Published Tuesday, 24 April 2012
"Well you certainly put the scud on Mark Allen" but following his comments at the end of the game on Sunday I'm starting to think he put the scud on me.
In my last blog I commented on how it was good to see Mark Allen speaking his mind and causing a stir but I can't agree with him this time, in fact I distinctly remember shaking my head and uttering the word "D'oh" in a manner befitting Homer Simpson when I read his comments.
Following his first round defeat to Cao Yupeng the Antrim man accused the 21 year old Chinese player of playing what he called a "blatant" push shot and not bringing it to the referee's attention.
Allen then went on to say that he believed it was a "trait amongst Chinese players", that comment could land the Antrim man in very serious hot water with the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and leave him with a fine and possibly a lengthy ban.
Barry Hearn, who is no stranger to a bit of verbal jousting with Allen, has given his thoughts on the matter and was less than complimentary about the Northern Irishman.
I found Allen's row with Barry Hearn entertaining and found the gag stunt in one of his press conferences highly amusing but I'm now starting to wonder if he should have taken the same approach following Sunday's loss.
I understand that Allen had just finished playing and was immediately thrust into a press conference while emotions were still raw and I understand he has a history of making controversial statements but I was shocked nonetheless.
I know this may sound hypocritical given my last blog but there is a difference between causing a stir, in the case of his spat with Barry Hearn, and his comments at the weekend.
As much of a fan as I am of Mark Allen I was disappointed in his comments, there is a place in snooker for a character but Allen is in danger of quickly becoming the pantomime villain. I don't want to see Mark going into his shell but maybe he just needs to stop and think for a second before he lands himself in any more trouble or loses himself any more fans.
On a different topic, I had the privilege of seeing Brian O'Driscoll playing for Leinster at Ravenhill last Friday night. It was the first time I saw the Ireland captain in the flesh and was very excited, though not nearly as excited as my wife at the thought of seeing arguably the best northern hemisphere player of his generation.
They say you can't appreciate greatness until you see it live and although he didn't have his most productive game against Ulster I can certainly agree with that sentiment. The guy just has an aura about him. He can be out of sorts for long periods in a game then out of nowhere produce a magic pass or a penetrating run.
It was certainly bittersweet on Friday, on the one hand Ulster lost and will now miss out on the play offs in the RaboDirect Pro 12 but on the other my wife and I can say we saw the great Brian O'Driscoll play before he hangs up his boots.
In a strange way, what made O'Driscoll the world class talent we all know was the dump tackle that almost ended his career. In sport, a major injury can make you or break you and that tackle certainly made O'Driscoll.
It meant that he could play without fear and proved to himself that he could take a terrible tackle and come back even better than before.
Very rarely are you able to see a sporting great in their prime and although the Ireland captain may be closer to the end of his career than he is to the start, even the harshest of critics wouldn't say O'Driscoll is in steep decline.
I just hope that after writing this week's blog Brian doesn't do a Mark Allen and have me eating my words.