Irish Masters

The Irish Masters was a professional snooker tournament. It was founded in 1978, following on from the successful Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament (alternatively known as the Benson & Hedges Ireland Championship). The final champion of the tournament was Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Irish Masters
Tournament information
VenueOrmonde Hotel
CountryRepublic of Ireland
Organisation(s)World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
FormatNon-ranking event
Final year2007
Final champion(s)England Ronnie O'Sullivan


Benson & Hedges Ireland TournamentEdit

The Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament started out as a challenge match in 1975 between Alex Higgins and John Spencer. The match initially carried a £250 prize for the winner and £150 for the runner-up, but both players agreed to a "winner takes all" format. Spencer scored two centuries (a 121 and a 109) and despite Higgins leading 7-5, Spencer won four frames in a row to win.[1] In 1976 and 1977 the event was staged as a four-man invitational.

Irish MastersEdit

In 1978 the tournament was re-named the Irish Masters and continued as an ever-present fixture on the snooker calendar until 2005. Benson & Hedges continued their sponsorship with the tournament being played at Goffs, Co. Kildare. After tobacco sponsorship was outlawed in the Republic of Ireland in 2000, the Irish government funded the event from 2001 and it was subsequently relocated to the Citywest Hotel, Saggart, Co. Dublin. The tournament was staged on an invitational basis for most of its existence but became a ranking tournament from the 2002/03 season. The event was dropped from the calendar in the 2005/2006 season.[2] In 2007, a three-day invitational event known as the Kilkenny Irish Masters was staged with 16 players. It attracted a strong field with 9 of the world's top 16 players taking part, with Ronnie O'Sullivan winning the title.[3][4]

The tournament was dominated most of all by Steve Davis, who won it eight times. It was won by Irish players on two occasions, Alex Higgins in 1989 and Ken Doherty in 1998. Doherty claimed the title despite losing in the final 3–9 against Ronnie O'Sullivan, as O'Sullivan subsequently failed a drugs test after testing positive for cannabis.[5] There was only one official maximum break in the history of the tournament. John Higgins made it in the quarter-finals of the 2000 event against Jimmy White.[2] There has been one further maximum break in 2007 by O'Sullivan,[6] but it is not included in the list of official maximum breaks.[7]


Year Winner Runner-up Final score Venue Season
Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament (non-ranking)[2]
1975   John Spencer   Alex Higgins 9–7   Dublin 1974/75
1976   John Spencer   Alex Higgins 5–0   Dublin 1975/76
1977   Alex Higgins   Ray Reardon 5–3   Leopardstown 1976/77
Irish Masters (non-ranking)[2][8]
1978   John Spencer   Doug Mountjoy 5–3   Kill 1977/78
1979   Doug Mountjoy   Ray Reardon 6–5   Kill 1978/79
1980   Terry Griffiths   Doug Mountjoy 9–8   Kill 1979/80
1981   Terry Griffiths   Ray Reardon 9–7   Kill 1980/81
1982   Terry Griffiths   Steve Davis 9–5   Kill 1981/82
1983   Steve Davis   Ray Reardon 9–2   Kill 1982/83
1984   Steve Davis   Terry Griffiths 9–1   Kill 1983/84
1985   Jimmy White   Alex Higgins 9–5   Kill 1984/85
1986   Jimmy White   Willie Thorne 9–5   Kill 1985/86
1987   Steve Davis   Willie Thorne 9–1   Kill 1986/87
1988   Steve Davis   Neal Foulds 9–4   Kill 1987/88
1989   Alex Higgins   Stephen Hendry 9–8   Kill 1988/89
1990   Steve Davis   Dennis Taylor 9–4   Kill 1989/90
1991   Steve Davis   John Parrott 9–5   Kill 1990/91
1992   Stephen Hendry   Ken Doherty 9–6   Kill 1991/92
1993   Steve Davis   Alan McManus 9–4   Kill 1992/93
1994   Steve Davis   Alan McManus 9–8   Kill 1993/94
1995   Peter Ebdon   Stephen Hendry 9–8   Kill 1994/95
1996   Darren Morgan   Steve Davis 9–8   Kill 1995/96
1997   Stephen Hendry   Darren Morgan 9–8   Kill 1996/97
1998   Ken Doherty *   Ronnie O'Sullivan Disqualified   Kill 1997/98
1999   Stephen Hendry   Stephen Lee 9–8   Kill 1998/99
2000   John Higgins   Stephen Hendry 9–4   Kill 1999/00
2001   Ronnie O'Sullivan   Stephen Hendry 9–8   Saggart 2000/01
2002   John Higgins   Peter Ebdon 10–3   Saggart 2001/02
Irish Masters (ranking)[2][8]
2003   Ronnie O'Sullivan   John Higgins 10–9   Saggart 2002/03
2004   Peter Ebdon   Mark King 10–7   Saggart 2003/04
2005   Ronnie O'Sullivan   Matthew Stevens 10–8   Saggart 2004/05
Kilkenny Irish Masters (non-ranking)[3]
2007   Ronnie O'Sullivan   Barry Hawkins 9–1   Kilkenny 2006/07

See alsoEdit


* Ronnie O'Sullivan was disqualified and stripped of the title in 1998 after a 9–3 win over Ken Doherty.
O'Sullivan failed a drugs test after testing positive for cannabis. Doherty was awarded the title.[5]


  1. ^ "Spencer "breaks" Higgins". Belfast Telegraph. 26 May 1975. p. 17.
  2. ^ a b c d e Turner, Chris. "Irish Masters". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b Turner, Chris. "Kilkenny Irish Masters". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  4. ^ "O'Sullivan drives Hawkins to drink". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 28 March 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  5. ^ a b Ian O'Riordan (7 July 1998). "O'Sullivan stripped of Irish title". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  6. ^ "O'Sullivan notches 147 in Ireland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  7. ^ Turner, Chris. "Maximum Breaks". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Hall of Fame". Retrieved 22 June 2013.