Northern Ireland Open Snooker 2023 – Day 2 Tips and Betting Preview

The held over qualifying matches conclude and the first round of the main draw begins at the Northern Ireland Open on Monday as the Waterfront Hall in Belfast plays host to some of the best players in the world again.

We will see the two home stars in action over the course of the three sessions of play and a whole host of top talents on what looks to be an excellent day to fire up the main draw of the second Home Nations event of the season.

Morning Session

The remaining held over qualifying matches take place in the morning session on Monday where the European Masters champion Barry Hawkins is the star attraction on show. He has a potentially tricky challenge from Elliot Slessor to navigate. On the other tables we will see Hossein Vafaei looking to make progress when he goes up against Mark Joyce while our outright bet Tom Ford will look to make it into the main draw when he meets Haydon Pinhey.

Afternoon Session

As ever in the Home Nations we have two sets of matches in the afternoon session with the main table in the first of them being occupied by Jack Lisowski as the first round of the main draw gets underway. He will take on the exciting Jackson Page in what should be a good match to watch. Graeme Dott will also be looking to make it through in the early part of the afternoon. Xing Zihao is his opponent. There is another Chinese player on show on the other table as Ma Hailong meets Martin O’Donnell.

Neil Robertson is the star name in the second part of the afternoon. The Australian will continue to look to find some form when he takes on the extremely motivated Jordan Brown who will want to deliver a big effort in front of his home fans. This is as close to a home tournament as Aaron Hill will get at present and he is on one of the other tables when he takes on Fan Zhengyi. Cao Yupeng will be looking for a second round spot on the other table when he meets Dylan Emery who took care of Martin Gould in qualifying.

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Evening Session

It is an evening session with a couple of sets of matches as well on Monday with Shaun Murphy the headline act in the first part of it. He has the draw nobody wants against a Marco Fu who looks like he is coming back to something resembling his best. That should be a cracker on the main table and on table two we will get a real clash in styles as Rod Lawler meets Stan Moody. Dean Young will go up against the former ranking event winner Matt Selt in the other match.

The home star Mark Allen will continue his title defence in the second match on the main table on Monday evening. He should have a comfortable time of it against the Estonian player Andres Petrov. The other two matches in the evening session should be more competitive with Lukas Kleckers meeting Gary Wilson in one of them and then in the other Sean O’Sullivan will face off against Zak Surety in what is a great chance for both men to make the last 32 of a ranking event.


I like a couple of bets over the course of the day and they both come in the evening session. We begin on the main table where I think Marco Fu is a cracking price to see off Shaun Murphy. In his last two events, Murphy has lost in the held over qualifying round to Liu Hongyu and laboured past Ryan Thomerson here on Sunday and doesn’t look to be hitting the ball fantastically. He is faffing about with two cues but results aren’t really coming. Fu looks like he is clicking into gear this term. He has wins over Hossein Vafaei and Robert Milkins on his ledger so far and took John Higgins to a deciding frame at the English Open. He looked very good at the Northern Ireland Open, nailing two tons in a solid win over Jamie Jones where he was very fluent in the balls. If Murphy isn’t quite on his game, and he certainly wasn’t in his win here on Sunday, then Fu is playing well enough to get rid of him.

The other bet I like in the evening session is for Sean O’Sullivan to beat Zak Surety. O’Sullivan finally picked up a first win of the season to qualify for this tournament but I think it is fair to argue that win was coming. He was 3-3 with Matt Selt in Wuhan Open qualifying before the better player delivered when it counted and then he led Jordan Brown 5-2 in the International Championship qualifying but couldn’t get over the line but O’Sullivan has scored fairly well this season and even has a 147 to his name so I think he’s playing better than his results suggest and is waiting for the draws to soften out to take advantage. That appears to be the case here. Surety started the season well but between the British Open qualifiers in August and the qualifying for this last week the only match he won was at the European Masters against the lowly ranked Jiang Jun where he was 4-0 down but came back to win 5-4. To be fair to Surety, he had a good win over Joe O’Connor to qualify for this but I’m not convinced he’s an 8/13 shot to beat many players. I like O’Sullivan at the prices.


Back M.Fu to beat S.Murphy for a 3/10 stake at 2.63 with Bet365

Back S.O’Sullivan to beat Z.Surety for a 3/10 stake at 2.40 with Betway