Irish Masters

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Irish Masters
Tournament information
Venue Ormonde Hotel
Location Kilkenny
Country Ireland
Established 1975
Organisation(s) World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
Format Non-ranking event
Final Year 2007
Final champion(s) England Ronnie O'Sullivan

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.


The Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament started out as a challenge match in 1975 between Alex Higgins and John Spencer. In 1976 and 1977 the event was staged as a four man invitational, and was replaced by the Irish Masters in 1978. Benson & Hedges continued their sponsorship with the tournament being played at Goffs, Co. Kildare. After tobacco sponsorship was outlawed in 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.[1] 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.[2][3]

The tournament has been dominated most of all by Steve Davis, who has won the tournament 8 times. It has only been 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 frames to 9 after his opponent, Ronnie O'Sullivan, failed a subsequent drugs test. 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.[1] There has been one further maximum break in 2007 by O'Sullivan,[4] but it is not included in the list of official maximum breaks.[5]


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


  • a Ronnie O'Sullivan was stripped of his title in 1998 after a 9–3 win over Ken Doherty, due to failing a drugs test by testing positive for cannabis.


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b Turner, Chris. "Kilkenny Irish Masters". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "O'Sullivan drives Hawkins to drink". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 28 March 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "O'Sullivan notches 147 in Ireland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Turner, Chris. "Maximum Breaks". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Hall of Fame". Retrieved 22 June 2013.