chance and potted the black with the rest into the green pocket to make the match all the more difficult for Joe to come back and win.
James in the end finished the way he started the day with strong scoring and had a 30 point cushion before eventually scoring even further down to the pink before Joe conceded the frame and match. James O’ Connell was a worthy winner of this first U-18 event of the new season and 11 year old Joe Shannon deserved great credit for getting to the final and will be the one to watch in the years to come.
Thanks to Snooker and Billiards Ireland Academy of Excellence as host venue as well as John Kehoe as Tournament Director and Conor Doyle who refereed the final.
- Ben du Bois 0-3 Ronan McGuirk
- Jack O’ Brien 2-3 Joe Shannon
- Max Kennedy 2-3 David Farrelly
- Aaron Smith 3-0 Daragh Breen
- Ronan McGuirk 1-3 James O’ Connell
- Joe Shannon 3-0 David Farrelly
- Aaron Smith 2-3 James O’ Connell
- Joe Shannon 0-3 James O’Connell
- Ronan McGuirk 48, 35
- Jack O’ Brien 34
- Joe Shannon 33