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Allen eyes home success after falling to O'Sullivan

By Luke North

Mark Allen will switch his focus to the inaugural Northern Ireland Open after going down 6-2 against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Champion of Champions event at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.

Allen has hit top form recently and is among the favourites in the £366,000 tournament at the Titanic Exhibition Centre.

The action gets under way on Monday - when five-time world champion O'Sullivan tops the bill - with Ulsterman Allen starting his campaign on Tuesday night against Mark Joyce.

O'Sullivan will battle it out with John Higgins in today's Champion of Champions final for the £100,000 top prize.

Higgins had a dramatic 6-5 semi-final victory over Ding Junhui in yesterday's other semi.

Meanwhile, Allen's fellow Antrim potter Jordan Brown is relishing his unexpected crack at the NI Open.

Brown - who will be joined in the event by fellow locals Joe Swail and Patrick Wallace - won a minor tournament last month to earn a wild card spot.

The 29-year-old, who is trying to carve out a career in the professional ranks, will take on Ben Woollaston on Monday afternoon.

"The butterflies are starting now and I will be nervous on the day," said Brown.

"I just have to block that out. It will be my biggest game since I played John Higgins live on TV in a tournament in Scotland in 2012, and I won that match so that will stand me in good stead.

"I know I am good enough to compete with the best of them but it's up to me to prove that.

"I will have a lot of friends and family watching me so hopefully it will go well," said Brown who currently works in a petrol station in Antrim.

"My goal is to get back on to the tour. It's not easy to find the time to practise when you are working full time.

"I practise against the likes of Mark Allen, Joe Swail and Patrick Wallace. I feel I've got the potential to do well."

Belfast Telegraph

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