Ireland has long been a favourite stopping off point for the snooker circuit.
The old Irish Masters, particularly at Goffs, was one of the highlights of the season, mixing great snooker with great hospitality.
Now Galway becomes the latest Irish city to host a major tournament. The PTC Grand Finals, sponsored by Betfair, are the culmination of the marathon slog of 12 PTCs which packed the calendar earlier in the season.
Only 24 players – less than a quarter of the circuit – will contest the final stages, which means any player who has qualified can feel pretty good about themselves.
There’s a £70,000 first prize on offer but also valuable ranking points that those not in the field cannot accrue.
And the line-up is an intriguing mix of star names, established faces and lesser lights.
The only big names who haven’t qualified are Mark Williams, Mark Allen and Shaun Murphy, who won the title 12 months ago.
There’s reward for players such as Ben Woollaston, Andrew Higginson, Michael Holt and Tom Ford, PTC winners from lower down the rankings.
There is just one table, so everyone has the chance to shine. My only issue is the length of the final, which like every other PTC match is best of seven.
I think it should be best of 11 minimum to distinguish its importance and give it a bit of prestige (Murphy’s 4-0 victory over Martin Gould last year was over very quickly).
Still, here’s to Galway. There will be many other distractions during the week: the Cheltenham festival, St. Patrick’s celebrations and England v Ireland in the Six Nations most prominently.
But ticket sales for the weekend are reportedly good and hopefully the Irish snooker fraternity will once again turn out to support the climax of the PTC campaign.