Irish snooker fans get big break
Dublin will play host to top-flight snooker after a six-year gap next year -- it was confirmed yesterday that the final of the inaugural Players Tour Championship will take place at DCU's Helix Theatre on March 16-20.
The event, which will include a lucrative €236,000 prize fund, will feature the top 24 ranked players on the PTC Order of Merit.
The new 12-event series featured events in England, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic this year and produced 12 different winners -- including Mark Williams, Ding Junhui and John Higgins.
World Snooker's last event in Dublin was the 2005 Irish Masters and a spokesman said: "We are absolutely delighted to bring top-level snooker back to Ireland, where the popularity of the sport is strong and we know we will be well supported.
"The Helix is a fantastic arena and will generate a sizzling atmosphere. The PTC is a cornerstone of the exciting new era for snooker and Dublin will provided a fitting stage for its conclusion."
Masters champion Mark Selby said: "It's been quite a few years since we've had an event in Dublin, but I know how much the fans love snooker in Ireland and all the players will really be looking forward to it."
Players were required to enter a minimum of six tournaments in a combination of three events at the Academy in Sheffield and three in continental Europe. That restriction will mean that despite finishing in the top 10, Ding and Higgins will miss out on a trip to Ireland.
The 24 players in action are: Shaun Murphy, Selby, Barry Pinches, Marcus Campbell, Judd Trump, Williams, Dominic Dale, Stephen Lee, Tom Ford, Stephen Maguire, Michael Holt, Liang Wenbo, Martin Gould, Marco Fu, Ricky Walden, Anthony Hamilton, Stuart Bingham, Jack Lisowski, Jamie Jones, Andrew Higginson, Mark Davis, Matthew Stevens, Gerard Greene and Joe Jogia.