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.


snookerfan92 said...

I hope Ken doesn't retire, he still good enough to beat most of the top players. Will Ken be commentating during the 2009 World Championships?

Anonymous said...

Ken must find back to his form and gain enough self-confidence otherwise he will have massive problems adjusting to the conditions while playing his qualifiers in Prestatyn. I hope he'll succeed but it's not going to be easy by any means.


Anonymous said...

I seem to remember Doherty winning a series of events at Prestatyn a couple of years back where he won a car.
Seemed to like the North Wales air then.

Devil's Advocate said...

I hope Ken Doherty can rediscover his form, to at least get himself back in the top 32.

He has done a solid job as a pundit/commentator this season (irrespective of the hoo-hah surrounding the use of ex-players) but although being 39 doesn't make him a youngster anymore, I don't believe Ken has reached the past-it stage either.

As Dave said, it wasn't long ago that he was in contention for the No.1 spot in the rankings, and only this year pushed Ronnie O'Sullivan all the way in the last 32 in the Northern Ireland Trophy.

His form might have dipped significantly since then, but it shows that he still has the capabilities - something he needs to bear in mind next year as another bad season could see him relegated from the circuit.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Ian Doyle will invent a world tour for former Irish world champions where he will be the number one seed, followed by Dennis Taylor.

Second thoughts, forget that. Alex would have to get an invite as well!

jamie said...

It is a dramatic plunge for a very fine player but not a great one. In my opinion he has not been a serial winner to be a great player. He has only won one of snookers 'big three events'.

Anonymous said...

It might sound like a cliche but I think he was too nice - lacked the killer instinct. But I always enjoyed watching him and hope he can come back from the brink.

Anonymous said...

Not sure it'll be easy for Ken to come back from a low ranking position and thats why he has hinted at retirement after the 2009/10 season.

Anonymous said...

he WAS a great player!!!!

he was very close to the top spot for several years.

out of the millions of people who play the sport and out of the handful (in comparison) who have won the world championship (and been close to number one) he is obviously great in comparison.

maybe not as great as a select few, but hes a world champion. If you dont class that as great, then fair enough, but id say most folk think that a world champion and top 4 player is a great one WHEN PUT IN PERSPECTIVE

JohnH said...

Longevity in the top 8, a world title, several other ranking titles, hundreds of centuries in competition, Multiple Runner up spots in the Master, Uk, and World Champs make Ken a great player- surely comfortably in the top 20 on the all-time list!

Anonymous said...

i think thats what i "said", but using different words

ok, its about opinion of what is considered great, but when you put into perspective what is average, even for a professional, then ken was GREAT.

some folk just seem to want to type something and dont actually think things through for a minute before submiting

Anonymous said...

Ken Doherty is one of the greatest players of all time. He was about the last person you'd expect to go through a slump because he's always had such a solid game. Therefore I believe it's premature to write him off because he is definitely one of the best 16 players in the world today.

His game has deserted him for the time being but it's in there somewhere and something could spark it at any moment.

I think his proclamation of retirement if next season is bad was taken a bit out of context in the media. I expect he believes deep down that there's no way he'll only win 2 matches next season and he'll be back where he belongs in the top 20 this time next year with a further 5 seasons before he's outside the top 32 again. You heard it here first!

I wouldn't describe myself as a Doherty fan but I like the man and respect the player enough to know you can never write him off. Yes he's nice but in the same way as Dennis Taylor he's a fierce competitor demonstrating an inner nastiness!

John A

Dave H said...

Ken's comments were reported in context - the context of being asked if he would be back next season and him answering the question.

And they weren't blurted out rashly: he'd obviously given it plenty of thought.

Ruthie said...

I'm as shocked as anyone to see Ken slip down the rankings so quickly. But he is a bona fide celebrity in Ireland and I think will always keep busy. He expressed an interest in a media career even when in his prime, and wanted to train to do it properly. I think his good work ethic and personality will help - he has more to fall back on than many players in this respect. But I would still love to see him play his best again.

Anonymous said...

I bet he will never forget that black he missed in the 2000 master's final, i can't believe it was that long ago.

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget watching that - one of my greatest snooker memories. I think it had a big impact on him.

Anonymous said...

Ruth is actually quite close to how things might play out.

I was with Paul Wallace on Saturday and Ken's name came up.

Now if Wally can become a TV star, it will be a doddle for Ken! An Irish Gary Lineker?

I wouldn't be surprised.


Sammy@SnookerSceney said...

He'll be remembered for 1 thing, that black miss on 140!
To be honest though, I think Ken's next season will be his last.

Anonymous said...

true fans will remember him winning the worlds more than that, though they will remember that too, but hes more loved than loathed, so even the majority of those who remember him for a negative moment will do so with regret that he missed

Anonymous said...

"He'll be remembered for 1 thing, that black miss on 140!"

Only if your worked for B&H and were desperate to get rid of that gawd-awful yellow Honda!

Anonymous said...

That is like saying Steve Davis will be remembered for his missed black against Taylor, something he now refers to as his 'old friend'. Ken will be remembered as a great and deserved World Champion. My greatest memory of him was the year he was runner-up and all the fantastic comebacks he made, in particular against the late great Paul Hunter.

Anonymous said...

well said 10:38 anon

its amazing what some folk will post because they want noticed, or cant think of something constructive to say.

jamie said...

if people are saying ken doherty is a great player then you would argue Peter Ebdon is but im not

Anonymous said...

Peter Ebdon is a great player but a boring one.

Anonymous said...

agreed anon 6:40

obviously theres only a very very small amount of great players going by that persons opinion of what the word great means in this context.

jamie said...

If you band the word great about wily nily then it becomes devalued. Greatness for me is about players who have been authentic number ones or serial winners neither Ebdon or Doherty are this. In my opinion there are five great players playing today, Hendry, Davis, O'Sullivan, Williams and Higgins. I find it disrespectful to these players for Doherty and Ebdon to be lumped in. They have only three majors between them, in tennis I would not consider one player great if he had only won three grand slams.

Anonymous said...

i couldnt care less if you think my opinion or what i consider greatness to mean is disrespectful.

i think they are great players. others do, others dont. everyone entitled to their opinion without some folk saying its disrespectful. get a grip!

Anonymous said...

Jamie the players you mention are simply the best, Ebdon or Doherty are not in the same class but i still regard either player great players.