Mark Allen admitted a late ruckus in the crowd was the last thing he needed after securing a maiden Northern Ireland Open title.
Allen was amongst the colours in his decider with John Higgins when a member of the audience appeared to leave, throwing him off his rhythm and forcing the referee to urge everyone to remain seated.
The 35-year-old steadied to pot the yellow, finishing with a flourish to pink as he completed a 9-8 comeback win on home soil.
Northern Ireland Open
Can Allen emulate fellow Northern Irish icon Higgins by winning world title?
18/10/2021 AT 14:40
“It didn’t help that the guy was trying to leave when I was trying to pot the yellow,” admitted Allen to laughs from the remaining Waterford Hall crowd.
“I could just about stand up at that point. But I can’t actually believe it because from 6-5 up, I didn’t really see a ball until I was 8-6 down.”

Late crowd drama as Allen wins Northern Ireland Open

Allen also secured a £5000 bonus for the tournament’s highest break after making a 147 maximum in qualifying.
It was his first ranking title since the 2018 Scottish Open and an emotional one given the location.
“I’ll be honest, I was trying to not think about the crowd… I was trying to just take one ball at a time,” he said.
“But when I potted the red over the pocket to bring the last red out, I started to really panic.
I knew that they were all there [the colours] and all you can really do there is fall apart.

'Mark will have one of the best memories of his life' - Higgins pays tribute to Allen

He added: “I don’t usually get past round one here, it’s a real bonus!
“I’ve tried to play it down all week but I know what this means, what Northern Ireland snooker means to these people, and to keep this trophy here in Northern Ireland is a special, special moment I’ll never forget.”
Allen reserved special praise for his opponent, who had looked set to win after opening up an 8-6 advantage in the Belfast showdown.
“What a guy John Higgins is. I said last night I really wanted to play John,” continued Allen.
“Especially with the home fans, I wanted to play one of the all-time greats. John is right up there.
“He’ll not like me for saying this but he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever wish to meet. He just makes it so hard for you all the time.
Any win against John is a big win and to do it here is a dream come true for me.
- - -
Stream top snooker action live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com
Northern Ireland Open
'One of the all-time greats' - Allen pays tribute to Higgins after Northern Ireland Open win
18/10/2021 AT 07:45
Northern Ireland Open
'He's done it the hard way' - O'Sullivan praises Allen after Northern Ireland Open win
18/10/2021 AT 07:34