Ireland's Michael Judge falls short in Crucible bid

Michael Judge fell agonisingly short in his bid to become the first amateur ever to reach the Crucible.

But after losing 10-6 to James Cahill at the English Institute for Sport, the 43-year-old from Dun Laoghaire said his run had been an experience to savour.

Judge fell off the tour in 2011 after 19 years, and had not played at the Crucible since three years before that.

But he received a call as a ‘lucky loser’ from last year’s Q-School after the late withdrawal of China’s Zhang Jiankang – and then claimed fine wins over Peter Lines and Xiao Guodong.

However fellow amateur Cahill, 23, proved too big an obstacle – leaving Judge wondering if he had called time on his career too soon.

Judge said: “I haven’t embarrassed myself at all in the three matches as an amateur, and it has given me the occasional pang to be back involved professionally.

“I think on balance it would be too much travelling to give it another real go but if it happens then it happens. I really don’t know, and it would be a tough one if the question arose.

“I am really enjoying my snooker at the moment, that is the way I am trying to keep it, and the Seniors and Legends tour has given me some great opportunities.

“That is less pressure and stress – but never say never, though."

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