SNOOKER | Dugdale crowned Embassy Open snooker champion

Winner ends David J McArdle’s hopes of three-in-a-row

David J McArdle and John Dugdale pictured before the Dundalk Embassy Open final on Tuesday night. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN

David J McArdle’s hopes of winning a third successive Embassy Open title were ended on Tuesday night as John Dugdale overturned a two-frame deficit to win 5–3 in a repeat of the 2013 final.

McArdle, who beat Dominic O’Connor 5–0 in last year’s decider, looked like he was on track to retain the trophy when he recovered from losing the opening frame to pull 3–1 ahead.

Dugdale’s first frame break of 33 handed him the initiative early on but the experienced McArdle levelled matters on the pink in the second before closing out the third with a break of 48.

It looked like Dugdale was left with a mountain to climb when he presented McArdle with a chance to pounce in the fourth frame but he responded with breaks of 40 and 32 to draw level.

The turning point came in the seventh frame — the most intriguing and controversial of the match.

With 10 reds left on the table, McArdle snookered his opponent behind the brown, leading to referee Ciaran McIntyre calling foul and miss on five occasions.

Twenty points in arrears, Dugdale finally found an escape route at the sixth time of asking and, to his credit, managed to regain his composure and hit a break of 46 to take control of the frame.

Johnny converted a fluke yellow and then a green to leave McArdle needing two snookers but a miss on the blue proved costly for the defending champion as Dugdale capitalised to clean up and edge in front, four frames to three.

And Dugdale repeated his victory from four years ago by tying up the eighth frame with a break of 27 to seal the title in style.

As well as winning the tournament, Johnny also recorded the Embassy Open’s highest break of 76 in his quarter-final victory over James Dullaghan.

The tournament organisers would like to thank sponsors Tony’s Pizzeria and The Bouncy Castle Company for their support in running the competition.

Dundalk Embassy Open winners 2012–2017

2017: John Dugdale beat David J McArdle
2016: David J McArdle beat Dominic O’Connor
2015: David J McArdle beat Brendan Traynor
2014: Aidan Kinsella beat Liam Rainey
2013: John Dugdale beat David J McArdle
2012: Stephen O’Hanlon beat Christy Cooney

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