Nenagh’s New Institute Snooker Club is celebrating one of its most succesful years, with players successfully taking part in many major competitions and representing Ireland.
The club started 2014 on a high, after its A team, consisting of Brendan O’Donoghue, Tom Gleeson, Paudie Kelly, Mark Walsh, Tony Seymour and Andy McCloskey, along with team manager Mark Coonan, became Munster Club Champions in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney. This was a particularly important victory for the club, after losing out in the final to the Crucible Club in Cork in 2013.
The club also sent B and well C teams, mainly consisting of juniors. Both were eliminated at the group stage.
Leah Kelly and Emily Talbot became the first girls to play in the championships, while Leah along with her father, Paudie were the first ever father-daughter combination to play. Noel Gleeson became the youngest ever player in the championships, at just nine years old.
The A team returned to Killarney in February for the All-Ireland Club Championships, but bowed out at the semi-final stage to the Q Club of Wicklow.
The 2014 Munster Close Championship was held in Nenagh in March, with New Institute victorious in this event, as Borrisokane’s David Hogan defeated Cork’s Ryan Cronin in a pulsating final.
The New Institute was also hosted a Republic of Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association Intermediate ranking event in March. This event saw Portroe’s Andy McCloskey claim top honours and propel himself up the Irish Snooker standings in the process.
The club hosted a special one-off 24-Hour snooker marathon fundraiser in May, which helped to raise some badly needed funds for the club. Former professional snooker player and Nenagh native Brendan O’Donoghue volunteered his services and played the full 24 hours for the club. The funds raised were used for the refurbishment of two out of the five snooker tables, as well as a donation being made to a local charity. Brendan’s first opponent was club chairman, Patsy Farrell. Brendan had invited a number of fellow snooker players from across Ireland during the course of the marathon. These included 2013 European Team Masters Champion, Mark Tuite, former Un21 World Champion Rodney Goggins and Shane Gorman, a regular on the Irish snooker scene. The standout guest appearance was Munster and Ireland rugby international Donnacha Ryan. Unable to play due to a foot injury, Donnacha was in the club for a number of hours throughout the afternoon.
Tom Gleeson was on international duty in May, representing Ireland at the European Masters Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria. Tom eased through the group stages of the competition, losing out at the quarter final stage to former professional Darren Morgan.
Brendan O’Donoghue and Mark Walsh ensured that the National Doubles Snooker Championship title returned to the New Institute for the second year in succession. The 2014 RIBSA National Doubles Championship was held in the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club in Carlow. Also representing the club were Tom Forde and Jason burns, who unfortunately failed to advance from their group.
Brendan O`Donoghue and Wexford’s Rodney Goggins were Ireland`s number one pairing for the 2014 World Team Championships in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in June. After victories over France, South Korea and Egypt 13 in the group stages, Brendan and Rodney qualified to the last 16 where they were defeated on a scoreline of 3-1 to India 2.
The New Institute hosted the second annual Nenagh Open in late September. The defending champion was David Hogan. The event was sponsored by The Abbey Court Hotel. The final was contested between Borrisokane’s David Hogan and Wicklow`s Robert Murphy, with David keeping his title.
On Christmas Eve, Mark Gleeson, 14, became the first junior to win three straight U16 Scratch titles in the New Institute since 2001. The last player to emulate this feat was Damien Shoer. Big club players, such as David Hogan and Andy McCloskey have failed in this period to achieve this feat earned by Mark on Christmas Eve. Mark defeated Jake Byrne 3-1 in the final, in front of a packed audience.
The New Institute Snooker Club has been known over the years to have numerous club members representing Ireland in various snooker competitions across the globe. However, this year the club was privileged to have our member and RIBSA referee Breda Doherty represent Ireland on the international stage. Breda, from Horse and Jockey, was asked to referee for World Snooker at professional level at the Q School in England, while also refereeing players such as David Morris and Stephen Maguire at a ranking event in Lisbon.