Magnificent McGuigan Lifts European Title

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Robbie McGuigan defeated Craig Steadman 5-4 to win the EBSA European Championship title and earn professional status for the first time in his career.

The 19-year-old from Northern Ireland showed incredible resilience as he held himself together to come through five consecutive final-frame deciders from the last 32 stage onwards to secure the prestigious crown in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

This success means that McGuigan joins fellow teenager Liam Davies, who won the European Under-21 Championship earlier in the week, in securing a World Snooker Tour card at the event for the first time in their career.

Organised by the European Billiards & Snooker Association (EBSA), an incredible 184 players from 40 different European nations competed in the main/mixed gender event at Hotel Hills in Sarajevo.

McGuigan made short work of his initial group phase by winning all three of his matches and dropping just a single frame in the process against opposition from the Republic of Ireland, Poland and Spain. A 4-1 victory over Steven Wardropper in the last 64 followed as the Northern Irishman continued to advance in comfortable fashion.

This would not last, however, as McGuigan overcame recent WSF Championship semi-finalist Daniel Womersley 4-3 in the first of what would ultimately be five consecutive deciding frames for the teenager.

Israel’s Shachar Ruberg and Ukraine’s Iulian Boiko were next to fall at the hands of the eventual champion by a 4-3 scoreline – with McGuigan leading 3-1 on both occasions before managing to hold off the comeback.

Austrian national champion Florian Nuessle was the opponent in the semi-final and the 22-year-old was in fine form as he fired in breaks of 91 and 110 to level twice at 2-2 and 3-3.

A break of 71 in the decider saw McGuigan once again get over the line in the most tense of circumstances to set up a final meeting with former professional Steadman.

The former ranking event semi-finalist had dropped just six frames in five matches from the last 64 stage and had defeated Ryan Davies and Brian Cini to reach the title match.

Steadman opened the final with a break of 75 but there was nothing between the two players, who went into the interval level at 2-2 before a break of 128 from McGuigan, the highest of the final, levelled the game once again at 3-3.

The best-of-nine frame contest seemed destined to go to a last frame and this is how it proved when the Northern Ireland cuiest won frame eight to force a dramatic conclusion.

Impressively, McGuigan’s incredible run of deciding frame victories continued when it mattered most as he took frame nine by a scoreline of 55-16 to secure the title and a two-year World Snooker Tour card.

Complete results for all events at the European Championships can be found here.