HISTORY was made today for Irish snooker and billiards as the national governing body changed its name and image.
The timing was ideal, coming in the wake of an excellent showing by Cork's Aaron Hill as the European Masters, which included a stunning upset victory over legend of snooker, Ronnie O'Sullivan.
The organisation that has been so successful in its governance of the sport producing top-class players like Aaron Hill, Ken Doherty, Fergal O’Brien, Davy Morris and many more has moved from the title the Republic of Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association to Snooker and Billiards Ireland.
At the launch of the new re-branding of the association in Carlow at the Ivy Rooms SC, the new chairman of SBI Dylan Rees said: “We are delighted with the new look and the new features going forward and our new website sbireland.ie which will have so many features including our state of the art streaming and score updating services.
"We want to congratulate RIBSA for all its work over five decades and we want to embrace their magnificent work in the development of the game and thank the previous people involved in RIBSA who have made huge contributions to our sport.
"RIBSA now is Snooker and Billiards Ireland and every one of the people that have been involved in the association are now part of the SBI family.
"Today is historic in so many ways and we at SBI are confident that we can further develop the game, introduce more people to our sport and reflect on the huge success rate we have at international level and now in the professional ranks with the likes of Aaron Hill.
"Aaron like so many of our players has come through the ranks of our association under the watchful eye of our head coach PJ Nolan and like Aaron, all our stars of the game in Ireland have represented their country with style and pride and we want to see more younger stars coming through the ranks in the coming years.
"Another initiative for us going forward is the introduction of disability snooker to Ireland and make sure that everyone knows that our association and sport is open to players of all levels, colour or gender. We want to develop the Ladies game too and really the sky is the limit when it comes to what we can achieve together."
Snooker and Billiards Ireland has now set out its calendar of events are if permissible will concentrate on getting the 2020 national finals played from U14 level right up to the senior championship whose current defending champion in former professional Davy Morris from Kilkenny.
SBI have also purchased four mini star tables which will be used in schools and various other venues to help as an introductory tool to get young boys and girls interested in the game.
Current president of SBI and current IBSF vice-president Jim Lacey told echolive.ie “The work that has been done over the years has been huge by RIBSA and now with the new name and re-brand we have a fantastic platform going forward.
"There has been a lot of work put in to the changes including the new website and the new image of the association and for many years up to now RIBSA have put fantastic things in place for the betterment of the game. I think these are very exciting times in Irish snooker and billiards”.