Day one of the Sportingbet.com World Series of Snooker in Killarney saw progress for each of the established names, although a couple were given scares by the invited Irish teenagers.
While Shaun Murphy (a 5-0 winner over Greg Casey) and John Higgins (who beat Andrew Gray 5-1) advanced with ease, Ken Doherty and Jimmy White were made to fight.
Indeed, Doherty, who trailed Tony Moore 4-2, could count himself fortunate after missing the pink in the decider and fluking a snooker.
Moore made contact but left the pink on and a relieved Doherty slotted it home for victory.
White was all at sea when he trailed Jason Delaney 3-0. He was guilty of some sloppy shot selections but won a tight fourth frame and the match turned round.
White made a century – not straightforward with only ten reds – and pounced when Delaney missed the black for 4-3, the Whirlwind going on to win 5-3.
So the semi-finals will pit Higgins v Murphy (again!) and Doherty v White.
Bad luck to the youngsters. At times, they each showed signs of great potential but it’s such a huge step up from the junior ranks to playing live on TV in front of a big audience against one of snooker’s best known names. If they felt nervous it was understandable.
The atmosphere backstage here is very relaxed and it was good to see such a sizeable crowd in as pro snooker returns to Ireland, always a stronghold for the game.
And hats off to Shaun for his interview skills. He has an ease in front of the camera that seems innate.
Higgins has his wife and three children here and Ken also has his wife and young son with him.
As it usually is in Ireland, this is a chance for a break as well as an opportunity to win a title.
The last Irish Masters was four years ago and many on the circuit still miss it.
Hopefully, this event can grow into a genuine replacement.