JUST a week ago it was all doom and gloom in relation to competitive snooker in Ireland, what a difference a week makes in sport as the National Governing Body RIBSA have made three significant announcements starting with a new support grant for our top elite players.
Chairman of RIBSA Dylan Rees said: “We are delighted to announce they we have decided to set-up a new Player Grant Scheme to assist our members who qualify for the World Snooker Tour.
"This grant will be paid to players who receive their tour cards for the first time only. Aaron Hill will be the first recipient of this grant and RIBSA would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him and wish him well in his future professional career.
"It is so important for RIBSA to connect with all its players and members at all levels and the development of our game is crucial going ahead."
There will also be a golf fundraiser for Aaron Hill at Lee Valley Golf Club on Thursday, September 10 where former world champions Ken Doherty and Sean Murphy will be in attendance.
The fundraising event has been organised by Connie O’Sullivan and the Hill family and teams and tee boxes are available for sponsorship.
O’Sullivan told Echo Sport: “All we want to do is give Aaron the most support and help that we can and the response for this event has been brilliant.
"We hope to raise a significant amount of money to help Aaron at the start of his career and with the cost of flights, accommodation and living expenses it can be very expensive, so I hope that takes a bit of pressure off him at the start.
"Aaron is a superb talent with so much potential and a very proud Cork man and to be honest he is flying the Cork, Munster and Ireland flag and we want him to know that we are right behind him."
If anyone wants to get involved contact Connie O’Sullivan on 0872833343.
RIBSA have also re-scheduled the second Irish Re-Open Championship for Saturday 19th and Sunday the 20th of September with the knock out stages played on Saturday the 26th of September in the Ivy Rooms SC in Carlow.
RIBSA planned this test event after the COVID-19 Crisis put a halt to the sport in March but the event had to be then postponed due to the latest restrictions announced by the Government last week. The new date is subject to restrictions being lifted.
Dylan Rees said: “We have informed every player by email that they will offer a full refund or a place in the rescheduled event.
"Any player requesting a refund should email our Secretary at email@example.com and they should send their bank details. RIBSA will then announce any extra places that come from free online and I want to wish all the players good luck in the event.
"Only eight players are allowed to enter the venue at one time plus the Tournament Director and a roaming Referee.
"There will be two nominated tables used for each group and there will be four groups played on Saturday and four groups played on Sunday and we are sorry but there will not be any supporters allowed into the Ivy Rooms upstairs and all the equipment sterilised after each session."
The new RIBSA COVID-19 protocols will be in place and have to be observed at the event as Rees added: “The best way to prevent person-to-person spread of COVID-19 is to use proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette and practice physical distancing and we will strongly enforce that protocol.”
RIBSA and the clubs will seek to ensure members understand the necessity of the restrictions, to minimise the risk of a reintroduction of the lock-down measures.
Members should be aware that these restrictions are not going to last forever, but they must live within them and be patient while they are in place.
Finally, during a Skype meeting with the RIBSA board it was announced the postponed AGM will now be held on Saturday 12th of September in the Ivy Rooms, Carlow at 12.30 pm.
The AGM was originally scheduled for May and then on the 15th of August but it had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 latest restrictions announced by the government.
RIBSA look forward to meeting its members at the AGM on the 12th of September, Subject to restrictions being lifted. RIBSA will keep everyone up to date.