The Darling of Dublin under the spotlight…
Interview by Jonathan Davies
Abroad – What is your favourite holiday destination?
It would have to be Australia – I have family there, I love the lifestyle, they have beautiful beaches, it’s cosmopolitan and the people are great. But, in Europe, Florence is the nicest place I’ve been to so far.
Book – What is the last book you read?
I’ve just finished Keith Gillespie’s book – How Not to be a Football Millionaire. It was a real eye-opener into the world of football, his life and his gambling addiction. I’m reading one about Pablo Escobar now.
Cue – What cue do you use?
It has no name on it, but I bought it when I was 11 for £2 and still have it today – it was certainly a good investment.
Day – What happens in a typical working day for you?
I get up between 7 and 7.15am, we have breakfast together and our son will tell us about his day ahead at school. I drop him there for about 9am, get to the practice room at about half 9 and stay until around 2pm, collect him and then the day starts! It’s then down to the Tennis centre for him to play, I’ll go for a swim and wait until he finishes. We get home about 7pm for dinner and then I put him to bed.
Education – How would you get on in a pub quiz?
I haven’t been to a pub quiz for a long time, but I do enjoy them. I would say I have a decent general knowledge of all sports because of having my own radio show, which I do every Saturday morning when I’m at home.
Film – What is your favourite film?
There’s so many, but I’d say Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction and Smash.
Goals – What are your aims for this season?
To try and play the best I can.
Hobbies – What are your interests away from the table?
I’m a big Manchester United fan; I play football twice a week and love Golf. I also like Tennis and Poker.
Idols – Who are yours?
Alex Higgins for Snooker and Roy Keane for Football. Also, Muhammed Ali, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.
Job – What would you be if you weren’t a snooker player?
I would have liked to be a professional footballer – that would have been my dream. I scored a goal in a charity tournament at Old Trafford about three years ago – that’s the closest I came!
Kid – Were you a well-behaved child?
I was always out at the snooker club or kicking a ball around. I got a few slaps with the wooden spoon and I did get caught by the police once for robbing apples off the tree in someone’s back garden, but I was never getting into too much trouble.
Lucky – What is the biggest piece of luck you’ve ever had?
Having a healthy son, playing the game I love and making a lot of friends – I couldn’t have asked for much more than that.
Moan – What makes you have a good moan?
I moan all the time because of the way Man United are playing at the moment. If I don’t get any luck on the table then I have a little moan too, but that’s about it.
Nightmare – What is your worst moment on a snooker table?
That’s easy – missing the black for the 147 in the 2000 Masters final, I still have nightmares about that. It was for a beautiful Honda car that was at the foyer in the Wembley Conference Centre. I didn’t like the colour of it, though, so that’s my excuse.
Oops! – What is the clumsiest thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not really that clumsy, but my wife will probably tell you otherwise. Recently, I was in McDonald’s with my son and a few of his mates for his birthday. I was rushing up the stairs with the food and drinks and there was a fella coming the other way, so I was looking at him. I tripped and everything went all over the floor.
Picky – Is there anything you are particular about?
Appearance and time.
Quiet – How long could you last in a sponsored silence?
I don’t think I’d last too long – I’d either crack up laughing or wouldn’t be able to shut up. The lads in the commentary box always say that they have a day off when they’re working with me.
Retirement – What do you plan to do after hanging up your cue?
I haven’t got a clue, but I do like my radio show and sport in general so, hopefully, just something along those lines.
Shopping – Where do you buy your clothes from?
The Dundrum Shopping Centre in Dublin – there are some really nice shops there.
Telly – What are your favourite programmes?
I don’t like soaps or reality shows, but do watch dramas like Boardwalk Empire, Homeland and House of Cards. I’d rather just watch a movie, though.
Unforgettable – What is your greatest ever moment on a snooker table?
Beating Stephen Hendry to win the World Championship in 1997 – it’s something you dream about when you get your little table from Santa. I took the trophy to Croke Park, Lansdowne Road and Old Trafford – you can’t replicate something like that and have to enjoy it because it may never happen again and some players never have the opportunity.
Venue – What is your favourite venue to play at?
The Crucible – the atmosphere is fantastic when you see the signs coming into Sheffield at the beginning of the World Championship, it sends shivers down your spine.
Wheels – What car do you drive?
It’s a white BMW – I’ve had it for about six months and it’s hard to clean, but I love it.
X – If you could kiss any girl in the world, who would it be?
Halle Berry or Angelina Jolie.
YIKES! – Do you have any phobias?
No, not really.
Zzzzz – What puts you to sleep?
Watching Peter Ebdon (only joking!) and reading.