By Derek Kiely
LOOKING Back at this years snooker in the Rebel County a couple of key moments stick out in terms of emerging players.
Ryan Cronin definitely caught the eye this year as the young Crucible man showed tremendous courage and skill at the 'Players Tour Championship' in Killarney, where he competed in the World Snooker event along with many other Cork snooker players.
Cronin was the only Cork man to qualify into the last 128 main event and played against Stephen Maguire and was very unlucky no to progress through to the last 64.
Cronin caught the eye of many snooker commentators and spectators at the event and Cronin told The Evening Echo “I loved playing in the PTC and I would love to play all the PTC's next year if I can”.
Cronin went on to play as was his right in the 'Amateur Cup' with all the top remaining Irish, Scottish and Welsh amateurs making it through to the semi final when his Killarney adventure came to an end.
Cronin has been very active on the National snooker front too, where he currently heads the ranks of the Republic of Ireland Billiards and Snooker (RIBSA) under 19 ranking and is in the top four of the RIBSA under 21 rankings. There is no doubting the potential of this young man and with the right sort of financial backing and wise management, Ryan Cronin be a very possible future professional snooker player, the first since Anthony O'Connor, but turning to the professional game is not cheap, so hopefully someone out there will dig deep to see if Cronin can give it a real shot.
Another high point from this years play is the return to form of the Crucibles David Cassidy.
Affectionately know to everyone in the game as 'Cassa', David Cassidy has made major strides back to his best play. Working very hard with the excellent PJ Nolan, RIBSA National Coach, and head of the RIBSA Academy at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow has seen Cassidy show his true potential again, which is great for Cork Snooker.
Cassidy leads the RIBSA National under 21 rankings at the moment and is second in the under 19 rankings behind his fellow club mate Ryan Cronin.
Cassidy has been incredibly difficult to beat this season and looks like he will be a member of the RIBSA National squad that will travel to Bulgaria for the European Amateur Snooker Championships. Cronin should be on the same plane if he keeps up the high standard and the Crucibles Greg Casey is playing well in the Senior Rankings so far this year and if he were to make the squad, there could potentially be three Crucible players representing the Republic of Ireland at the same time, which says a lot for the standard of Cork Snooker at this present time.
In Cork the league has been dominated so far by the Crucible and Youghal CYMS 'A' and both sides will resume play when the league programme resumes in two weeks time. There is a real dog fight on for the two remaining spots between three clubs, The AOH, Douglas 'A' and Youghal CYMS 'B'.
Under age snooker this year saw Youghal CYMS again dominate at under 14 and under 16 level again this year.
Youghal CYMS won both events in 2010 when Keane McCarty won the under 14 tournament and Youghal's Lee Walsh won the under 16 event. This year Noel Landers lifted the under 14 title and the excellent Aaron Tobin easily won the under 16 event after a years absence from the green baize.
Aaron is a seriously talented young lad who is maturing into a very good safety player to add to his already high potting standard. Here is a player with so much potential to make it all the way in snooker, I hope somebody looks at this very young player and offer some sort of assistance, things may not have been totally smooth on this young lads path in the past, but Aaron is now ready to take the next step forward in the game and I hope that RIBSA get right behind this young lad as soon as possible.
Important fixtures to watch out for in Cork Snooker 2012
January 8th: 2012 CBSA Cork Under 19 Snooker Championships at the Crucible Snooker Club.
Cork Billiards and Snooker Association
Cork Snooker League resumes on the 12th of January.
The Crucible v Youghal CYMS 'A'
Douglas 'A' v The AOH
Youghal CYMS 'C' v Douglas 'B'
January the 20th – 22nd Munster Snooker Club Championships, the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney.
January the 27th – 29th All Ireland Snooker Club Championships, the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney
Feb 4th and 5th RIBSA Under 19 and Under 21 Ranking Events and Masters Ranking Event.
Feb.12th CBSA 2012 Cork Individual Billiards Championship at the AOH
February 19th CBSA 2012 Cork Close Snooker Championships at Douglas Snooker Club.
March 11th CBSA Under 17 Snooker Teams Championships at Youghal CYMS
March 31st – April 1st The Orme Shield Youghal at Youghal CYMS
Week-nights March. Cork Billiards Teams Championships Home or Away