The growing popularity of the game of snooker in Ireland.

Pascal Burke started playing snooker in his hometown of Tuam at the age of thirteen. He moved to England and had a career as a drains and sewerage engineer. He has now abandoned this work to become a professional snooker player.

In 1974 and again in 1976 Pascal Burke was the Irish amateur snooker champion and has made the Irish international snooker team on several occasions. He believes that concentration, dedication, natural ability and a love for the game are essential elements in becoming a great snooker player.

There's something natural about being a good snooker player as well.

Pascal Burke acknowledges that there might be some element of truth in the idea that a good snooker player is as a sign of a misspent youth. However, this was not the case for Pascal.

Pascal is also an entrepreneur and has changed Bray snooker hall into a thriving enterprise. He has also become a partner in a billiard table manufacturing company headed up by Frank Purcell. Frank Purcell was responsible for putting the table together that is currently in the National Stadium for this weekend's match between Alex Higgins and Jimmy White.

Making snooker tables is governed by strict rules. The pockets have to be measured correctly and cut out to within a thousandth of an inch. The table specifications are governed by the Control Council of England and must conform to the standards set out for tournament and match play. The tables must be the same throughout the world. The slate used in the table is from Italy. Slate from Valentia Island was used up until about forty years ago but it has not been quarried successfully since.

Now that Pascal Burke has turned professional, he is also encouraging young players to follow his path. 20 year old David Cranby from Bray is an up and coming player. His talents at the table are being encouraged by Pascal Burke who is providing him with free table time to hone his craft. Pascal Burke acknowledges that television coverage of the game has contributed greatly to its growing popularity.

It's a game that television has done a great deal for.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 June 1982. The reporter is Peter McNiff.