| 16.1°C Dublin

Legends cue up for snooker academy opening

FORMER world snooker champion Ken Doherty yesterday opened his new academy with the help of a few fellow legends -- and his mother, of course.

Doherty was joined by a host of names including Jimmy White, John Parrott, Cliff Thorburn, John Virgo and Michaela Tabb.

But it was his mother Rose Doherty who did the honours and cut the ribbon at the Ken Doherty Snooker Academy.

Based behind Brady's Pub at Terenure Cross in south Dublin, the club has everything a budding or professional snooker player could want.

But it is a far cry from the dingy, smoke-filled snooker halls remembered by many of these legendary players.

There are several flat-screen TVs on the walls along with colourful prints featuring scenes from famous movies including 'Goodfellas', 'Scarface' and 'Pulp Fiction'. Upstairs is more lavish, and comprises of six full-size snooker tables in plush carpeted surroundings.

Doherty hopes to dispel the stigma of snooker clubs being "dingy and dark" and hopes that "it will be a very social place", one where "mothers and fathers will feel very safe with their children".

A large championship snooker table takes centre stage, and Doherty will practise there on a daily basis.

The club and academy aspires to produce the next Irish world snooker champion and will also target foreign markets to bring the world's best talent to Dublin for intensive coaching.

"It's always been a dream of mine to establish a club and academy where I could pass on the benefits of the experience I've built up," Doherty said.

"I think I can help people to realise their potential in the game, if they are really committed and focused."

Irish Independent