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Emotional Dennis Taylor officially retires from snooker

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

17:17 9 May 2021

Dennis Taylor has officially announced his retirement from competitive snooker after nearly 50 years in the sport.

Taylor, from Coalisland in Tyrone, told the BBC that his match with Barry Pinches at the World Seniors Championship would be his last.

"That match against Barry was my last competitive match ever," he said.

"What a way to finish here at the Crucible theatre. I have enjoyed every minute of the Seniors tour.

"The standard is getting so high but there is no way I can compete with these youngsters nowadays."

Dennis Taylor

Taylor spoke to Off The Ball in May 2020 about the effect that snooker had on Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

"I think it was just a week or so after [the final], I had an exhibition fixed-up for the Shankill leisure centre.

"There I was, a wee former-altar boy from Coalisland, 99% Catholic, turned up at the Shankill."

When he did enter the predominantly-Protestant Belfast neighbourhood, Taylor was given a hero's welcome:

"I got an unbelievable reception. I’ve never known anything like it."

Taylor said this was typical of the reaction snooker-players received throughout the period of conflict in Northern Ireland:

"Back then, back to the '70s when things were really bad, there were a few of the professionals who used to come over with me.

"We could go to any denomination of club and have unbelievable receptions. Snooker is like that, as with most sports, it brings people together."

Taylor believed that the people of this island had a particular regard for the sport.

"The people of Ireland, certainly of Northern Ireland, were always brilliant, when the professionals used to play at clubs, no matter what religion it was."

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