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Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 13:45 UK

Maguire targets NI Trophy defence

Stephen Maguire
Maguire also beat Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy last year

Snooker's new season gets under way on Sunday, with Stephen Maguire defending his Northern Ireland Trophy title.

Scotland's world number two saw off Dublin's Fergal O'Brien 9-5 in last year's final at the Belfast Waterfront.

"It's an unbelievable venue and we had big crowds for virtually every match," the 27-year-old told

"It was so important to me to win last year because I hadn't won a tournament for three years and I'd forgotten what it was like to pick up a trophy."

Maguire played down concerns over a suspected cracked rib he suffered during a friendly game of badminton last month.


"There are a couple of shots I can't play at the moment, but it should be perfect by the time we go to Belfast, I'll have no excuses," he said.

All of snooker's top 32 players, as well as 16 qualifiers, are set to compete at the Belfast Waterfront from 24 to 31 August.

Among the leading contenders are world champion and number one Ronnie O'Sullivan, Shaun Murphy, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry, Dublin's Ken Doherty, Belfast's Joe Swail and Antrim's Mark Allen.

Order of play - Sunday, 24 August - best of nine frames:

1300 (all times BST)
Mark Williams (Wal) v Marcus Campbell (Sco)
Ian McCulloch (Eng) v Mike Dunn (Eng)
Dave Harold (Eng) v Ricky Walden (Eng)

Roll on, roll off (matches to immediately follow)
Matthew Stevens (Wal) v Alan McManus (Sco)
Stephen Lee (Eng) v Judd Trump (Eng)
Dominic Dale (Wal) v Adrian Gunnell (Eng)

Steve Davis (Eng) v Liang Wenbo (Chi)
Michael Judge (Ire) v Dave Gilbert (Eng)

Monday, 25 August - best of nine frames:

Joe Swail (NI) v Mark Davis (Eng)
Barry Hawkins (Eng) v Jimmy White (Eng)
Nigel Bond (Eng) v Stuart Pettman (Eng)

Roll on, roll off (matches to immediately follow)
Fergal O'Brien (Ire) v Michael Holt (Eng)
Stuart Bingham (Eng) v Rory McLeod (Eng)
Anthony Hamilton (Eng) v Andrew Higginson (Eng)

Ken Doherty (Ire) v Gerard Greene (NI)
Jamie Cope (Eng) v David Gray (Eng)

see also
NI Trophy set for Belfast return
21 May 08 |  Snooker

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