THE 2020 International snooker challenge cup will definitely go ahead in October according to the ICC chairman Robert Murphy.
He is confident the event, in its ninth year, will take place in Northern Ireland in Cookstown or alternatively the Republic of Ireland with a venue in the south of the country in mind.
There have been huge contributions from Cork cue-men over the years adding to the domination by the Republic of Ireland team who this year will be going for four wins in a row.
Players like Brendan Cooney and Noel Landers from Youghal, Greg Casey from the Crucible and many more besides have all been important players for Ireland over the years in this four Nation snooker event that has caught the eye of World Snooker and the EBSA along with the support of the Republic of Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association.
“It goes ahead and I have spoken to Northern Ireland, Scotland and France and they are all up for it and delighted that the 2020 ICC will be played.
"We will discuss the format for the event, like the playing match times, team numbers and all the special arrangements for the opening and closing ceremonies.
"Our committee is completely focused on the safety measures that are required such as sanitation, social distancing and a good common sense approach to the organisation and smooth running of the event.
"The ICC has been a huge success since the very start and we have been to France, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Belgium and Youghal CYMS on three occasions, so it has a real place in the heart of Cork snooker. We were very much in doubt last March if the 2020 ICC would go ahead, but now we are confident after much discussion the event will go ahead as planned."
Meanwhile, tomorrow in Sheffield the qualifiers for the 2020 World professional snooker championship started yesterday and two Cork players will looked to progress into stage two of the qualifiers were Aaron Hill and Ross Bulman will give it their all to try and get closer to the dream of playing at the Crucible at the end of the month.
Speaking on behalf of RIBSA, acting chairman Dylan Rees from Youghal CYMS, said: “RIBSA want to wish the two boys the very best of luck in the qualifiers and it would be fantastic if they went on to qualify in Sheffield.
"Aaron and Ross have been outstanding representatives for RIBSA since their earliest years playing in the Celtic Challenge, representing Ireland all over the world and being very much part of the RIBSA family and everyone in the governing body is behind them and very proud of what they have achieved in the game so far and wish them both every success in their snooker careers.
"Aaron of course is now a professional player and a three-time European champion and has caught the attention of everyone in the game. Ross went so close last year at Q School and this year he is back to try a go one further. What Ross achieved at underage in the game here at home has been outstanding and I am sure he is another player who is within touching distance of a professional career. Ireland salutes the two boys and I know that they will fly the flag with pride over in Yorkshire and with a run of the balls who knows."
Snooker is back, at last, is the general feeling as RIBSA announced the re-open snooker tournament featuring 32 players at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow and the interest has been so high a second 32 player event has already been pencilled in for mid-August.
Understandably players are itching to get back into some competitive snooker and this could be the perfect way to tune players up ahead of the national finals which will be played towards the end of the year.
The Crucible snooker club has also put together a 32-player tournament and have had a fantastic response and next week in Echo snooker we will talk to club manager David Joyce about the tournament and the players involved.
Finally, this week as the qualifiers are in full flow in Sheffield for the World snooker championship the toughest event of them all takes place in August and that is Q School.
Cork has three players involved in Q School, Ross Bulman, Greg Casey and Ryan Cronin who all go in search of the elusive two-year tour card and for Bulman who last year was just one frame short of qualifying will hope to get a good Q School under his belt yet again.