Today is St. Patrick’s Day so best wishes to snooker’s Irish contingent.
That said, they may be drowning their sorrows rather than celebrating today. For the first time since 1990, there will not be a Republic of Ireland player competing at the Crucible this year.
Fergal O’Brien, Michael Judge and, of course, Ken Doherty all failed to qualify.
Davey Morris, Vinnie Muldoon and Joe Delaney were all beaten in the qualifiers as well.
The World Championship will feature three players – Mark Allen, Joe Swail and Gerard Greene – from Northern Ireland.
I find Doherty’s sudden decline shocking. Two years ago he went to Sheffield with a chance to become world no.1. He will start next season something like 43rd.
Nobody goes on forever but this rapid plunge down the rankings is surely the fastest any snooker great has fallen.
Ken could retire tomorrow and still be satisfied with his career. He was but a callow youth when he made the trip over to the UK to live and practise in Ilford.
He remains the only player to have won the world title at professional, amateur and junior levels.
But at 39, he rightly believes he still has several years ahead of him.
I hope he does but he himself has said he will retire if he can’t rediscover his form.