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Gary Hardiman (Professional Snooker Player)

garry_hard

IRELAND will have another professional player on world snooker’s Main Tour this year

By Stephen Leonard sport@echo.ie

Tallaght’s Garry Hardiman finally realised his dream of competing alongside the top 128 players on the globe after he was awarded one of just two ‘wild card’ places for the series.

It means that he will be battling it out in some of the game’s most prestigious tournaments like the British Open, UK Championships, Scottish Open and ultimately the Embassy World Championships.

For Hardiman it was the achievement of a goal that has driven him from the very first day he picked up a snooker cue.

“This is what I’ve been playing for, for the past 10 years” he told The Echo.

“I’ve been knocking on the door but have just kept hitting the bar”, he said.

The decision of the World Snooker Association to bring Hardiman on the tour was like an eleventh- hour reprieve for the Tallaght man who was seriously debating his future in the sport.

“This was it for me. If l didn’t make the Main Tour this time I was turning my back on the game and walking away” he said.

“It was such a make-or-break year for me l was sweating, waiting to see whether I would become a fully-fledged professional player or looking for a job.

“I’m 27 now and I’m not the youngest to make this tour so I really felt all along that if I got this opportunity I would take it with both hands. “And one of the reasons why I decided to compete in the World Championship qualifiers was because I saw that a wild card would be given for an exceptional performance here.

“I made it to round ten after winning eight matches on the trot and now it’s all paid off”, he said.

Certainly the support of sponsor Tom Delaney and the Spawell together with that of fellow professionals Fergal O’Brien and Ken Doherty have gone a long way to seeing Hardiman into the big time.

The first Irish man to gain a wild card on to the Main Tour and the only one in Europe to receive it this year, he will be going all out to consolidate his position here over the eight major tournaments.

The first, the LO Cup, will take him to Wales in September and will provide him with his first realistic chance of making a TV game.

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