How An Irishman's Insult Goaded Stuart Bingham Onto Glory

How An Irishman's Insult Goaded Stuart Bingham Onto Glory
By Conor Neville
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Stuart Bingham's popular triumph in Sheffield highlighted his extremely unusual career trajectory, which has not been replicated in many other sports.

For the bulk of his career, Bingham was a journeyman pro, good enough to make it to the starting blocks at the Crucible but not a whole lot further. He was the kind of guy who was polished off in the first round by Stephen Hendry or Ronnie O'Sullivan en route to the title.


Then, at an age when most players have drifted past their peak, Bingham exploded into the big time. He is snooker's Mark O'Meara.

In 2011, at the age of 35, he won his first ever ranking event at the Australian Open. Shortly before that victory, Antrim snooker player Mark Allen questioned whether Bingham had the 'bottle' to be a top player.

Bingham remembered Allen's jibe this week after picking up the world championship and rising to no.2 in the world.

I’ve got to give thanks to Mark Allen. He got my back up that week in Australia by saying I had no bottle, but since then that’s all changed.

I’m world champion but I’m going to be the same person, I’ll be playing in all the tournaments and hopefully I’ll be a good role model as world champion.

Any kids out there growing up wanting to play should stick at it. That’s what I’ve done.

This is snooker's equivalent of Anthony Daly, on the steps of the Hogan Stand, remembering the Waterford corner forward telling his that Clare people should stick to traditional music in 1992.

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