Irish Masters 2005 A

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CRYSTAL CLEAR FOR ICE COOL RONNIE

Ronnie O'Sullivan insisted that he felt no pressure when making a brilliant match-winning clearance to take the Failte Ireland Irish Masters title.
14 Mar 2005 00:33:00

The Rocket lifted the crystal trophy after a thrilling 10-8 defeat of Matthew Stevens at the Citywest Hotel. The Welshman looked set to pull back to 9-9 when he led 68-0 in the 18th frame, only for O'Sullivan to produce a brilliant 69 clearance.

"I just wanted a decent chance," said the 29-year-old from Chigwell, who has won three ranking events in a season for the first time in his career. "It wasn't the easiest clearance but there were no reds on the cushion - they were all there.

"It was just a question of keeping the cue ball under control but under the circumstances it was a good clearance. I didn't feel any pressure at any point in the match."

Despite taking his third Irish Masters crown, O'Sullivan was not content with his performance. "I played well in the early part of the match, but from 6-1 Matthew played a lot better," added the world No 1 and world champion.

"There is satisfaction in winning, but I'm not really satisfied with the way I played. I found it difficult to enjoy the match because it's not much fun when you're not playing to your potential.

"I made a few bad shot selections which helped him back into the match. I should have been refusing certain shots but my head was in a jam jar at times. I least I know where I can put things right, I need to be more cautious."

Carmarthen potter Stevens was denied his second ranking event title but is pleased with the progress his game has made in recent weeks.

"I gave the best player in the world a run for his money so I've got to be happy with that," said the world No 6. "Hopefully I'll have another good run in the China Open and I'm really looking forward to Sheffield. I'll keep putting the work in on the practice table.

"At 6-1 down I was just hoping to make the scoreline respectable, I let him get too far in front. Then a 6-3 I felt I had half a chance. At 6-6 it was anyone's game but in the end Ronnie showed what a great champion he is.

"I had a slight kick on a red to the middle (in the 18th frame) at 68-0 and that cost me."

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