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Maynooth's Ryan McGuirk is 3rd Level Snooker's All-Ireland Champion!

On Saturday 2nd March two All-Ireland Champions were crowned for 2024, a Cup Champion and a Shield Champion.  They rose to the top from a 16 player double-elimination competition, (losers of the first round entered the Shield competition), held in the fantastic Celbridge Snooker Club in Co. Kildare.  

On this occasion both winners came from the ever strong University of Maynooth Snooker Club, Ryan McGuirk as the Cup Champion and Blake Monahan as the Shield Champion.

The strong field was made up of players from University of Maynooth, SETU Carlow and TU Dublin.  The draw ensured that no players from the same institution played each other in the first round, which helped make the competition a great way of testing everyone's skills against students they hadn't played before.

That didn't work out so well for Jack Scully of SETU though as he was faced with the task of defeating one of Ireland's representatives at the upcoming European u21 Championships in Bosnia, Ryan McGuirk.  It didn't happen for Jack but he admits that he got the best view in the house to watch Ryan compile a fantastic break of 110 to progress from their 1st round match.  An amazing achievement in any situation!

Adam Halnon of Maynooth is also representing Ireland in Bosnia in a couple of weeks and he also raced through his matches, setting up an exciting final between Ryan and himself.  This final would be played on Fergal O'Brien's superb STAR table, which he kindly permitted to be used for the final whilst he was participating in the Snooker Legends event in Goffs.

In the Shield Blake Monahan shook off the disappointment of losing his first round match to Brian Purcell of SETU to progress to the final where he would meet Sin Chun Hei, (Jeremy), of SETU.

This is where the tension reached a peak but it didn't impact on the quality of both finals, there was some outstanding potting and tactical play on both tables.  In the Shield final Blake raced into a 2-0 lead but Jeremy refused to back down and claimed the 3rd frame to keep the match alive.  Alas for Jeremy, Blake regained his composure and secured the title by taking the 4th frame.

The Cup final followed a very similar pattern with Ryan settling into his groove early to take a 2-0 lead over Adam.  In fact it looked like the title had been secured by Ryan in the 3rd frame when he left Adam needing a snooker with only the pink & black remaining.  Adam is a battler though and he managed to get the snooker he needed and cleared both remaining balls to bring the final to a 4th frame.

The club was buzzing with anticipation and excitement at this stage as these 2 fantastic players served up some sublime shots for the big crowd who had gathered.  Again the 4th frame came down to the final black.  After some well-thought tactical shots it was Ryan who was left with a mid-range shot on the black into the yellow pocket to secure the title.  He sank it with aplomb and so became the 2024 All-Ireland Snooker Champion.

Ryan was warmly congratulated by his excellent opponent Adam Halnon and all of the other players, as was the spirit of the competitions overall.  Ryan and Blake then received their Cup and Shield from the owner of Celbridge Snooker Club, Phil Martin and the founder of, Steven Scully.

This was a fantastic event that all players enjoyed and are already looking forward to in 2025.  If you're interested in also getting involved please contact your Sports Officer or Student Sport Ireland.

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