One country other than Ireland that is very close to my heart is Qatar in the Middle East.
I had the pleasure and honour to be the national coach of Qatar from 1998-1999 and from 2003-2008 which in my opinion is one of the best jobs in the world of snooker.
In those exciting years I met incredible people and players in Qatar and all around Asia.
I attended Asian Games, GCC Championships, Arab Championships and Asian Championships with the Qatar team. I coached the players at training camps in Ireland, Thailand and the UK.
I established the junior academy in Qatar back in 2003 and began coaching in schools. These players have went on to bring get honour to Qatar over the years. I developed the ranking tournament system to qualify players for international events with great prize money which in part was sponsored by the Qatar Olympic committee who fund all sport on Qatar.
The Qatar team were also invited to play in the Home Internationals Snooker Championships in Pontins against England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland where they gained valuable experience playing some of the best players who have progressed to the pro game.
I feel a part of me is still Qatari as living in Doha for so many years made it more than just a job because everyone within the Qatar Federation was focused on developing pool and snooker in Qatar.
Qatar is now one of the leading countries within the Asian federation with the general secretary in Muburak Al Khayarin promoting the game all around Asia.
I know the federation has a new president this year in Mohammed Al Ramazini and I would like to wish the Qatar Federation the best of luck in the future and who knows an Ireland v Qatar world final might one day happen. Here are some memories over the years!!!
Slamalekcum to all my friends in Qatar.