O'Sullivan and Trump strongly disagree over Northern Ireland Open atmosphere

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump could scarcely have offered different opinions on the atmosphere at the Northern Ireland Open, as both continue their campaigns in Belfast.

The Rocket ruffled some feathers on Monday evening as he claimed he was ‘very bored’ during his second round win over Andy Hicks, saying he wasn’t fussed if he won or lost, because of the atmosphere in the Waterfront Hall.

‘I struggled with the atmosphere – there was really no atmosphere out there,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport after his 4-1 victory over Hicks.

‘I’m playing alright, so normally I can generate the atmosphere but, I don’t know… it felt like years ago, every time we played a tournament, every match felt like a big night, like a Champions League night, whereas out there, it was poor… it was hard.

‘You’ve got all these games going on, you’ve got people walking about, you know… I struggled. It’s the atmosphere. These flat draws, you’ve just got to hope you get through to the quarters and click into a spark.

‘It was very flat out there. I was very bored out there… I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible, to be honest with you. I was thinking, “please, just don’t let this go long, two-three hours”.

‘I was really not enjoying the atmosphere and wasn’t really bothered if I won or lost, to be honest with you.’

The six-time world champion will be hoping for a more lively atmosphere in his last 32 meeting with Alfie Burden, but Trump has had no complaints so far in Belfast.

Three times the Northern Ireland Open champion, Trump is defending his title in Belfast again and loves the feeling of the crowd in Northern Ireland.

‘The passion of the fans here, you can just feel it,’ he said. ‘That rubs off on me and any support like that really gives me that extra incentive to do well and entertain.

‘The atmosphere here is in the top three of all the events that we play in.

‘Especially when you get down to that one table set-up, whether that’s against Ronnie or whoever else.

‘It’s amazing in that arena, especially when it’s full.’

There was also no shortage of atmosphere when Mark Allen thrilled his home crowd with an amazing 147 break in the final frame of his first round win over Si Jiahui.

‘That’s honestly right up there with anything I’ve ever felt in the sport,’ he said. ‘Not just to make a 147 but to do it here at a tournament that means so much to me, in front of my family and friends – people that have supported me throughout my career – to give them that buzz as well is a memory I will hold for a long, long time.’

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