Sheer scale of Ken Doherty's World Championship win summed up in one crazy Garda story 2 years ago

Sheer scale of Ken Doherty's World Championship win summed up in one crazy Garda story

Will you be watching the last two sessions of the World Snooker Championships final today?

Do you know who is playing? (John Higgins leads defending champions Mark Selby 10-7 after the first two sessions).

Remember when the snooker at the Crucible was a massive deal? Circled on the calendar, it came a few weeks after the US Masters and was guaranteed top class, albeit sedate, sport on terrestrial television.

Now we have wall-to-wall football, rugby, MMA, golf, US sports and everything else - the poor old snooker can be somewhat forgotten about.

But 20 years ago, when Ken Doherty beat Stephen Hendry to claim the world title, the snooker was the only show in town. As was made clear by the champion's open top bus trip through the city to his home in Ranelagh upon his return.

But on the night of the final itself, when RTÉ sought and gained permission from the BBC to broadcast those final frames in Ireland, it became a national obsession.

Just how many people were watching became evident to Doherty when he met with a Garda superintendent at a Mansion House reception.

The senior Garda told Doherty that, during the live broadcast, between seven and 10pm, there was not a single call to the central Garda Station in Harcourt Street.

No robberies, fights, break-ins, car accidents... Nothing. It got to the point where the Gardaí were phoning the telephone exchange to be sure there were no technical issues.

Doherty relayed the story on Monday's Ryan Tubridy Show, presented by The Second Captains.

"[The superintendent] told me that story when I came back to the Mansion House, and he did call me 'Doherty'. The funny thing was, he says, 'Doherty, you should be on television more often. You make my job a hell of a lot easier.'"

The power of snooker. Not sure Higgins and Selby will have the same effect this evening.