Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Mark Allen can be Ulster’s next world champion, says Dennis Taylor

Snooker legend Dennis Taylor last night tipped Mark Allen to become only the third Ulsterman to win the World Championship.

Taylor will forever be remembered for his thrilling black ball victory over Steve Davis in the 1985 final, while fellow Ulsterman Alex Higgins won the title in 1972 and 1982.

Allen, who had been receiving treatment for depression before the £1.1million tournament at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, shrugged off his problems and showed great character to battle back from 9-6 down against Matthew Stevens and win 10-9.

“Mark has the game to win the world title,” said Taylor, now a commentator for BBC.

“He would need to improve from the Matthew Stevens match if he is going to win the tournament. But if he can up his game he has a chance.

“His place in the top 16 is guaranteed now for next season so he’s not really under any pressure. That might help him relax a bit and play even better. Hopefully he can go all the way.

“No-one gave him a chance at 9-6 down. It was a great, great win for him, especially as he hasn’t been too well.

“It was brilliant that his wee daughter was there in the front row watching him.”

The Antrim cueman is back in action today against Barry Hawkins — the match concludes tomorrow — with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

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