Category: galway

PTC Grand Finals – Day 2

So on to day two of the PTC Grand Finals. Tonight’s post won’t be as long as last nights one because I didn’t get to go to as many games, silly everyday commitments getting in the way.

In the morning session, the upset of the tournament took place when Jamie Jones managed to claw back a 3-1 deficit to beat the reigning world champion John Higgins. I did watch the match on TV though, and you could see from Jones’ face how much it meant to him, definitely the biggest win of his career, he’ll go on to play Andrew Higginson in the next round.

Ding Junhui managed to put away Ben Wollaston with the help of two centuries, 4-2. Though he managed 2 centuries, the rest of the game wasn’t Ding at his best and he’ll hope to improve in the next round where he’ll play Mark Selby

Stephen Lee then continued his good form to beat Micheal Holt 4-1.

The first match I saw was Robertson vs. Lisowski. The match started in quite exciting fashion, with both players putting in a few very decent safety shots. Robertson went ahead in the first frame but Lisowski managed to come back and draw to force a respotted black.

It looked like the black would go down after a few shots but Robertson missed a relatively straightforward shot to keep the game going. Robertson eventually took the frame and looked relieved to go 1 – 0 up. A fluke by Lisowski in the next frame wasn’t enough and Robertson held his nerve despite some poor play to go 2 – 0 up. The 3rd frame showed signs of what Robertson is capable of, when he took a few tricky reds to close up the frame, still, there were poor shots from each player and the match wasn’t looking like a classic.

Lisowski showed his frustration by breaking up a bunch of reds in the 4th frame, but tt ended up being to his advantage, as he was able to capitalise on the positioning of the balls to win the frame. 3 – 1, could we be in for another upset like earlier on in the Higgins game?

No. No we weren’t. Robertson sealed the deal in the next frame. In the post match press conference, he summed it up nicely, he said he didn’t play well, but a win is a win, you can hear his press conference in full here – http://soundcloud.com/moniquelimbos/ptcgfneilrobertsonr2

Next up was Perry vs. Dott. An interesting prospect and a tough one to call. The quality of snooker started off somewhat better in this one, with Perry taking the first frame. Dott replied instantly with a nicely taken red, and although he stumbled across the line, he made the score 1-1.

Next frame was Perrys with a well taken 84, which could easily have been much more than that, making the game 2 – 1. The 4th frame was a drawn out affair, ending up with both players exchanging safety shots on the green. It was finally decided when incredibly Perry, while escaping a snooker, not only potted the brown but the white as well, allowing Dott to clean up and level the match 2 – 2. By this stage the game had already gone on over an hour and it was looking like a long night ahead in the Bailey Allen Hall.

The next frame went back and forth, with a 67 from Perry enough to take the frame and go 3-2 up. The crowd getting slightly thinner as this game wore on.

The final frame should have finished earlier, when Perry had just to pot a single red to put the frame beyond doubt, but he missed it, something which seems to be happening a lot in this competition. Dott still needed a snooker to win the frame and he couldn’t get it, Perry taking a red to finish the game 4-2.

He’ll face good friend and pratice partner Neil Robertson in the Quarter Final. In the post match press conference he mentioned his disappointment that it has to be his friend Neil, but that’s the way it is. The while conference can be heard here – http://soundcloud.com/s-an-otuathaigh/joe-perry-post-match-press

That’s all for today, looking forward to some good games tomorrow, O’Sullivan is playing, as are Trump and Selby. Should be a cracking day.

PTC Grand Finals – Day 1

This morning saw the start of the PTC Snooker Championships Grand Final take place in Galway. I’m covering the competition for FlirtFM along with Dave Finn and Aisling Crowe.

Covering the competition for an actual radio station instead of just going to it as a spectator has its perks, not least of which, I have a press pass for the competition allowing me to use the media room, attend press conferences and most importantly, all the matches.

Press Badge

Most of our coverage can be found at http://twitter.com/flirtfmsport where we’re live tweeting all the matches, and reports are broadcast on Flirt FM throughout the day. I covered a few matches today, and I’ve decided to post my reports on them while they’re still fresh in my head.

Mark Davis vs. Tom Ford

This will officially go down as the first professional snooker match I’ve seen in the flesh. I quite enjoyed it it has to be said, though I would have loved to have had the dulcet tones of Steve Davis and Ken Doherty in my ear, BBC aren’t covering this event unfortunately, and Eurosport aren’t doing earpieces for the crowd for commentary.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting game. Davis raced ahead to a 2-0 lead and looked quite confident, but let Ford back into the game slightly during a scrappy 3rd frame. 2-1. After that though, Ford never really looked into the game at all, and Davis took a couple of very sweet long pots along with a break of 72 to take it to 3-1. It was a messy next frame with a good bit of safety play but Davis wrapped it up in the end.

At the press conference afterwards, Davis mentioned that he really liked coming to Ireland and would love to play more tournaments here. He also set out his stall by telling us he’s here to win, and will be very much going for it this week.

Xiao Guadong vs. Dominic Dale

This match I was very much looking forward to. I interviewed Dominic over the phone last week and found him to a really nice guy to talk to, I asked him a few questions to get a 5 minute interview and afterwards we just chatted about snooker for a while. Naturally I wanted him to do well.

Standing in his way was up and coming Chinese player Xiao Guadong. The pair have met once before with Dale winning and when Xiao arrived it was clear that there was something wrong with his left (bridging) hand, as it was heavily bandaged. All signs looked to be pointing towards a Dale victory.

However, someone didn’t send Xiao the script and from early on the Chinese player showed that he is capable of potting balls from anywhere on the table, sinking some delicious long shots. He started nicely with a break of 71 to take the first frame but showed maybe a small bit of inexperience by missing a straightforward black in the second, allowing Dale to level the match.

The momentum then shifted back to Xiao, he took the third 58-15 and then put in a very impressive 80 to make it 3-1. Dale still had some fight left and an excellently put together 72 left the game 3-2 giving Dale fans (like myself) some hope. It wasn’t to be though, Dale allowed Xiao an easy opener and he didn’t need to be asked twice, wrapping up the 6th frame and the match. 4-2 the final score.

At the press conference, Xiao explained (in somewhat shaky English) how he broke his hand, seemingly while sleeping. He was advised to take 3 months off, but disobeyed doctors orders to come and play the tournament. Seems to be have been worth it though, as he has a match against Judd Trump to look forward to on Friday.

Ricky Walden vs. Matthew Stephens

My report on this one will be short, because the match itself was short, a mere 45 minutes, Matthew Stevens never got a handle on the game and Ricky Walden looked very impressive, clocking up breaks of 66, 130, 95 and 131 to hammer Stevens 4-0.

After the game Walden was in a confident mood, saying that his break building is his strong point, and if his safety play goes right, he can beat anyone. Rightly so in my opinion, a very impressive performance and definitely someone to watch. He faces O’Sullivan in the next round and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he was to send the Rocket home.

Joe Perry vs. Fergal O’Brien

This game turned out to be the exact opposite to the one preceding it in terms of length, frames lasting on average 30 min+. It was a tough, grinding sort of a game with plenty of mistakes from both players. Unfortunately for the large expectant crowd hoping for an Irish win it was not to be, with Gentleman Joe taking the game 4-0. It could hardly be called convincing however, and if O’Brien had taken even a fraction of the chances presented to him it may have been a different story. To the disappointment of the crowd, O’Brien couldn’t buy a long pot and while he was in the balls repeatedly played out of position, or worse, rattled shots off the jaws to hand frames to Perry.

The real crushing blow came in the 3rd frame where O’Brien was well ahead, in fact, Perry required snookers. Perry played a few excellent safety shots and got right back into it with snookers on the blue. Any ball would have secured O’Brien the frame but he was again let down by his long potting and Perry took the frame on the black ball winning by the narrowest of margins.

Losing a frame in that fashion was never going to do O’Briens confidence any good and although he rallied well in the 4th frame with a 42, a 74 from Perry secured the win. Both players will be disappointed with their performance and Perry will know he’ll have to improve if he’s to challenge Graham Dott on Thursday evening.

 

So that’s it, those are the games I covered today, I wasn’t around for Lisowskis exciting 4-3 match or Stephen Lee’s convincing victory over Martin Gould, but the World Snooker site has reports on those if you’re curious, done up by the excellent Ivan from World Snooker.

I’ll be at some of the games for the rest of the week, and you can follow our coverage at http://twitter.com/flirtfmsport and likely here too in the evenings after the matches.

O2 Mobile Broadband – Strange Experience

I’ve recently moved into a new apartment for the summer months while I finish my work placement. The place is great, nice and compact, and about a 1 minute walk from work, sorted!

The cloud to all this silver lining is that the place had no tv or broadband. AGHH!! Terrifying I know!

After completing Halo 3 on heroic (using my computer monitor as a screen) we sorted out the TV, then set about sorting out broadband. Now I don’t expect to be living in the apartment I am in for more than a few months, so normal broadband isn’t really an option, I can’t sign up for a 12 month contract.

I had a look at the 3G mobile broadband options available around here and there were 3 options, O2, 3, and Vodafone. All weigh in at about 50 to 60 euro for the modem, and then 20 quid a month, or 30 quid if you’re looking at short contracts. Hmm, not ideal.

Luckily for me I then came across an offer that O2 are doing with HEAnet (Higher Education Associan NETwork) for college students. €13 a month on a 12 month contract, with the modem for FREE! Then, the real icing! €15 a month, on a 30 day contract that can be canceled at anytime! DING DING DING Jackpot!

HEAnet

Perfect, it’s only a measly 5GB of usage, but it should be enough for some lightweight usage. So off I went on my merry way to the local O2 shop in the centre of the city to sign up for this wonder deal, ID and proof of address in hand. I went up to the 8 foot tall shop assistant (seriously, the guy was huge!) and asked him about the deal. He was ready to get me signed up when he mentioned “€13 for 12 months”. Whoa!! Stop right there big guy, I want the one month contract thing! “That deal has been canceled since July”. “July?” I spluttered incredulously, “You mean in the last two days??”. “Yep” he replied and I left the store, heartbroken, not even giving the aspiring street artist clamoring for my attention so much as a nod.

As I reached my bike I realised I was standing outside another O2 shop, so I thought, I’d chance my arm, maybe they don’t know about the so called ‘canceling’ of this deal. One day (their computer system was down) and a couple of forms later, and I am now sitting on a 30 day contract with my free modem.Take that giant shop assistant.

o2

This turn of events really shocked me, one rep in one shop said one thing, while in another shop, quite literally 50 yards up the road said another, and processed my application without any trouble. The mind boggles. I suppose the moral of the story is to shop around, even if the shop is a different outlet of the same company.

Anyway, the heel of the hunt is that I now have my mobile broadband and am looking forward to trying it out on my bus journey later. I might post a review on this site depending on my experiences

modem

Volvo Ocean Race Stopover – Galway

I went down to the race village last night for the first time, to see the Hothouse flowers and generally get a feel for the place. I have to say, I’m very impressed. They’ve done a great job, it was a lovely evening and there were loads of people just milling about.

One thing I noticed, food stands. Everywhere. And we’re not talking just your usual burger and chips. Every stand had something different, pies, spuds, organic teas, anything you can think of. A great selection.

After seeing them on TV, my main priority was to take a look at the boats themselves. especially the green dragon. I got some photos too.

green dragon

green dragon

They are really impressive things the boats, and apparently loaded with tech.

Of course, there’s only so much looking at boats you can do (check out my flickr page for more photos) and we moved then toward the big main stage to see the entertainment, and the Hothouse Flowers put on a great show.

Hothouse Flowers

Hothouse Flowers

We then retired to a local establistment to consume some recreational beverages. But not before I took this photo of the Ocean Race boats’ masts with the moon in the background.

Masts

Masts

All in all, it’s a great event, the team behind it, Let’s Do It Galway have done a brilliant job in creating a real party atmosphere and something Galway can really be proud of.

Of course, 70% of people there have never set foor on a sailing boat in their lives, any old excuse for a party eh?