Snooker: McManus comes back from shadows

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SNOOKER'S FORGOTTEN man Alan McManus won a name for himself once more in the semi-finals of the Irish Open in Dublin late on Thursday.

It has been two years since the 27-year-old Scot survived the last four of a ranking tournament. But a 5-3 success over countryman Billy Snaddon, the world number 32, bridged that gap for the gritty Glaswegian.

"I've been lacking in confidence," admits McManus, whose early wins at the National Basketball Arena came at the expense of in-form Dave Harold - the UK and Grand Prix semi-finalist - and Welshman Paul Davies.

"At the UK I lost to a kid I'd never even seen before [Michael Holt], yet against Dave it was a tough game I could easily have lost but I ended up winning," said the 1996 Thailand Open Champion.

"I had several alterations made to my cue during the summer and I'd be lying if I said it hasn't affected me. It's only now I'm getting used to the changes," said McManus, whose cue now has a new ferrule and a joint in the butt.

Opposing McManus will be Malta's Tony Drago who came back from 4-2 down to win 5-4 against world number two Stephen Hendry. "Tony has always possessed loads of talent but now he's starting to put matches away against the top players," added McManus.