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brennan on cue in malta

Declan Brennan is the latest snooker star to emerge from this island after winning the European U17 title in Malta last week.

In a thrilling final, Brennan came from two frames down to beat English player Sam Harvey 5-4. A 43 break in the third frame restored Brennan's confidence and he then evened the scores in the fourth. No sooner had he got level than he lost the next two frames to find himself trailing at 2-4. Luck was with the young Newry player and, with Harvey unable to inflict the killer blow, he battled hard to pinch the next three frames and with them a memorable victory.

Brennan, aged 16, from Mayobridge, Newry, has trained at the RIBSA Academy of Champions in Carlow with national coach PJ Nolan. He started playing snooker at the age of six and by 11 had won Northern Ireland U12 and U14 titles. Around this time, he was presented with a cue by Ken Doherty when he became the youngest player to compete at the annual Pro-Am in Killarney.

Brennan was just one of a large Irish entry at the Doherty-organised 6 Red World Championship, held in the INEC, Killarney, before Christmas. After the 320 group matches, he was one of the few to make it through to the knock-out stages after a surprise victory over Shanghai Masters winner Ricky Waldren.

Making the last 16 were both Mario Fernandez and Jason Waters from Limerick. Fernandez, who had beaten Stuart Bingham earlier, went out to Joe Swail, while Waters lost to Mark Williams. Davey Morris scored one of the higher breaks at 75, but lost to Indian player Aditya Mehta. Vincent Muldoon went out to Nigel Bond.

One sensational result came in the early stages, when women's world champion Reanne Evans beat a tired John Higgins. Evans went on to make the last 32.

In the final, Mark Davis beat twice world champion Mark Williams 5-3. He twice trailed Williams by a single frame but from 2-2 was the stronger player, knocking in breaks of 71 and 65 on the way to clinching victory.

A new date will be fixed for last weekend's senior ranking tournament.