Blackball Pool Northern Ireland

northern irish blackball pool
The Northern Ireland Pool Association (NIPA) has in one form or another been serving Northern Ireland's 8ball players for more than thirty years.
Together with pool's other legitimate governing bodies in the United Kingdom, NIPA is affiliated to the World Pool Association and all of its events are played to blackball rules.

NIPA runs a wealth of competitions on behalf of the members of its affiliated pool leagues.

The NIPA Blackball Tour is comprised of a series of competitions for individual players.
Amateur and 'elite' players participate. They are awarded ranking points which are determined by performances in the half dozen or so tour events over a year.
Players must hold NIPA associate membership to take part in this tour.

In addition there are tours for ladies, seniors, under-23s, under-18s, under-15s and players with disabilities.
There is an annual 'Specials' festival and a 'Masters' competition, while team events include the Willie Lucas Super-7s, three-a-side, doubles and mixed doubles.
International trials are held for players from all categories. These trials help determine who is selected to represent Northern Ireland in the World Championships, European Championships and Nations Cup.

Northern Irish pool leagues may also assign one or two teams to compete in the NIPA 'Inter-league' tournament. It is held annually at a single venue over one weekend.
This competition has been running since 2005 and the format consists of group, knock out and plate events. It is an eleven-a-side tournament with up to 15 players allowed per squad.
To be eligible for team selection players must have taken part in a specified minimum percentage of fixtures in the local pool league in which they play.

At international level in both team and individual events Northern Ireland has risen to become a respected and successful nation as this overview of results demonstrates...

Men's Team Events
World Team Champions 1998, 1999
European Team Champions 1996
European Seniors Team Champions 2009
Nations Cup 'B' Event Winners 'B' 2012

Men Individuals Events
D. Kinney : World Individual Champion 1998, 1999

Seniors Team Events
European Team Champions 2009

Seniors Individual Events
W. Eakin : Nations Cup Champion 2014
B. Crilly : European Individual Champion 2015

Masters Team Events
Nations Cup Winners 2013

Masters Individual Events
R. Hawkins : Nations Cup Champion 2013
S. Johnston : Nations Cup Champion 2015

Ladies Individual Events
G. Laverty : European & World Champion 1998

Under 23s Team Event
European 'B' Team Champions 2012

Under 18s Team Event
World Champions 1996

Under 18s Individual Event
G. Spalling : World Champion 1996

Wheelchair Players Individual Event
R. McMaw : European Champion 2011

Northern Ireland has an unrivalled competition record for players with disabilities...

Specials (Men) Team Event
World Champions 'A' 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
Team European Champions 'A' 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
World Champions 'B' 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Specials (Men) Individual Event
J. Freel : World Champion 1998
D. Gallagher : World Champion 2000
P. Reid : World Champion 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
P. Reid : European Champion 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014
A. Bell : European Champion 2009

Specials (Ladies) Team Event
World Champions 'A' 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
European Champions 'A' 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
World Champions 'B' 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
European Champions 'B' : 2012

Specials (Ladies) Individual Event
M. Blair : World Champion 1998
G. Creegan : World Champion 2001
F. McCann : World Champion 2003
F. McCann : European Champion 2012, 2013
B. McFall : World Champion 2005
B. McFall : European Champion 2009, 2011
V. Taggart : World Champion 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
V. Taggart : European Champion 2008, 2010

And here's an image to bring back memories for some of Northern Ireland's international pool players. It's the Northern Ireland gents team which competed in the Home Internationals at Butlins, Ayr in 1991.
Our thanks to Jean Mcilroy for providing the photograph.

Northern Ireland Gents 1991

The NIPA introduced an associate membership scheme in 2014. It runs over a calendar year.
Players need to hold associate membership to enter any of the NIPA tours or play in an international team. In addition associate members qualify for reduced fees or free entry into many of Northern Ireland's blackball events.
This innovative membership system is intended to help blackball develop.
For instance, in the future it is hoped to organise a national individual championships which can be held over a single weekend in a hotel venue large enough to accommodate multiple tables.
It is envisaged membership fees will also help provide financial assistance for non-playing international team managers, the further development of the live streaming service, insurance costs, expansion of the junior section and much more.

There is a survey on Blackball.UK which allows you to share your views on how the Northern Ireland Pool Association is organised and run.