Joe Swail: Belfast's two-time World Championship semi-finalist retires

Joe Swail
Swail reached the World Championships semi-finals in 2000 and 2001

Northern Ireland's two-time World Championship semi-finalist Joe Swail has retired as a professional player.

The Belfast man has taken the decision "due to various health/mental reasons needed to compete at the top level".

Swail, 49, finished the 2018/19 season 89th in the world rankings after a 10-1 defeat by Joe O'Connor in the World Championship qualifiers.

"I've had an unbelievable time and a successful career on the snooker circuit," said Swail on Twitter.

"Retirement it is and I will now enjoy and concentrate on my coaching/practice sessions and play in a few World Senior and amateur events next season.

"Many thanks for all the support over the years."

Swail, who is partially deaf, has been suffering from tinnitus.

Having started his professional career in 1991, he reached the semi-finals of the World Championships in 2000 and 2001 and made the Welsh Open final in 2009, where he was beaten by Ali Carter.

The Northern Irishman dropped off the professional tour in 2017 but returned having obtained a new tour card through qualifying school.

Following his defeat in the World Championship qualifiers in April, Swail said his ill health had reached a stage where he could no longer prioritise his career.

"I really do play it down, I don't talk about it because I don't want to use it as an excuse but it does affect you," said Swail, whose highest world ranking was 10th at the end of the 2001/2 season.

"It is frustrating because I love the game and I feel as if I have got a lot to offer, but I have got to put myself first."