The Outlaw has been in the World semi-finals twice and the final of the Welsh Open.

 

DOB: 29/8/69

 

Lives: Belfast

 

Turned pro: 1991

 

Best Ranking Performance Runner-up, 2009 Welsh Open

 

Highest Tournament Break 142 - 2000 China Open

 

Swail breathed new life into his snooker career during the 2012/13 season and regained his professional status.

 

He was relegated from the main tour at the end of 2011/12 after a series of poor results, but competed in the PTC events the following season with immediate success. He reached the final of the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany, beating the likes of Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins before losing to Mark Selby.

 

That run earned Swail a place in the PTC Grand Finals in Galway, and he grabbed his chance with a superb 4-3 win over Stephen Maguire, recovering from 3-0 down. "I haven't had much to shout about over the last few years, it has been tough," said Swail.  "I knew things would turn around on and off the table. I knew sooner or later it would come, but what a way for it to come here, beating one of the top players from 3-0 down. I'm absolutely over the moon. If you look at my track record you know that I don't give in. No matter how bad things are I always stick at it."

 

He lost to Mark Allen in the next round, but Swail had already done enough to regain his pro status and hopes to climb back up the rankings.

 

At the 2009 Welsh Open in Newport, Swail reached the first ranking final of his career. After beating Marcus Campbell 5-3 to qualify for the venue, he saw off Mark Allen 5-3, Martin Gould 5-1, Stephen Maguire 5-4 and Neil Robertson 6-4 to book his place in the final.

 

"You have no idea what this means to me," said Swail. "After 18 years as a pro I'm in a final and I can't believe it. I thought I'd missed the boat in the mid-90s after messing with my game, and all the parties and drinking. Now I've got a second chance. I'm 39 and I might never get another one so I've got to take it. It's what I set out to do. I've got a monkey off my back now, people have been going on about how many semi-finals I've lost in for 15 years which has been annoying. I'm just so delighted."

 

The Ulsterman looked in control of the final against Ali Carter when he led 5-2, but Carter turned on the style in the closing stages to run out a 9-5 winner and leave Swail clutching the runner-up cheque.

 

"When I did get a chance I'd had no table time so I was cold. On paper it looks as if I collapsed, but there wasn't much I could do," he said. "I wasn't used to that scenario but it was an enjoyable kind of pressure. To have millions of people watching on TV and thousands at the venue including your family and friends - you're out to impress. I've loved the week and it's a pity it's come to an end. In my eyes I've beaten three of the top six players in the world this week in Mark Allen, Stephen Maguire and Neil Robertson. I may have lost tonight but I'll try not to dwell on it."

 

The Belfast cueman is one of only two players to regain a top 16 place after dropping out of the top 32 (the other is Rex Williams).

 

The player with the unorthodox but effective cue action won the Irish Professional Championship in 2005 for the second time in his career, beating Ken Doherty 9-7 in the final in Templelogue.

 

Nicknamed the Outlaw - a nod to the classic 1976 western The Outlaw Josey Wales - Swail appeared in nine ranking event semi-finals before his first final.

 

Two of those came at the Crucible. In 2000 he beat Paul Hunter, John Parrott and Dominic Dale before losing 17-12 to Matthew Stevens.

 

And a year later he enjoyed another fine run at Sheffield, knocking out defending champion Mark Williams, but went down 17-11 to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semis.

 

Swail, who captained Northern Ireland in the Nations Cup, is congenitally hearing-impaired but believes that may give him an advantage in snooker because it lessens the effect of crowd noise.