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'He's my childhood hero... I'm stuck for words' - Cork teen star after incredible win over O'Sullivan

Aaron Hill let his lead slip before rallying to defeat The Rocket at the European Masters.

A delighted Aaron Hill after his win over Ronnie O'Sullivan.
A delighted Aaron Hill after his win over Ronnie O'Sullivan.

CORK TEENAGER AARON Hill says he would have been disappointed if he didn’t defeat Ronnie O’Sulllivan at the European Masters after building up an impressive lead.

The 18-year-old scored a 5-4 victory in his second-round clash with the six-time world Champion, having only turned professional this year.

Hill was leading 3-1 before O’Sullivan rallied to go one frame ahead, but the Cork youngster responded once more to force a decider and pull off a sensational win.

“[I'm speechless] at the moment,” Hill told the World Snooker Tour after his victory.

[He's] my childhood hero. To play him so early on… I didn’t go out there to just be there and be happy to be there. I still wanted to win the watch and if I lost the match after being 3-1 up, I would have been disappointed.

“Even if I lost that last one, I would have been disappointed. I’m just so, so pleased with that victory. Everyone back home, my family and friends must be buzzing. I had a quick look at my phone and I think it’s going to take me to Christmas to reply to everyone.

“I’m just living up the moment and can’t wait for the next round.”

Hill added that he surprised himself when he built up a 3-1 lead heading into the interval. He was focused on winning the next frame to strengthen his advantage but O’Sullivan’s experience and quality brought him back into contention.

Trailing the world champion by 4-3, Hill composed himself before launching another attack for the win.

“I got back to 4-3 down and I just said to myself in the chair, ‘If you were offered 4-3 down before the match, would you have taken it?’ And of course I would have taken it. 

“So I just tried to win that frame to go four each and anything can happen, as you just saw.

“I just said to myself in my room beforehand, ‘Go out and enjoy it. I’ve got absolutely nothing to lose’. Just to hopefully go out there and show what I can do, and thankfully I did there.

I’m stuck for words here a bit.”

Hill also referred to O’Sullivan’s recent comments about a lack of talent coming through from the younger generation of snooker players.

O’Sullivan made the remarks during the World Snooker Championship, saying at the time that the standard is so bad that he would have to “lose an arm and a leg” to slip down the rankings.

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“That comment was in the back of my head a small bit,” says Hill about the impact of those words on him ahead of his match against O’Sullivan.

“But I didn’t worry about it. When he said it, I said, ‘One day, I’m going to show him what I can do’. And I think today was the day.”

Hill will now go on to face Matthew Stevens in the third round of the tournament.

“I’m just going to play the table, play the balls. One ball at a time, one frame at a time. Just keep believing. You have to beat the best to be the best. I believe in myself.”

- Originally published at 10.58

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