The Republic of Ireland National Under 14, Under 16 and U-18 Snooker teams played Wales in the 2023 Celtic Challenge in the Snooker & Billiards Ireland HQ in Carlow in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday the 1st of July 2023.
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. The SBI Referees were Steven Foster, Joe Lyons and Dave Earle and they all did a superb job on the day.
Wales Win Title in Style
End of the day a strong Welsh junior team retained the title 64 frames to 32 to bring the cup back to wales after a great team performance. The high break went to Liam Davies with a stinning 127 Break in the event.
The Ireland Under 18 Team: Jack O Brien TEAM CAPTAIN, Aaron Smith – David Farrelly – Ben Du Bois
The Ireland Under 16 Team: Joe Shannon – Aaron Donnelly – Davy Hickey – Lorcán Ó Curraoin
The Ireland Under 14 Team: Oscar Ellison Gibbons – Liam Dunne – Aaron Horan – Cathal Horgan
We had 4 Irish players making their international debut and it is a new area of Irish Junior Snooker with players from Longford, Galway, Cork, Newbridge, Limerick, Dublin, Cork, Kerry and Meath playing this year. This event is fantastic for their overall Junior development.
Welsh Professional Snooker player and ex World Champion Mark Williams was in attendance this year to watch his son Joel playing for Wales. SBI National Coach PJ Nolan made a special presentation to Mark and thanked him for signing all the framed certs for the players.
All the Irish 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.
The Welsh team started off with an impressive 18-6 win in the first session and they followed up with another 16-8 in the second session. We then had lunch but the Welsh won the third session 14 -10 and in the final session it was the Welsh winning 16-8 to claim the title in style.
SBI President Jim Leacy was on hand from Snooker & Billiards Ireland to presented the 2023 Welsh team captain Zac Cosker with the Perpetual Cup.
- First Session Wales beat Ireland 18 – 6
- Second Session Wales beat Ireland 16 – 8
- Third Session Wales beat Ireland 14 – 10
- Fourth Session Wales beat Ireland 16-8
Well Done Team Ireland
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 and i was very proud of every single player today on the Irish Team.
The 2023 Champions
SBI would like to thank all the players for making it a fantastic day of Junior Snooker, we would also like to thank all the parents from the Irish and Welsh teams for making it a brilliant atmosphere in the Academy and we hope everyone enjoyed the event this year in Ireland.
Well done Team Wales and see you all in 2024 in Wales