5 things to know about Crucible giant-killer James Cahill

5 things to know about Crucible giant-killer James Cahill

Amateur player James Cahill produced one of the great snooker shocks by knocking out world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan in the opening round of the World Championship.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out five things to help you get to know the 23-year-old from Blackpool.

No Hendry help

Cahill’s former uncle Stephen Hendry has not taken any interest in his career (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Cahill’s former uncle Stephen Hendry has not taken any interest in his career (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Cahill may be a new name in snooker but he has links to one of the sport’s biggest stars. Cahill’s aunt Mandy is the former wife of seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry.

Not that the connection has proved beneficial to Cahill.

He said: “I used to go and play at their house and had a couple of frames and that’s literally it. I asked him for a bit of help and he just didn’t seem interested. I don’t owe anything to Stephen – I owe everything to family, my coaches, my sponsors.”

Following mum

Cahill’s biggest supporter has instead been his mum Maria, who was a leading female player in the 1980s and 90s. Maria was unable to make a living from the sport and instead forged a career managing snooker clubs.

Maria and husband Patrick own Stephen Hendry’s Snooker Club in Preston, which has a Star table for their son to practise on.

Early struggles

Cahill began playing on the tour as a teenager (Simon Cooper/PA)
Cahill began playing on the tour as a teenager (Simon Cooper/PA)

Cahill turned professional in 2013 aged 17 after winning the European Under-21 Championship and gaining a two-year tour card.

He won just three matches in his first season but improved in 2014-15, beating Ding Junhui to reach the last 16 at the UK Championship. He lost his tour place at the end of the 2017 season.

Selby shock

Cahill during his victory over Mark Selby last year (Tim Goode/PA)
Cahill during his victory over Mark Selby last year (Tim Goode/PA)

The win over O’Sullivan was the second time the amateur has beaten the world number one in a matter of months. Cahill knocked out Mark Selby in the opening round of the UK Championship last year, winning 6-3.

That helped him earn a new tour card via the one-year ranking list, ensuring he will be a full-time professional once more next season.

Learning from the best

Cahill may not have had help from Hendry but he did benefit from coaching by fellow Lancastrian Frank Callan, who was regarded as one of the greats of the game prior to his death three years ago at the age of 93.

Callan also worked with Hendry, Steve Davis, John Parrott, Doug Mountjoy and Terry Griffiths, who all gave him credit for playing a key role in their careers.

GAA podcast: Glen deliver, pacy Barrs, Bandon's history boys and the psychology of developing elite players.

- Press Association

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