Julie Kelly from Wexford is our 2nd player on the all time list with RILSA, Julie joined RILSA in the mid 1980’s and immediately met with success as she gained ground on the national tour reaching many semis and finals of events. Julie would begin to win events taking the Dublin Open and Mary Raymond events in 1988 both against Margaret O’Driscoll. She would win her first ever All Ireland Championship title in 1990 at Celbridge with a 3-1 win over Cathy Gallagher from Northern Ireland and retain this title in 1991 against Aileen McCann at the Red Spot Newry. Julie added the National Championship title that year to finish on a high.
1992 would see Julie return to retain the National Championship title against Jean McGregor and make it 3 in a row in 1993 against Jean again. Julie reached her 4th final in a row in 1994 but it was Ann McMahon was would put a stop to her National title wins taking the match 4-2 however Julie was not to be put off and returned in 1995 to regain her National Championship title against Linda Brady. 1996 saw Julie dominate female snooker and take her 5th National title against Ann McMahon. 1997 she would equal her 3 in a row wins against Margaret Browne making it a total of 6 titles however she wasn’t finished yet as Julie made a return in 1998 to take her 7th National Championship title before taking up Pool in the USA. A total of 8 finals in a row winning 7 is an amazing achievement for her.
To date Julie holds the record of National Championship titles at 7, it will take some beating in the future but it’s not impossible. Julie represented Ireland at the Home Internationals in 1994 with Ann McMahon and Jean McGregor and again in 1995 with Ann McMahon and Greta Browne. On the European circuit Julie would play for Ireland in Malta in 1998.
Julie would play in 6 World Championships and a number of World ranking events that put her in the top 8 at 7th spot which is the highest ever World ranking for an Irish Player. She would reach the semis of the UK Championship in 1997 but her biggest achievement on the World Snooker Stage would come in 1994 when she would go on to win the World Plate Competition with an entry of 54 top players.
Over the years Julie would go on to win a total of 11 National Ranking titles to add to her already 7 National Championship wins, a fantastic result for the Wexford woman.
Julie would drop out of competition in 1998 and travel to the USA where along with her good friend Karen Corr make great progress in the World Ladies Pool. At the 2000 World 9 Ball Pool Championship in Quebec Canada Julie would qualify to the main event only losing one match in her group. It seemed that she was handed the short straw when she was thrown into a first round showdown with defending champion Shin-mel Liu from Taipei, despite the nerves generated by the big occasion, Julie came through on a 9-8 scoreline and realised that she had no cause for fear. Next up was Jannette Lee, a legend in American Pool, a woman who draws much of her income from appearing in advertisements and television chat shows. No problem Julie beat Jannette 9-7. She continued on her merry way, watched by TV cameras as she disposed of all comers from the US and Asia before coming up against her good friend Karen Corr in the final. The decider went down to the last black ball as the outsider from Enniscorthy completed a clean sweep to win the World Title. Fantastic achievement for Julie
On the National Rankings, Julie would finish Irish number 1 in 1995 and drop to 2nd in 1996 and stay in the top 8 for the next two seasons before bowing out from the Irish domestic snooker scene in late 1998.
Overall Julie’s success is a testament to her commitment and dedication to practice and her results show that she is one of Ireland’s top female snooker players and rightly deserves her place at the top of our list. She also played her part on the World Snooker tour and World 9 Ball stage.
Julie has 14 International Caps for Ireland.
Congratulations to Julie on all her success with RILSA over the years.