Snooker star Allen hails stepson Robbie McGuigan's 147

By Niall Glynn
BBC News NI

Published
image copyright147 Snooker club
image captionRobbie McGuigan hit the quickfire 147 break at a snooker club in Antrim

Snooker star Mark Allen has described a 147 break by his 13-year-old stepson as an "unbelievable achievement".

Teenager Robbie McGuigan took just over five minutes to hit the maximum at the aptly named 147 Club in his home town.

Robbie, a pupil at Antrim Grammar, has already claimed underage titles as he aims to follow in his stepdad's footsteps.

His 147 was captured on the club's CCTV camera.

Allen, the world number 16 who has been ranked as high as sixth in the world, was travelling back from a tournament in China when his stepson texted him to say he had beaten his previous highest break of 135.

About half an hour later he got another text to say he'd got the 147.

"There were some expletives in my reply - 'are you serious?'" said Allen.

"Then he rang me and was in hysterics on the phone.

"Obviously we know he's talented and he's going in the right direction, but to make a 147 at 13, is absolutely frightening, I'm not sure if it's ever been done before."

image copyrightMark Allen
image captionMark Allen said he was very proud of Robbie

On the CCTV footage, Robbie can be seen celebrating the stunning achievement with a fist-pump and handshake with his opponent.

Allen hit his first 147 at the same club in Antrim - just before he turned 16 - and said his reaction wasn't quite as understated.

"I remember I actually left myself a very tough black on my first one and I managed to pot it and I think I did laps around the club going nuts," he said.

"But it's a great achievement for anyone to do, never mind doing it so young.

image copyright147 Snooker Club
image captionGrainy CCTV footage shows Robbie McGuigan potting the final black to complete his 147 break

"He knows himself there's a lot of work between now and then but we'll see how far he goes. But as the long as he keeps enjoying it he's going in the right direction."

When asked just how good his stepson is, Allen simply replied: "Very."

"His potting's just frightening and I think that's one part of the game you just can't teach," he said.

"You can't really teach the eye for a pot and I think he has that. He's made seven or eight centuries already and he's only 13.

"He's going in the right direction and he's now starting to show that in the tournaments - he's won the Northern Ireland under-21s and quite a few under-16 events and he's starting to win a lot of matches in the senior events as well."

Allen said he was proud of Robbie's achievement and also the hard work he was prepared to put in.

"I'm very proud, but I don't want to put too much pressure on him," he said.

"I know how tough it can be and it's not all plain sailing, definitely not.

"I'm always saying to him I don't want him playing snooker just because I play snooker.

"I don't think he does that, he practises long hours and I don't think he'd want to do that just because he was being told to.

"As long as he keeps enjoying playing he's got a very bright future."

'Slagging'

The club's manager, Rab Fee, said the maximum break followed a bit of light-hearted "slagging".

"He had made his highest break a few frames before, he'd a 135 then hit a 139 and he came out to the counter and we were just slagging him saying: 'Come back to us when you get a 140,'" said Mr Fee.

image captionRobbie is the stepson of Mark Allen

"A fella sitting at the counter said: 'He's going to have a 147 soon.'

"He went in and hit one the next frame. It was unbelievable."

Mr Fee said Robbie, who is the son of Mark Allen's wife Kyla, is a better player than his stepdad was at the same age.

"Mark had only started playing when he was the age Robbie is now, so he's better than what Mark was at this age," he said.

"Mark sets up wee coaching routines for him, so obviously Robbie has a good person to have over him, Mark being his stepdad."

He said the teenager has a bright future in the game, if he maintains his current level of dedication.

"He'd sometimes play for eight hours on his own," Mr Fee said.

"If he keeps it up, obviously the next few years will tell with any young sports person."

Robbie is also in line to test his game against one of the sport's legends.

"We're having a pro-am in here at the end of May and if Robbie wins his first match he plays [Scotland's former world champion] John Higgins," Mr Fee said.

"So we're obviously buzzing for that."

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