THE National Senior Snooker championship title is the only one to evade a Cork cue-man.
Two players over the years have come close to winning it and they were the excellent Stanley Murphy, who was runner up to Joe Canny in 1999, and a full decade previous to that Anthony O’Connor was runner up to Ken Doherty.
Cork snooker really wants this one knocked off the list and see a Cork man become part of a very historic roll of honour.
The first Republic of Ireland National Senior Snooker final was played in 1927 and was won by TH Farey.
Each year the event has got bigger and bigger and nowadays the National senior champion is offered a place in the IBSF World Amateur Championship.
This senior championship is still the one all players want to win and have their name on the cup with all the other great champions.
In the early years a few players dominated the championship with players like Seamus Fenning winning it six times in 1933, 1935, 1939, 1949, 1954 and 1955 and he also lost in three finals.
W. Browne won it three times 1952, 1956 and in 1961.
PJ O’Connor won also won it three times in 1937, 1942 and in 1951 and Jack Rodgers won it in 1963, 1964 and lost two finals in 1966 and 1967.
In the modern era only two players have won it four times with Martin McCrudden winning it in 2001, 2009, 2010 and 2014 and Davy Morris winning it in in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2019.
Five others have won it three times like Dessie Sheehan in 1969, 1970 and 1980.
Jason Watson won it in 1991, 1992 and 2002.
Vincent Muldoon won the title in 2007, 2008 and 2012.
Brendan O’Donoghue won it in 2003, 2015 and 2017 and TJ Dowling won it in 1997, 1998 and 2016.
A number of players have won it twice like Eugene Hughes in 1978 and 1979.
Pascal Burke was the winner in 1974 and 1976.
Gay Burns in 1985 and 1986. Ken Doherty in 1987 and 1989. Joe Canny in 1996 and 1999.
Kilkenny’s David Morris is the only player to even win it three years in a row in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and was presented with the old perpetual cup.
One wonders if it is still possible for Aaron Hill to play in this event, now that could certainly give Cork a real fighting chance of lifting this very elusive title.
There may just be a loophole to let Hill into this event due to dates for the beginning of the tournament prior to Hill turning professional.
Meanwhile, former snooker star Willie Thorne has died at the age of 66 after a short battle with illness.
A message on Thorne’s GoFundMe page read: “It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I have to officially announce that at 1.55am this morning Willie Thorne lost his battle and passed away.”
Thorne, who announced he was battling leukaemia in March, had been placed into an induced coma in hospital in Spain over the weekend after suffering respiratory failure.
He reached two World Championship quarter-finals and won his only ranking title, the Mercantile Credit Classic, in 1982.
He later commentated on the sport for the BBC, and appeared on the fifth series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The message, written by Thorne’s carer Julie O’Neill, continued: “Willie went into septic shock and was not responding to any treatment so the decision was made by the hospital to turn off the machines.
“I was with him all the way to his end and reading out messages to him from people.
“He passed away very peacefully and without pain listening to his children saying they love him - that gives me some comfort in this difficult time.”
World Snooker responded by tweeting: “We are deeply saddened to hear that the Great WT himself, Willie Thorne, has passed away at the age of 66. It’s a great loss to our sport. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. RIP Willie.”
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: “I had the pleasure of managing the Great WT as part of the Matchroom team in the 1980s. He was a larger than life personality and he was a major part of the rebirth of snooker at that time. It’s so sad to hear he has passed away and our thoughts are with his family.”
Thorne’s friend Gary Lineker was among the first to pay tribute, tweeting: “Deeply, deeply saddened to hear that my friend Willie Thorne has passed away. One of life’s great characters. A marvellous snooker player and a lovely man, who’s potted his final black much too soon. RIP Willie.”
The Republic of Ireland National Senior Snooker Championships Roll of Honour since 1970
1970: Winner Dessie Sheehan – Runner Up P Thornton
1971: Winner Dessie Sheehan – Runner Up Jim Weber 4-3
1972: Winner Fergus Murphy – Runner Up Dessie Sheehan 4-3
1973: Winner Fergus Murphy – Runner Up Joe Bannister 4-3
1974: Winner Pascal Burke – Runner Up Paddy Miley 7-1
1975: Winner Fred Nathan – Runner Up Jim Weber
1976: Winner Pascal Burke – Runner Up Larry Watson
1977: Winner Jim Clusker – Runner Up Fergus Murphy 6-1
1978: Winner Eugene Hughes – Runner Up N Lowth
1979: Winner Eugene Hughes – Runner Up Dessie Sheehan
1980: Winner Dessie Sheehan – Runner Up Tony Langhan 5-3
1981: Winner Tony Kearney – Runner Up Paddy Miley 8-6
1982: Winner Paddy Browne – Runner Up Dick Brennan 8-4
1983: Winner Jimmy Long – Runner Up Paul Ennis 8-5
1984: Winner Paul Ennis – Runner Up Jimmy Long 8-6
1985: Winner Gay Burns – Runner Up Ken Doherty 11-6
1986: Winner Gay Burns – Runner Up Damien McKiernan 8-3
1987: Winner Ken Doherty – Runner Up Richie Nolan 8-7
1988: Winner John Buckley – Runner Up Stephen Murphy 8-7
1989: Winner Ken Doherty – Runner Up Anthony O’Connor 8-4
1990: Winner Stephen O Connor – Runner Up Richard McHugh 8-4
1991: Winner Jason Watson – Runner Up Joe Canny 8-5
1992: Winner Jason Watson – Runner Up Douglas Hogan 8-3
1993: Winner Colm Gilcrest – Runner Up Jason Watson 8-7
1994: Winner Mick Kane – Runner Up Tommy Gleeson 8-4
1995: Winner Tommy Gleeson – Runner Up Paul Ennis 8-5
1996: Winner Joe Canny – Runner Up Shay Clinton 8-1
1997: Winner TJ Dowling – Runner Up Garry Hardiman 8-6
1988: Winner TJ Dowling – Runner Up Douglas Hogan 8-3
1999: Winner Joe Canny – Runner Up Stanley Murphy 8-3
2000: Winner Rodney Goggins – Runner Up Gary Hardiman 8-7
2001: Winner Martin McCrudden – Runner UP Brendan O’Donoghue 8-5
2002: Winner Jason Watson – Runner Up Tommy Gleeson 8-2
2003: Winner Brendan O’Donoghue – Runner Up Martin McCrudden 8-5
2004: Winner Davy Morris – Runner Up Rodney Goggins 8-4
2005: Winner Davy Morris – Runner Up Brendan O’Donoghue 8-2
2006: Winner Davy Morris – Runner Up Brendan O’Donoghue 8-2
2007: Winner Vincent Muldoon – Runner Up John Torpey 8-2
2008: Winner Vincent Muldoon – Runner Up Gary Hardiman 8-2
2009: Winner Martin McCrudden – Runner Up David Hogan 8-6
2010: Winner Martin McCrudden – Runner Up Vincent Muldoon 8-6
2011: Winner Jason Devaney – Runner Up David Hogan 8-6
2012: Winner Vincent Muldoon – Runner Up Martin McCrudden 10-5
2013: Winner Michael Judge – Runner Up Robert Redmond 8-5
2014: Winner Martin McCrudden – Runner Up Michael Judge 7-3
2015: Winner Brendan O’Donoghue – Runner Up Robert Murphy 7-2
2016: Winner TJ Dowling – Runner Up Jonathan Williams 7-3
2017: Winner Brendan O’Donoghue – Runner Up Rodney Goggins 7-3
2018: Winner Michael Judge – Runner Up Rodney Goggins 7-5
2019: Winner Davy Morris – Runner Up Josh Boleau 7-3.