Major snooker breakthrough for Mark Allen

Antrim snooker player Mark Allen has put himself firmly at the top of his chosen field by becoming the first Irishman since Dennis Taylor back in 1987 to win the prestigious Masters event in London.

Other previous holders of the trophy, which is part of the sport's Triple Crown, include such household names as Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and the late great Alex Higgins.

Allen (31), who was given a hero's welcome at an exhibition match in Belfast last night, has experienced high expectations and occasional disappointments since he turned professional 13 years ago.

However, after his breakthrough triumph at the famous Alexandra Palace venue on Sunday night, there will be strong hopes that he is capable of capturing the world championship later this year.

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