AARON Hill was the winner of the Don O’Donoghue Memorial snooker tournament held at the Crucible snooker club where the best in the country were on show for a guaranteed €1,000 first prize and the very prestigious honour of becoming the first player to win the tournament named after a snooker legend.
It was an intense two days of snooker which came down to the exciting semi-final matches on Sunday between Aaron Hill and Rodney Goggins from Wexford and the Crucibles Ryan Cronin who was up against Q Club Wicklow’s Mick Judge.
Considering that both Hill and Cronin were up against the current number one and two in the World of Masters one would think that it was a forgone conclusion, think again!
Hill left Goggins frameless in a 4-0 win and Cronin came from 3-2 down to knock in a 79 break to level his semi-final match and then win the deciding frame with a red on the table leaving Judge needing three snookers.
The wins set up an all Cork and an all Crucible final between two team and club mates in a sensational display of Cork snooker yet again.
The final was the best of nine frames with the winner needing five frames for victory and it couldn’t have started better for Hill winning the opening two frames, solid in the first frame, but given a chance by Cronin who missed a pink at a critical stage in the second frame.
The third frame was a bit scrappy with both players missing shots that they normally would get and Cronin put up a bit of a lead then Hill showed some incredible skill to dish up to win the third frame.
Cronin fought back in the fourth with an excellent 74 break to get a foothold in the final and time during the interval to think about how he was going to get himself back into this match.
Again the fifth frame was a bit scrappy with Hill taking the initial lead, but Cronin again bravely fought his way back into the frame forcing the match to a black ball and he eventually potted the black to make it 3-2.
The sixth frame was tight, but in the end Hill had enough to see it through needing just one frame for the championship.
Hill was tough as nails in the seventh frame dictating play up until the last two balls and was well ahead to win the championship 5-2 in some style.
Domestically the Crucible are on top of the County again last week when they won their ninth ‘Garry McCarthy McCarthy Trophies’ ‘Cork Billiards and Snooker Association’ (CBSA) Cork snooker league title in eleven years with a 3-2 win over Youghal CYMS in Fermoy.
This title is shortly followed by their All-Ireland success in Killarney when they defeated St. John’s of Limerick in a record time of one hour and twenty three minutes to seal an emphatic victory.
The night was obviously special for the Crucible, but a piece of Snooker history was made by its top star and current European champion Aaron Hill who incredibly lost his opening frame against his great rival Ross Bulman only to then knock in three consecutive century plus breaks of 104, 106 and 117 to seal the win in his game.
This is something the amateur game has never seen before in an official match, but for Hill to do this in a final beggars belief of what this sensational young man can achieve on the green baize.
In the end of a great final it came down to the last table between the Crucibles David Cassidy and Youghal’s Dylan Rees and in the end Cassidy came out on top for the defending champions to win his match 3-1 and send the title yet again back to the men from the Crucible snooker club who had the services of Stephen Walsh in the side along with Ryan Cronin and the excellent Greg Casey.
So the Crucible seem to have that special ingredient for success and have a second side full of very good players and that is vital at times like these when they can call on players to step up to the plate in top tournaments.
Hill has just been the sensation that everyone has expected, wins in Israel where he lifted his European title, champion of ‘All of Ireland’ earlier last year and now an All-Ireland club medal around his neck, plus a triple ‘CBSA Cork Close A’ winner and the ‘BetVictor’ shootout awaits this coming Friday in Watford where he takes on the Stepson of Mark Allen young Robbie McGuigan from Northern Ireland.
The frenzy in snooker terms that is the ‘Shootout’ I think will suit Hill perfectly. He can play fast and furious and he has the ability to be as methodical as anyone in a grinding frame, but in the ‘Shootout’ Hill will have to contend with shot clocks, loud audience inter-action and all the razzmatazz that is associated with this event.
I think Aaron Hill will love this event and he will certainly not be found wanting when it comes to putting on the spectacular shot or two.
Eurosport, Quest and World Snooker have released the television schedule for this event and with Aron Hill and Ross Bulman both involved it will be a fantastic watch for everyone involved in the game in Cork.