Last weekend I had the honour of coaching the RIBSA Junior team to win the 2014 Celtic Challenge for the first time since 2009 in the Terry Griffiths Matchroom in Llanelli. I believe the preparation was key in this victory as RIBSA had held three Coaching & Training Camps for the team in the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club in Carlow in the run up to this event where I coached the players and they received DVD's of their technique, training programs and sports audio to work on their mind fitness. This annual event features the best six Irish and Welsh Under 14 and Under 16 players. All players play two frames in each match and each frame won was added together from the six sessions.
This year's event was one of the most dramatic in the history with after a dramatic final session win for the Irish over a talented Welsh team. Wales won the first two sessions to build up an early lead, Ireland won session three to fight back and session four finished level. The Irish team showed their mental toughness and won the last three sessions to win the match 74 frames to 70 and claim the title for the first time in Wales after other victories previously were in Ireland. Star performer on the day for the Irish was Under 14 National Champion Fergal Quinn who won 11 frames out of the possible 12 frames. Star on the Welsh team was Tyler Rees who won 12 frames from 12 but it was Gordan Pantall from the Welsh Billiards & Snooker Association who presented the team captain Charlie Sweeney from Newbridge CYMS with the Perpetual Cup.
I would like to thank the Irish Team Manager Brendan Cooney from Youghal for all his assistance and to RIBSA Referees Tony Thorpe, Paddy Hanafin, Gordon Pantall. The Welsh Association and The Terry Griffiths Matchroom in making the event such a big success.
Session 1 : Ireland 10 - Wales 14
Session 2 : Ireland 11 - Wales 13
Session 3 : Ireland 13 - Wales 11
Session 4 : Ireland 12 - Wales 12
Session 5 : Ireland 13 - Wales 11
Session 6 : Ireland 15 - Wales 9
The Under 14 Team
1. Fergal Quinn - Cookstown
2. Sean Devaney - Letterkenny
3. Aaron Goldrick - Cavan
4. JJ Monaghan - Navan
5. Corey Ramsbottom - Carlow
6. Ronan Whyte - Letterkenny
The Under 16 Team
1. Charlie Sweeney - Newbridge (2014 Captain)
2. Jason O Hagan - Castledawson
3. Darragh Cusack - Dublin
4. Shane Hourihane - Cork
5. Eamon Harkin - Letterkenny
6. Ross Bulman - Youghal
Well done to all the players and I am so proud of you all but we now start planning to work on defending the title in twelve months in Ireland so remember the team meeting on the boat. Everyone involved in RIBSA congratulated the team and the Congratulations flew in from all around the world to the players on their fantastic victory. Our new RIBSA Chairman John Doherty was one of the first to ring and congratulate the boys on the day,
Well done Ireland!!!