World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will be among the big names on action on day one aiming to take the Northern Ireland Open crown from Mark Allen when a star-studded line-up takes to the tables in Belfast next month.
The top 16 players in the world will feature in a 70-player field at the Waterfront Hall in the Northern Irish capital from October 16 to 23, in the first of the season’s Home Nations Series.
Belfast native Allen claimed the Alex Higgins Trophy on home turf last year, defeating John Higgins 9-8 in a close final.
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The world No. 14 will get his title defence underway against Chang Bingyu, with it being the final match on the opening nigth.
O’Sullivan starts against Lukas Kleckers, while world No. 2 Judd Trump is up against Rod Lawler.
Mark Selby, Kyren Wilson, Neil Robertson and last year’s runner-up Higgins will also be in action on the opening day.
A wildcard has been handed to 14-year-old local talent Joe Connolly, who faces fellow teenager Robbie McGuigan, four years his elder and the Northern Ireland amateur champion.
The first four rounds will take place from October 16 to 20, before the business end of the Open takes place over the weekend.
The quarter-finals are set for Friday 21 October, with the semi-finals the following day and the showpiece final on Sunday, October 23.
The Northern Ireland Open is the fourth ranking event of the 2022/23 season and offers a prize pot of £422,000, with £80,000 to the winner.
Luca Brecel of Belgium triumphed at the Championship League in Leicester in July, before England’s Kyren Wilson took victory last month in Furth at the European Masters.
The British Open is set to take place before the action in Belfast, with that event scheduled from September 26 to October 2.
Seven-time world champion O’Sullivan currently sits top of the world rankings with 1,041,000 points.
Trump is his closest challenger, on 1,022,500 points, while Selby in third has 916,500 points.

Round One selected matches - October 16

  • Kyren Wilson v Ken Doherty (10am)
  • Judd Trump v Rod Lawler (1pm)
  • Mark Selby v Reanne Evans (afternoon session)
  • Neil Robertson v Fraser Patrick (afternoon session)
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan v Lukas Kleckers (7pm)
  • Mark Allen v Chang Bingyu (not before 8pm)
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Watch the Northern Ireland Open and other top snooker live on Eurosport and discovery+.
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