THE Centre of attention last weekend was the Gleneagle Hotel – Ladbrokes sponsored All Ireland Snooker Club Championships held in Killarney.
Munster had five sides representing the Province in these national snooker club championships, Munster Champions New Institute from Tipperary, Cue Club Killarney from Kerry and Waterford snooker club, plus the two Cork Snooker League representatives The Crucible and Youghal CYMS.
Both sides had very good Munster championships, with the Crucible ending up, runners up of the competition, but last weekend was a different level altogether and it was a massive step up for the Cork lads, but having said that the Cork sides were always going to cause one or two problems for the sides in Killarney.
Youghal got off to a good start with a win over Tuam, but then went down to Roadstone 'B' which knocked their chances of qualification from their group. The Crucible started well with wins against D'Arcy McGee's 'A' and Ballina, but then lost to Navan and QE1 which meant that after all results in the group were worked out they had to play a semi final one frame shoot out, which they won, but when the Crucible met the Navan side for the second time again they came up just one frame short.
The tournament progressed and all the Munster representatives failed to progress with the exception of New Institute who lost out in the last eight after a great group performance.
One of the top stories of the tournament from a Cork snooker point of view was the win for Youghal CYMS Brendan Cooney who beat the highly ranked TJ Dowling from Celbridge.
Dowling is a top ranked senior player, so it was a very sweet victory for the 'Silver Fox'.
Focus now returns to this weeks 'Cork Billiards and Snooker Association' (CBSA) Cork snooker league with two crucial matches on.
Both the Crucible and Youghal CYMS 'A' are already qualified form the CBSA league semi final, but Youghal CYMS 'B' are in a crucial two matches with Douglas 'A' to secure a semi final berth.
Youghal CYMS '' will travel to Douglas this coming Thursday evening for the first leg of what has become a final in itself in essence.
Youghal CYMS 'B' lost three crucial points earlier this year in a match with Youghal CYMS 'C' and that could be the deciding factor in the outcome of qualification for the semi final.
Playing away first could be an advantage for Youghal, but Douglas are a wounded animal after their shock exit from the 'Munster Snooker Club Championships' and will feel that they have a point to prove and are very difficult to beat at home.
Its a fascinating match and is a very difficult game to call and a lot will depend on the first match. Meanwhile the AOH have all but booked their place in the last four with a double over Douglas in the last round of CBSA league matches and a home match this week against Douglas 'B' it would be the shock of the season if the men from Morrison's Island didn't get a semi final spot, but it is a year where it has to come down to the two best sides Youghal CYMS and last year's runners up the Crucible.
With the two top club championships out of the way the attention will now turn to Cork's most prestigious individual tournaments the 'Cork Close' on February the 19th. The holder is Anthony O'Connor and he will do his very best to defend a title he has won on a couple of occasions.
International duty is just around the corner for three Crucible players who will represent the Republic of Ireland in the Team and Under 21 European Championships in Sofia in Bulgaria in Mid-March.
Greg Casey, Ryan Cronin and David Cassidy will all don the Tricolour on the European stage in Sofia with Ryan Cronin and David Cassidy playing from the 5th of March until the 10th of March in the Under 21 European Championships and Greg Casey is part of the Irish Senior team from the 9th of March until the 16th of March, very best of Cork luck to all three boys as they represent the Country and Cork Snooker.
The championships will be played at the Hotel Dedman Princess Sofia, which is a tremendous venue and there will be live scoring, streaming and live updates and reports at www.ebsa.tv
Thursday February 2:
Douglas 'A' v Youghal CYMS 'B'
AOH v Douglas 'B'
Thursday February 9:
Youghal CYMS 'B' v Douglas 'A'
Douglas 'B' v AOH
Cork Billiards and Snooker Association
Cork Snooker League Table
Played Won Lost Points
Crucible 10 10 0 25
Youghal CYMS 'A' 12 10 2 25
AOH 10 5 5 12
Youghal CYMS 'B' 10 4 6 10
Douglas 'A' 10 4 6 10
Youghal CYMS 'C' 10 3 7 8
Douglas 'B' 10 0 10 0
3 Points Away Win
2 Points Home Win
2012 Cork Individual Billiards C/Ship. AOH
2012 Cork Close Snooker Douglas S.C.
U/17 Snooker Teams C/Ship Youghal CYMS
March 31st/April 1st
Orme Shield Youghal CYMS
Week-nights March. Cork Billiards Teams C/Ship Home or Away