Belfast to stage the Irish Open at Titanic in November

Belfast's Joe Swail

Belfast's Joe Swail

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Snooker’s new Irish Open will take place at Titanic Belfast later this year.

The world ranking event is part of the new Home Nations quartet of tournaments, alongside the English Open, Scottish Open and Welsh Open.

Any player who wins all four events will receive a massive £1 million bonus.

The Irish Open will run from November 14 to 20 and will feature 128 of the world’s leading green baize stars, in a flat draw with all players starting in the first round.

It will be the first professional snooker event in Northern Ireland since 2008.

Total prize money for each of the Home Nations events will be £366,000, with the winner to receive £70,000. All four tournaments will be televised by Eurosport.

Belfast’s top player Joe Swail said: “It’s brilliant. Everybody has been asking about having a tournament in Northern Ireland and now we’ve got one for the first time in eight years.

“In that time every exhibition I’ve done in Belfast has been full.

“There’s definitely an appetite for a ranking event.

“Belfast is a brilliant place and I think the event will be a great success.”

The two-time World Championship semi-finalist added: “I feel as if snooker is coming home with these new big events in the UK.

“I know the game is growing massively in China and it’s nice to travel.

“But for snooker in the UK to keep improving, it’s important that we develop the game at grassroots and it helps the profile of the game having tournaments like this.

“I am looking forward to it,” he added.

For details www.worldsnooker.com/tickets