Limerick pool champ makes big splash in Blackpool

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

LIMERICK’S pool sensation Robert Mulcahy was never behind the eightball when he helped Ireland win the World Championship.

LIMERICK’S pool sensation Robert Mulcahy was never behind the eightball when he helped Ireland win the World Championship.

The victory means Robert is now the only Irishman to have three World Championship winners medals – two senior and one junior.

This reporter has made a balls of a few interviews – but I have an excuse on this occasion. Some of us fancy ourselves as pretty handy with a pool cue so I decide to interview the Caherconlish man while playing a frame. How good could he be?

I turn on the dictaphone and break off. I ask Robert how old was he when he started playing.

“Around two,” he says as a red disappears.

I turn around to his mum Kathleen who says she bought him a miniature pool table for Christmas when he was a year and nine months.

“I didn’t see him until the following March,” she laughs. Back to the table and a couple more reds have vanished.

Robert makes the superfast Ronnie O’Sullivan look like the plodding Steve Davis. The pockets accept the balls like a beggar does change. The black goes in and it’s game over. His skill has to be seen to be believed.

In the final he was the only player to break and clear the table in one go. He did it in 50 seconds.

But Robert almost didn’t make the finals in Blackpool. For years he has traversed the country playing ranking tournaments against the top 300 players to get in to the top 10.

But this year as he works in the family pub, Mulcahy’s on Main Street, Caherconlish, he gave it a break.

“The manager John Magee rang me up asking would I play in the trials in Cavan. I said I’d go and I won it so that’s how I ended up on the team,” said Robert, whose mum and dad are Pat and Kathleen and he has four younger sisters Sarah, Sinead, Olivia and Vicky.

He practising three hours a day in the run-up to the championships.

“The English team we beat in the final - most of them would be professional so you have to put in the work. They’ve won it eight times in the last nine years.

“They were 6-1 on with the bookies. It’s like putting Joe Canning, Eoin Kelly and Henry Shefflin – all the best hurlers in Ireland - on one team and try and beat them,” said Robert.

And they did – in no small thanks to Robert as he beat one of the best English players without giving him a chance at the table.

A talented hurler and tennis player in his teens Robert concentrated on pool when he went to an All-Ireland pool tournament at 16 not having played much and he made the semi-finals.

“I remember thinking I can’t be too bad,” he said. Robert runs big pool tournaments every couple of months and has raised a lot for charity. Every night of the week locals play pool and often try and beat Robert.

Years ago there was a lot of talk about him being the up and coming Irish pool star. This didn’t go down well with a more experienced player.

“He’d be ringing me up to play for money. I wouldn’t really be in to that but all the lads were egging me on. They said they’d all put in 20 or 50 quid. We played for three grand each, nearly everyone in the village had money on but I beat him anyway. The place was absolutely packed!”

He wished to thank his good friend and practice partner Anthony Creamer, who he says was instrumental in getting him to this level, Kevin Flynn, who runs county tournaments, Newline Logistics for sponsorship and his girlfriend Maggie Lyons for helping out in the pub when he is away.