TWO young Donegal cueists will be participating in the World Snooker Championship 2018 which gets underway in Jinan, China, next week.
Letterkenny’s Sean Devenney and Ronan Whyte, Ardara, are both members of the North West Snooker Club in Letterkenny.
Devenney (17) was a member of the Irish U18 team at the World Championships in Belgium two years ago while Ronan (18) was on both the U18 and U21 Ireland teams for the 2017 Championships, also held in China, twelve months ago.
Sean Devenney is looking forward to putting his skills with a cue to the test against the world’s best.
The fifth year student at Coláiste Ailigh has been selected as a member of both the national junior and U21 teams.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
Devenney is no stranger to the international stage, as a 13-year-old he was selected in the national team for the Celtic Challenge in Wales (both U14 and U16 level) and in May he was the runner up in the National RIBSA U18 Snooker Championship final.
The winner that day, Aaron Hill and fellow Cork man Ross Bulman are the other two players who will join Sean on the three-man U18 team in China.
Sean travels to China on Sunday with his father Aidan, who is also his coach, and fellow North West Snooker Club member Eamon Harkin.
“I’ve learned a lot since I took part in the worlds in Belgium two years ago. I was beat in the last thirty-two then,” he said.
“The target is to reach the last eight or last sixteen – to do better than the last time,” he added.
Sean has reached five national finals since Christmas and while he has yet to go on and win one he’s more than happy with his game.
“I’m going well this year. It’s my best year since I started playing. I just need that little bit of luck now to finally get across the winning line,” he said.
“You learn from every defeat. It’s all part of the learning curve. It’s part of life,” he added.
Sean works part-time in Century Cinemas and lives in Ard Na Ri with his parents Aidan and Bridie and younger brother PJ (10).
“Next year is a big one (Leaving Cert). Ideally I would like to be able to play snooker full-time but to do that I have to get through Q School to earn a place in the professional ranks,” he said.
He is training hard for the event in China where he hopes to replicate his highest break of 140.
“I’ve been practising five or six hours a day. It’s an indoor sport and I’m not too bothered about the nice weather outside. The work has to be done on the table,” he said.
Sean has been practising quite a bit with Ronan Whyte while he also plays regularly against his father.
“Ronan’s a top notch player and if I can’t do well in China then I hope that Ronan does,” he said.
While Sean played soccer when he was younger snooker remained his favourite game and his ultimate aim for the future is to play in the world championships at the Crucible Theatre, in Sheffield.
“Dad bought a miniature snooker table one Christmas and I moved on from there to going down to the club. I played soccer for a few years but all my focus now is on snooker. It’s the best decision I ever made,” he said.
Sean’s father Aidan is also a talented player. He reached the last 16 stage of this year’s Irish national senior championship.
“He’s my coach. He puts all his time into making me a better player and I’m determined to do him proud in China,” he said.
The 2018 IBSF World U18 (Men) & U21 (Men & Women) Snooker Championships, hosted by Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association, run from 2 July till 11 July.
Posted: 1:00 pm June 29, 2018