- Quote: “Alex said ‘I’ll make enough money to cover me, until I see you next Saturday’.
When I met him the following Saturday, he told me that he didn’t play well – and Jimmy White was broke. Saturday became Wednesday”.
The 2020 world snooker championship postponement at The Crucible this year, due to COVID-19, lead to former world champion Alex Higgins friend Hugh Hourican fondly looking back on visits to his bar. Chief sports editor ANDREW ATKINSON reports.
“I USED to mind Alex’s cue when he came to Dublin, he always had a red ribbon tied around it,” owner of the Boar’s Head, Dublin, Hugh Hourican told The Leader.
Speaking exclusively to The Leader, Hugh said: “I used to drop Alex to the train station, when he was heading down the country.
“He used to say if he wasn’t a snooker player he’d be a pro golfer. Alex was a golfer too – he loved golf.”
Belfast born legend Higgins, the Peoples Champion, known as ‘The Hurricane’, won the world championship in 1972 and 1982.
“Once I dropped him at the train station to play in a tournament in Killarney, as was Jimmy White.
“Alex said ‘I’ll make enough money to cover me, until I see you next Saturday’.
“When I met him the following Saturday, he told me that he didn’t play well – and Jimmy White was broke. Saturday became Wednesday,” said Hugh.
Recalling memoirs as the death of Higgins’ tenth anniversary nears, Hugh said: “Alex loved to see his children Jordan and Lauren, following the split from his wife Lynn.
“Alex would chat to me about his kids and the barring order – but they use to see him on the quiet.”
Higgins, 61, was found dead in bed at his Belfast flat on June 24, 2010. His funeral was held at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on August 2, and he was buried in Carnmoney Cemetery in Newtownabbey, County Antrim
“Alex visited The Boar’s Head just a few weeks before he passed away.
“He was always popping in, saying ‘can you mind my cue behind the bar Hugh’ – then left”, recalled Hugh.
“When Alex arrived people couldn’t believe it was him. But it was somewhere where he could visit. A port, knowing he had a place of safety. A haven,” said Hugh.
Hugh, who left New York, where he was employed as a bartender, and his wife Ann a waitress, returned to Dublin having bought The Boar’s Head, via public auction in 1994.
“I always enjoyed Alex’s company. I have nothing only good things to say about him,” said Hugh.
*If I knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake – The Alex Higgins story by Andrew Atkinson. Pre-order a copy £10 (+P&P) details email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs courtesy: Hugh and Ann Hourican.