Gloria Ruane, Des Campbell & Anne Jones – First females to represent Ireland at the 1976 World Ladies Snooker Championship in Middlesboro UK

Competitive female cue sports in Ireland was unheard of until the late Des Campbell got involved and sponsored the inaugural Women’s National Snooker Championship in 1963.

Des a table supplier and fitter to the Irish market was well known in the snooker and billiards community throughout the Country and indeed on the International stage.  His love for the sport was evident through his many years on the Control Council, helping everyone who wanted to play either for fun or competitively.

Des was instrumental in setting up the Irish women’s snooker Association of the day.  He continued his support and sponsorship of the Ladies National Championship for almost 20 years until the Ladies Leinster Billiards and Snooker Association was established in 1982.  This Association was to flourish in its 4 years until they became the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association in 1986 and remains to this day, continuing on the great work and foundations laid all those years ago by Des Campbell.

The inaugural National Championship took place at the Golden Metro in Bray Co Wicklow in 1963 with an entry of 16 players. Mary Connell took the first ever National Ladies Snooker Championship title.  Des would continued to promote and support female cue sports in the years ahead and held the National Championship at the Golden Metro in Bray for many years which was only one of a couple of clubs in Ireland that allowed women in at that time.  The late Mary Connell set the standard with great play and high break of 79 during those early years and held the highest competitive break until Julie Kelly broke it in 1994 with a 96 break in competition.

Des was to the fore in 1976 when Gloria Ruane and Anne Jones represented Ireland at the first ever World Championship held in Middlesboro UK where the girls did us proud, it was the start of many World, European and International events that would see many women represent their country in the years ahead.

We at the Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association recognise the great work that Des Campbell did for female cue sports especially during a time when women were banned from almost every club in the land but his resilience and dedication to make change is really appreciated by us in RILSA and we thank him for everything he did for female cue sports in Ireland.