By Derek Kiely
WHAT An exciting time it is for Cork Snooker over the next two weeks with the 'Republic of Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association (RIBSA) National U19 and U21 Championships Finals' on their way to Douglas Snooker Club this coming weekend, plus the Orme Shield on the 30th of March and the 1st of April at Youghal CYMS will be a massive tournament for all the 'Rebel Cue men' taking part.
Add to that the much anticipated 'Shooters Cork Open' on the horizon on the 28th of April and the season continues right up to May this year which is great.
The RIBSA event has never been so important for so many different reasons, with Ryan Tobin and David Cassidy from the Crucible club dominating proceedings and Youghal CYMS player Christopher Cooney right up there in the mix it promises to be an eventful weekend for the Busteed brothers Karl and Martin who host the event.
Karl Busteed told Rebel Snooker “It is great that the national body RIBSA have allowed us to host the National under 19's and under 21's national finals, I think our club here in Douglas is capable of hosting any event and we want to showcase the club for everyone to see. I am putting six new cloths on the tables this week, we have been out with the paint brushes and have done up all the seating too, so no expense has been spared to make these two events a huge success and we want as many people as possible to be at our club this weekend, there is a warm welcome extended to all the snooker players all over Ireland and I hope that our Cork lads can put up a great performance to really make this weekend, one to remember for many years to come”.
Present at the event will be the RIBSA National Coach PJ Nolan who recently passed the Cork Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA) Chairman Derek O'Neill as a qualified RIBSA Coach.
O'Neill told Rebel Snooker “I am thrilled to have passed the referee's course and now I want to get into coaching our younger players in Cork and follow the guidelines that PJ (Nolan) has taught me. I want to show our younger players the practice drill's and get them interested in the right preparation for snooker. I want to give something back to the game I love, it is really about keeping the game alive and if our younger players get the right coaching then we can look forward to plenty national champions in the years ahead”.
At the moment Ryan Cronin tops both the under 19 and under 21 rankings respectively and it is a huge weekend for the young Crucible player and his fellow team mate David Cassidy is right there in the mix for a national title.
Cronin has dominated the under 19 championships so far leading by 50 points, but close by is Cassidy on 370 points, Josh Boileau has 320 points and in fourth spot is Youghal's Christopher Cooney on 280 points. If Cronin can make it to the final then he will be unbeatable, but if it is a semi final spot for Cronin and Cassidy wins it is possible that the two Cork lads could finish level with on points.
The under 21 championship is a much closer affair with Cronin leading by 20 points from Carlow’s Karl Fitzpatrick on 350 points, Kildare's Josh Boileau is on 330 points and David Cassidy is on 320 points, so this one could go any way.
The Orme Shield is just around the corner too!
This event is a three person team event and the prize of hanging the magnificent Orme Shield in the winning teams club is the top priority of everyone taking part.
This event is huge and the prestigious prize is the greatest team prize on offer for the season.
Last years final was a classic affair between Youghal CYMS 'A' and The Crucible with the Crucibles Greg Casey, David Cassidy and Ryan Cronin, Adrian Landers and Derek Aherne.
This win for the Crucible was the very first winning team prize that the three Internationals ever won and it meant the world to the lads and the Hussey family.
The defeat hurt Youghal and I would imagine every effort will be made to win it back, but there are other sides quite capable of going very close to winning the Orme Shield, such as the AOH with Myers and O'Mahony and the Shooters team with the likes of Bracken and O'Donoghue.
This event is a very important one for Cork Snooker and will be played over two days in the Market House, the home of Youghal CYMS. Preparations to host the event are well under way in Youghal and Brendan Cooney will make sure that no stone is left unturned in his meticulous preparation for any event that happens at Youghal CYMS.
There will be a huge entry for the Orme Shield with as many as possible 16 to 20 teams involved in the event and the closing date for the Orme Shield and the An Tostal Cork Billiards Championships will be at 6pm on Wednesday the 21st of March, take note!
Best of luck to all the Cork based players playing at Douglas snooker club this weekend and in next weeks Cork Snooker we will have a full report from the RIBSA National under 19 and under 21 championship finals.