JANUARY is always Killarney and following the year previous when the tournament took on a new persona, with two sections, one section called the ‘Premier’ which catered for the top sides in the Province and another section called the ‘Championship’ which catered for the developing teams or sides with less internationals,
Youghal CYMS who had won the inaugural ‘Munster Championship Section’ the year previous were bang on again at the Gleneagle Hotel making it back-to-back victories.
YOUGHAL CYMS ‘C’ became the Munster Championship Section winners last January after another stunning ‘Macau Sporting Club Munster Snooker Club Championships’ in a tournament that had 31 teams involved and 16 representatives from the ‘Cork Billiards and Snooker Association’ (CBSA) and to see Youghal CYMS C win the title for a second time in a row was great and last year’s winning team also from the seaside town qualified for the ‘All Ireland Snooker Club Championships’ the following week.
The main section the ‘Premiership’ saw the Cork champions the Crucible go all the way to the final only to lose out to the New Institute snooker club from Nenagh, but the Crucible, the AOH and the Youghal CYMS sides all qualified for the All-Ireland tournament, but failed to produce their top form in that event.
The start of 2015 domestically saw the Crucible senior team do what they do best and that is win everything. Again the Crucible dominated the CBSA Cork league division on, defeating Youghal in the final as well as that the Crucible retained the famous ‘Orme Shield’ and as well represent the Republic of Ireland through their players Greg Casey and David Cassidy.
Youghal CYMS picked up the division two league title and again the Youghal and Crucible clubs proved to be the dominant force on the green baize on Leeside.
In April 2015 Ireland had new European Champions when Michael Judge and Robbie Murphy conquered Malta and Tony Drago to become the ‘Men’s European Team Champions’. The two lads well known to Cork snooker people were brilliant in Malta and are the heart of the team going for a record breaking three-in-a-row All-Ireland snooker championship titles in Killarney this coming January. As well as that they are regular visitors to Youghal CYMS at this stage during the two International events that were held over the last couple of years, one just recently gone.
The theme in the underage victories too domestically was with the young stars of the North Side Club at the Crucible and the seaside at the ‘Market House’ in Youghal who’s young stars bossed the tables and with National honours up for grabs, the question wasn’t who could win from Cork, but how many titles would the young Cork cue-men pick up and in May 2015 three young Youghal players went to Carlow to the ‘Ivy Rooms’ and more or less emptied the trophy cabinet.
Those players Ross Bulman, Adam Fitzgerald and Noel Landers were brilliant all season. Ross Bulman of Youghal CYMS achieved an incredible cleanout at the ‘National Snooker Academy’ at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow in May when he won the U18, U16 and U14 National snooker titles and at just 13 years of age, one can only imagine what lays in store for the young star who had achieved an incredible feat taking all the silverware back to Cork.
Youghals Adam Fitzgerald, Ross Bulman and Noel Landers all National Snooker Winners
The Youghal CYMS Club literally emptied the trophy cabinet with three wins for Bulman while his club mates Adam Fitzgerald and Noel Landers also came away winners with Fitzgerald winning the U21 title and Landers named U16 player of the year.
2015 had been another year where the East Cork seaside club dominated at Provincial and County level, but to take four out of the five national snooker titles on offer during that weekend back in May 2015 is just an indicator of the top quality high standard snooker in the under-age game in this country and in particular in Cork where an achievement like that had never been done before.
May also saw Jud Trump come to Cork for the very first time, when he played an exhibition match at the ‘Neptune Stadium’ alongside Steve Davis, Denis Taylor and our own Ken Doherty. The night brought back memories of the many great nights at Neptune from the 80’s and the ‘Ace in the Pack’ plans to come back to Cork in the near future.
Another great highlight of the 2015 season was the Cork Close played back in January at Douglas snooker club where David Cassidy from the Crucible defeated Shane O’Mahony in a fantastic days snooker. The Crucible player had come close on a few occasions, losing out in a previous final to Anthony O’Connor, but this time he wasn’t to be denied. 2015 was different in so many ways, but quite noticeably in the season, the Cork Close and the division one finals were played twice in the one year.
Finally on a very sad note, Cork Billiards and Snooker lost a great man in February when the great Timmy Murphy passed away.
The Late Great Timmy Murphy
Everyone at club level, Provincial, National and International level knew the wonderful Timmy Murphy, who was as straight as a dye, honest to a fault, a great friend and a mentor that nobody could match.
Timmy was a magnificent billiards player, but more importantly a magnificent person ‘Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé’.
FOLLOWING the summer break Cork snooker and the ‘Cork Billiards and Snooker Association’ (CBSA) was back up and running in August with six teams lined up for the top flight division, but the withdrawal of Fermoy had a huge effect on the competitive end of the division one league.
With the defending champions the Crucible going four five league titles in a row, Youghal’s A and B sides looking strong and the AOH who are always a very talented team, it was always going to be very difficult for the Shooters A side to make an impact and eventually the Shooters A side withdrew from the league, making it very uncompetitive because the four remaining sides were assured of a semi-final spot.
The league itself ran away with so very interesting results, but eventually it would be the Crucible versus Youghal CYMS ‘B’ in one semi-final and the AOH against Youghal CYMS ‘A’ in the other.
No such problems in the lower division, which again was split into two sections with Douglas ‘A’ looking like the most improved side, but as always the Crucible ‘B’, the AOH ‘B’ and the Ebony were there or thereabouts.
The semi-finals and the final of the division two championships will not be held until after the Gleneagle Hotel All-Ireland snooker club championships at the end of January.
In the run up to the Division one league final the Cork Close ‘A’ and ‘B’ were both held at Shooters SC in Blackpool, with Greg Casey winning the title in the ‘A’ section for the second time when he defeated Shane Hourihane in the final.
In the Cork Close ‘B’ tournament Eddie Evans was the man on form as he defeated Karl Busteed from Douglas in a close final and after an under 19 final defeat and the Cork Close ‘A’ final defeat Hourihane was to have his day in the sun as he won the CBSA Cork U21 championship at his home club at the Crucible.
On the International front Youghal were the hosts of the ‘International Challenge Cup’ between the Republic of Ireland, France and Northern Ireland.
Republic of Ireland Champions
The three day event was another great success and in the competition it came down to the last couple of frames between the Northern Ireland team the holders of the trophy and the hosts the Republic of Ireland and eventually the host nation prevailed to the delight of the home supporters.
In Egypt Greg Casey had a fantastic tournament at the IBSF World snooker championships making his way to the quarter finals before unluckily bowing out in a tight match. David Cassidy also from the Crucible also qualified to play in the tournament and made it all the way through to the knockout stages.
In upcoming snooker in February in Poland there will be a huge Cork influence with Youghal’s Aaron Tobin and Adam Fitzgerald playing in the European U21 championship and Youghal’s Ross Bulman and Noel Landers also qualified for the U18 championships.
Meanwhile the Crucibles Ryan Cronin will play in the main event which is the ‘European Men’s Snooker Championship’.
Finally in this review of the year 2015, which had two Cork Close events in the same calendar year, also saw two Division one finals in the same season as Youghal CYMS ‘B’ stopped the Crucibles dream of going for five league titles when they defeated the champions in the semi-final and it could have been an all Youghal affair only for Gary Bracken of the AOH ‘A’ side whose sublime Pink and Black in the deciding frame saw off the Youghal CYMS ‘A’ challenge.
In this year’s decider the first table to finish was the AOH’s Shane O’Mahony v Derek Aherne table, where again O’Mahony showed his class who has to one of the most under rated players in Cork winning his match by three frames to nil.
Another very talented player is Youghal’s Adrian Landers who defeated Lloyd Myers three to nil and the final was all square at one match each.
Gary Bracken a member of the 2011 Shooters team that won the first ‘Cork Billiards and Snooker Association’ (CBSA) Division one league title defeated one of the young talented players from Youghal, Poland bound Adam Fitzgerald three frames to one frame, decided on a re-spotted black ball.
AOH Cork Champions Sonny Stack, Lloyd Myers, Shane O’Mahony, David Forde and Gary Bracken
The AOH led at this stage by two matches to one and both their remaining players David Forde also a member of the 2011 league winning side and Sonny stack had fought their way back from two frame deficits.
The Forde versus Dylan Rees match was a cracker and when it looked like Forde might dish up and win the all-important game for victory he miscued on the green and Rees showed incredible composure to win the points and pot the pink to send the final to a deciding frame as Kelly and Stack were tied at two frames each.
Stack was always in control of the frame, but Kelly had a chance eighteen points behind with two reds remaining, but couldn’t get the decisive pots.
Stack as cool as a cucumber potted the vital balls at the vital time and secured the victory for the AOH for the first time in decades.
So finally for everyone in Rebel Snooker have a very peaceful and prosperous 2016.