The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Association had yet another busy year in 2017 with many new initiatives and events packed into the 12 months.
Back as far as 2004, RILSA only held the National Amateur Championship along with 6 ranking events each year. Since the revival of RILSA over 50 events have been held in 2017 alone such is the success of the Association in a very short period.
The resumption of the National Amateur Championship with 5 ranking events in 2014 saw the expansion of the Association from 40+ players in the 1990’s to a staggering 593 members in just 3 years to date.
With our promotions into Schools, Youth Reach Centres, RILSA has gone from strength to strength and is now the largest women’s snooker organisation in the World.
Intermediate Snooker was introduced in 2014 with a National Championship followed with 6 ranking events which has really took off with many new faces taking up the sport at this level.
The Junior initiative through our school’s and scholarship scheme has seen 120 young players make it onto the National Junior Girls circuit in 3 years. The National Primary School’s Championship along with the National U21 Championship has made a fantastic leap forward for girls coming into the sport.
The introduction of the National Special Needs Championship with over 70 players from two schools alone make up the core of this important initiative by RILSA as we move into the 5th year of promotions in this area in 2018.
The National Women’s Masters, National 6 Red Championship have all helped bring more women and girls into the sport.
2017 will be a landmark year for RILSA as we had the largest ever entry to the National Championship with 78 players taking to the green baize, compared to the male entry of 62 players at their National Championship, who would ever see the day that women’s cue sports in Ireland would overtake the male numbers on the National circuit, just amazing success and this is all attributed to the fantastic team at RILSA.
Women’s Billiards made its inaugural entry to the RILSA Calendar in 2015 with the introduction of a National Women’s Billiards Championship followed by 4 National Ranking events in 2016. The Billiards tour has been very successful in the short period, having 14 players now take up the sport. We will see this area continue to grow in the years ahead and standards rise.
The Intermediate National Billiards Championship was a welcome new event during the year and we will further develop our billiards section in this area in 2018.
At County level, RILSA has seen 4 County Championships in 2017 with Carlow, Offaly, Dublin, and Kildare make progress. Carlow Sports Partnership has come on board with an annual sponsorship that will certainly help Carlow women and girls continue to play cue sports, again this is due to the strong promotion by RILSA at County level. We will continue to promote the sport at this level and we are already looking at adding, Meath, Tipperary, Laois and Kilkenny to the list in 2018.
2017 saw our 3rd successful International Irish Open at Joey’s Dublin with players representing, Ireland, UK, Albania, Brazil, Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria and Uganda.
Since last May 106 women and girls have come out onto the National Circuit to play Snooker & Billiards through RILSA’s initiatives and this makes for 310 female’s in the last 3 years alone, unprecedented in our time, if we go back over the past 40 years, we only had about 100 women that took up the sport here in Ireland, from 1978 to 2013, we must be doing something right!
2017 IN PHOTOS