All roads led to Morocco in early July for this year’s international rules world pool championships which saw the Northern Ireland Men’s team clinch two different titles on the world stage. 

19 countries came from across the globe came to compete in what was the first tournament to be hosted in the African continent.

NI pool Manager Sean McCafferty spoke to Belfast Media Group about the success of his squad in the tournament. 

“We were hoping to build on last year when the Mens team won the high-speed TV shootout crown before finishing runner up to England in the blue ribbon traditional team event," he said.

"In the almost 40 years of competition, we have never won this event and to finally do so is a fantastic achievement.”

Sean had patiently built what he believed was a squad capable of building on the success of last year. 

Due to a last-minute change of dates, the team was devastated to learn that both Callum Singleton and Gerard Heaney, stalwarts of last year's success, would not be available.

After a frantic few weeks of uncertainty, young cueist Ryan Marcus stepped up for his side as a replacement and the team departed with high optimism and in good spirits for Northern Africa.

The squad competed for 12 days of gruelling high-pressure pool. The squad was certainly talented with a mixture of age and experience chosen to bring the trophy home.

However, it was not the easiest of tournaments for NI as manager Sean commented on a few early hiccups before his squad managed to get into their groove.

“We suffered a few early setbacks with defeats to England and Wales, which really threatened our target of a top-two finish," he added.

"However, the stiff competition meant all teams had lost at least two games, which give us hope and with steady nerve and steely determination we managed to squeeze through in second.”

An all-Ireland semi-final ensued where the North would prevail into a final where they faced Wales after a surprise semi-final victory over England.

The final against Wales was a tricky affair, with the Dragons taking an early advantage, NI would clinch the World Championships by four frames, with a score-line of 11-7 being the final result.

NI had the privilege of defending their shootout crown in fantastic fashion also on the day, beating Senegal, Belgium, and Malta in the final of the blitz pool series.

The two victories sent the squad home with a double world championship, where next year Sean McCafferty will be hopeful his team can defend their titles.