Sixteen year old Dubliner Seán Walsh is officially Ireland’s champion gamer after beating off the competition to hold the title of Ireland Finalist of the World Cyber Games 2009.
Walsh battled it out on PC game TrackMania Nations Forever at the Digital Hub in Dublin today and unsurprisingly the gaming champion has recently begun playing computer games professionally.
"I started competing online in the amateur Electronic Sports League recently and I did well enough to progress to the UK and Irish professional series and was then approached by a few different professional teams that wanted me to join," said Walsh.
"I eventually ranked third in that series as a member of my new team, Team-Dignitas, which is based in the UK. Mostly, we compete in online tournaments, but I’ve also travelled to London to take part in a competition there."
Walsh will go on to represent Ireland at the world final in China this November.
Dr. Stephen Brennan, director of marketing and strategy with the Digital Hub Development Agency, which hosts and organises the Irish final of the World Cyber Games each year, said that Walsh stands a good chance in the November finals.
"Gaming in Ireland at a professional level is only starting to take off," he added.
"In other countries – particularly in Asia and the US – top computer gamers are on a par with other sports professionals: they earn good salaries; have lucrative sponsorship deals, and are treated as celebrities."