Ireland open their 8-Ball campaign in Germany

Saturday saw the start of the 8-ball Championships in Brandenberg.  There was a strong start for the Irish players with wins by Jason Power, who beat Matjaz Demsar (SLO) 8-1 and by Paddy McLoughlin who beat Kreso Ivan Kralj (CRO) 8-3.

Sunday dawned with Jason continuing his good form with a win against Jo Graff (Lux) before being unstuck by Belgian Serge Das.

Meanwhile Paddy faced Aki Heiskanen to qualify for the last 32 but the Finnish player ran away with it 8-1.  But Paddy had one more chance.  He needed to win his ‘loser qualifer’ round match against French number one Vincent Facquet.  The Warrenpoint man dominated, taking it easily in the end 8-4, to set up a last-32 match against ‘The Kaiser’ Ralf Souquet.  The 3-time World Champion took a 5-0 lead, and it looked like it was all over for the young Irishman.  Someone forgot to tell Paddy and he dug in deep, winning 5 from the next 6 racks.  A great cut shot on the 8-ball by McLoughlin, made it hill-hill.  Paddy broke, made a ball, but the rack wasn’t straight forward.  Eventually Paddy needed to bank a stripe the length of the table, but the ball lacked the pace and left an easy clearance for the Kaiser.  Despite the defeat, it was a great performance and showed how much Ireland’s number one player has moved his game forward.

But the best was yet to come, with former World Champion Fred Dinsmore putting in a solid performance against British player Matt Duffy, 5-2, making it to the Semi-Final in the wheelchair division, guaranteeing an 11th European Championship medal in as many years for the Dubliner.

The semi-final of the 8-ball takes place on Monday, as well as the start of the 9-ball championships.

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