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Pool championships expected to draw large crowds

POOL sports fans from the Mid-West region are in for a treat this Bank Holiday weekend when the Irish association’s Inter-County Championships comes to the West County Hotel.
The event brings together the finest pool players from all over the country and in all, up to 500 people between players and supporters are expected in the town for the event.
“The inter-county finals are the highlight of the pool calendar. This year, 22 men’s teams will battle it out for the most prestigious team title in Irish pool. Teams of nine players go head-to-head over three days, with the grand final scheduled to take place on Sunday evening. Every year, without fail, the grand finals produce drama and unexpected twists. This is unlike any other pool competition as the pressure of playing county pool in a steam-cooker environment can cause even the best to crack. When a county match is close with the winning post in sight, the atmosphere is absolutely superb,” John Magee, chairman of the Irish Pool Association, said.
All of the top players will be in action this weekend, with Irish number one Shane O’Hara leading the charge for his native Leitrim.
“Former European champion Stephen Dempsey is one of a number of top-class players on the Cavan team who are the defending champions. They are sure to face stiff competition from the other top-ranked teams, like Louth and Mayo. Astute observers have also identified Limerick and Tyrone as potential challengers,” he added.
As well as the men’s competition, there is also a ladies event, as well as U-15, junior (U-18) and U-23 competitions. “There is no senior Clare team but there is an U-18 Clare men’s team this year. There are also some natives of Clare on the Limerick team, so there is a need for local support,” John commented.
All events will come to a conclusion on Sunday evening. There is free admission to the event all weekend and anyone with even a passing interest in the sport is invited to come along.
This is the second year in-a-row that the pool championships have come to the West County Hotel and the chairman said the event was so successful in Ennis last year that they had no hesitation in coming back again this year.
“It is an ideal venue for the pool championship. Ennis is a great town and people who came to the event last year were impressed with Ennis. Close to 500 people came to the championships last year and we are expecting even more this year, so it is great boost for the local economy,” John added.

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