“Out-of-order Paddy, out-of-order…”
Paddy Browne, 55, was a mate of passionate WPBSA L2 Irish snooker coach Fin Ruane, who runs the Crossguns Snooker Club in Dublin.
Years ago, Ruane went to see Paddy and his good pal Ken Doherty play at a qualifying event at the Strachan Open.
It was a match between Browne and a Hong Kong player Franky Chan, which got a wee bit heated as a slight scuffle broke out after a frame, over a free ball.
Franky went to take a comfort break but realized the toilets backstage were out-of-order and went back.
Paddy headed to the same toilets also needing a comfort break. As he was heading there, he saw Franky, who uttered:
“Out-of-order Paddy, out-of-order.”
A scuffle broke out and it was only until Paddy had pushed Franky aside that he realized Franky, whose English was not great anyway, meant the toilets were out-of-order, and not him.
It was the talk of the players’ room after…
Fin, 50, on remembering the story well, said: “It was only when Paddy mentioned it after in the players’ room that the funny side of it came out.That moment was the talk of the players’ room for the rest of the day and is still remembered by some old school players these days.”
Paddy Browne’s pro career ended in 1997 after less than two decades with a highest ranking of 44 in 1987.
Chan, 55, had a highest ranking of 42 in 92/93 and was a pro between 1990 – 96. He ended up in the quarter-finals of the 92 Strachan Open.
This is just one snippet that Fin Ruane, a WPBSA level 2 coach, could recount to you during his decades of experience in snooker, which he’s been playing since 9.
Irish snooker has always been a hotbed for talent, although, has somewhat declined in recent years as his pal Ken Doherty reached the summit of Irish snooker pride in 1997 winning the World Championship.
It has declined since the 2000s he said.
Ruane told SnookerZone why he believes Ireland has had a decline in players playing the game and not breaking through the professional ranks and the numbers he said have been in decline since the 2000s.
He said: “You could put it down to several factors such as clubs closing and playing costs, etc. But I do feel the National Association must shoulder some blame. I feel a lot of the effort had gone into just sending players to international events just to make up the numbers whilst the players who needed help and encouragement were ignored.”
China’s snooker conveyor-belt…
Ruane also has been to China and can understand why there is a hotbed of talent churning out, as the country believes in the game and invests in top-notch facilities. It’s even on the curriculum in some schools and there are also snooker schools.
Ruane added: “I was fortunate enough to visit China several years back for a snooker event and I paid a visit to one of the numerous new snooker academies. Walking around that venue and watching the juniors go through their paces on professional Star tables made it very easy to understand how China is churning out new talent at almost every other snooker event.”
“I feel once this approach is taken only then will we see a continuous conveyor belt of emerging talent that will no doubt keep the home nations players amongst the best in the world. With Jason Ferguson leading the way with the WPBSA it’s only a matter of time before we see this.”
Raising awareness on mental health not only in sport and physical activity is vital in the world of today.
— Fin Ruane ⭐️ (@finsnookercoach) May 21, 2020
If you’ve come to learn and play snooker, switch that phone off…
Ruane insists that juniors who come to him turn their phones off. It is a bugbear of the modern world. With kids hooked on tech, and constantly the tech developing at a rapid pace, it’s difficult to keep kids engaged for long enough, admits Ruane.
But Ruane adds: “The world is a different place now. The kids have more things to do, and every possible sport is available to them. But unfortunately, so too are mobile devices. Kids spend too much time gaming and playing with their phones that sometimes concentration levels are hard to maintain.”
“Before I hold any junior lesson whether it group or solo I insist their phone is switched off. Sometimes, I’m met with a face of bewilderment or frustration, but it’s impossible to hold a lesson with their device pinging every 15 secs !!”
Watch an interview with the Darling of Dublin below…
But as Ruane says, the Irish snooker scene is slowly making ground again and with the likes of World Senior players such as Michael Judge and Rodney Goggins, and a new face on the pro tour Aaron Hill, this can only give juniors encouragement to want to aim for the top.
Ruane adds: “It’s up to the National Association (RIBSA) now to try to help Aaron as best as possible to help ease the financial strain that playing on the tour involves.”
A good Judge of talent..
Ruane doesn’t generally coach female players regularly but last year he held a lesson with Michael Judge’s sister Paula Judge and he had this to say about Paula.
“Paula is a fantastic player who I hope she doesn’t mind me saying this, doesn’t realize how good she actually is. Her brother is ex pro and current UK senior champion Michael Judge so the snooker talent runs in the family.”
Finally, Fin Ruane, aside from loving snooker, also is an avid reader of American history and politics, and boasts to owning 45 books on the American Presidents in his office at home. He’s also a Liverpool fan.
Fin’s family has had a long association with snooker as three generations of the family were involved in the running of Crossguns.
On the memorial page to Finbarr senior, it reads: “On the 18th May 1992 Irish Amateur Snooker lost without doubt one of it’s greatest ever servants.The passing of Finbarr Ruane Snr after a long illness stunned the snooker community not only on these shores but right across the snooker world. From the moment he began working with his father in law Christopher Carroll in CrossGuns in the early 1960’s Finbarr’s involvement in snooker grew from strength to strength. Under his leadership league and cup wins became a regular occurrence to the club, under his watch, good players such as Pascal Burke, Paddy Browne, and Eugene Hughes became great players.