By Eddie Ryan
Ken Doherty was born on the 17 September, 1969. The Dubliner is the only player to have been world amateur (1989) and world professional champion (1997). Doherty was also World Under-21 champion in 1989. Doherty’s snooker career began in Jason’s of Ranelagh, Dublin. He fell in love with the green baize and competed in handicap snooker tournaments on Saturday mornings.
His local club closed in 2006, but long after it proved the launch pad for Ken to go on and become one of Ireland’s greatest ever snooker champions.
In his first national snooker event, an U16 ranking tournament, Doherty lost in the final.
He turned professional in 1990, and reached his first major final in 1992. There he faced the “Whirlwind” Jimmy White, and lost out after an epic battle (10-9).
He again reached the Grand Prix Final the following season, but again came up short as an in-form Peter Ebdon, landed the spoils by a nine frames to six margin.
He did not have to wait long for a first ever professional tournament win, hWowever, when he claimed the 1993 Welsh Open. In 1994, Doherty reached the final of the UK Open Championship against Stephen Hendry. Doherty was unfortunate to come up against an inspired opponent.
The Scot was in irresistible form and racked up seven century breaks on the way to a 10-5 victory. The two would lock horns again in the final of the World Snooker Championship, in 1997, at the iconic Crucible theatre in Sheffield.