LIMERICK bookie and expert pool player Neil Madigan has the backing of former world snooker champ Ken Doherty as he heads to the pool equivalent this week.
The Prospect man has qualified for the Irish pool team and is bound for Blackpool this Saturday and a spot at success on the green tables of the World Championships.
Neil, 29, a manager of Ladbrokes on Cecil Street, has been playing pool since he was 14 before making the team and playing at the European Championships last year, narrowly losing in the final.
He is the only player from Munster on the Irish team and believes they have a real shot in Blackpool.
â€œI canâ€™t wait to go over, this is my biggest achievement in pool - this is the highlight, you canâ€™t get any bigger than this, to play in the World Championships,â€ said the pool whizz, who plays in the Victoria Club.
â€œ I think it is the best team to go over there in years. They got to the final last year so we are seeded two this year; hopefully we will go one better this year.â€
Such is his prowess at the eight ball form, Madigan was invited to captain the European team earlier this year.
â€œI was asked to be captain of the European team in February this year and I couldnâ€™t go because of a lack of sponsorship,â€ he said, noting that Thomond Asset Management in Limerick are backing him to go to the World Championships this week.
â€œThat is why the support of Thomond Asset Management is so important - there is no way in the world I could go otherwise.â€
Neil, who coaches youngsters in the Vic with fellow Limerick players Robert Mulcahy and James Walters, says there is a real buzz about the tournament, and reveals that he got the backing of an old snooker pal when he was here recently for some exhibition matches.
â€œKen Doherty told the sponsors that they were backing the right lad, that I had a great chance of doing well over in Blackpool, he is supporting me all the way,â€ beamed Neil.