Rising snooker star Aaron Hill only took up the sport four years ago following a setback to his soccer hopes.
Cork native Hill, 18, stunned the snooker world last night with a 5-4 win over six-time and reigning world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round of the European Masters in Milton Keynes.
A promising youngster across multiple codes, Hill, who faces former Masters and UK Championship winner Matthew Stevens this afternoon, picked up a cue for the first time as a 14-year-old.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne, Aaron’s father Stephen explained: "He was an excellent soccer player and he had trials for Cork and he got down to the last few and he wasn’t picked.
"He was devastated over it and I says, 'look, come on, we’ll go down for a game of snooker’, and the rest is history.
"From when he took up a cue the first day four years ago people could just see the gift that he has and it’s just going from strength to strength.
"He was an unbelievable hurler and footballer and soccer player but this is it now.
"A month back Aaron wanted to get a bicycle to go training. I said ‘are you joking me? What happens if you fall off and break your finger or your hand?'
"I’ll have to wrap him in cotton wool and bring him everywhere with me."
The victory was made all the sweeter because of comments that O’Sullivan, widely regarded as one the best to grace the baize, made before winning his sixth World Championship title at the age of 44 in August.
"If you look at the younger players coming through, they are not that good really," he said.
"They’d probably do well as half decent amateurs.
"They are so bad that a lot of them that you see now, you just think I’ve probably got to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50."
💬 "One day I'm going to show him what I can do. I think today was the day."— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) September 24, 2020
Newly-turned professional @AaronHill147 (18) was thrilled just to be playing his childhood hero. But then to BEAT him?
There's a new kid on the block 🤙 #BVEuroSeries pic.twitter.com/Xt8XzZcI43
Speaking after his victory Hill, who only turned pro earlier this year, admitted that he had been fired up by those remarks.
"That comment was in the back of my head a small bit but I didn’t worry about it," Hill, ranked 115 in the world, told WST.
"I just said to myself when he said it that one day I’m going to show him what I can do and I think today was the day."
For Stephen and the family watching back home back it also made a remarkable victory even better.
He added: "Everyone loves Ronnie, Ronnie is controversial. Aaron put him back in his box last night.
"I’m still on cloud nine as we speak. Hopefully it continues.
"He is the only player in history to do the double at the European Amateurs, he's a three-time European champion.
"A dream has come through for us, we’re just so proud of our son Aaron, and what he is doing in this game for the last four years since he picked up a cue."