David Hogan*

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Q&A: David Hogan

www.worldsnooker.com

The Irish 21-year-old looks forward to his debut season on the World Snooker Tour.

How did you feel when you won the European Championship to earn a place on the professional circuit?

I was delighted, I couldn't get over it. It's a dream. The season starts with the qualifiers in three weeks and I can't wait.

How did you feel going into that tournament?

I'd finished third in the Irish rankings so I needed to win it to get on the pro Tour, it was all or nothing. But I felt quite relaxed and did a lot of practice routines in break-building with my coach PJ Nolan. I lost my first game in the group stages because I damaged my tip, but then I beat Alex Borg and after that my standard improved in every match. I tried to take it one match at a time and not think about winning. I was lucky in the last 16, I came from 4-3 down to beat Sean Bullock 5-4 on the pink. I was up against Tony Drago next and he was playing well, but I beat him 5-1 then won my semi-final 6-0. I went to bed the night before the final and thought to myself that I might not get another chance like this for a few years. I was playing another Irishman, Mario Fernandez, and the first session was bad snooker, I was 3-2 up. Then in the second session I made 60, 70 and 100 to go 6-2. I sat down in my chair and thought 'this is it.' But then he made 90 and 60 to get to 6-4. I made a 50 in the next frame, and although he got a few snookers, I finally won it on the brown.

Who have you been practising with to prepare for the pro Tour?

I play a lot with Brendan O'Donoghue who finished top of the Irish rankings. I also go up to play against Fergal O'Brien, Michael Judge, Colm Gilcreest and Davy Morris at their club. They are all very tough to play against which is good experience for me. I've also had some advice from Vincent Muldoon who played on the Tour last season but dropped off.

Which of the top players do you most admire?

In terms of entertainment, Ronnie O'Sullivan. I also like John Higgins - I won a team competition at his club and it was great to chat to him. To qualify for a venue and play against one of those would be unbelievable.

How did you do at school?

I did my primary and secondary levels and passed all my tests. I didn't really enjoy it but I wanted to pass my tests to have something to fall back on. My teachers were always interested in my snooker and they will be following how I get on now. Some of them were at my house when I got home after winning the European - there were about 70 people there for a big party. I've had so much support locally with some fund-raising events, which has been brilliant.

Do you support yourself with another job?

Yes I work weekends as a taxi driver in County Tipperary for my family's company. It's great because I've got Monday to Friday to practise snooker. The only drawback is that sometimes on Sundays I work late nights so I don't get to bed until 1am.

Do you have any hobbies away from snooker?

I love cars and motorsports. I also used to play a lot of hurling and Gaelic football for my local team, but I gave that up three years ago because my hands are too precious now!

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