Official Fergal O'Brien Website

How I Began

I started playing at 8 years of age when my grandparents bought me an eight foot by four foot table.
I played on that day and night and when I was eleven I started going
to the snooker club in Fairview, Dublin with my dad.
By the age of fourteen I was playing in junior tournaments and handicap events in Dublin.
The following year I started playing the amateur ranking events
which were held over a full week-end, in clubs all around Ireland
It was at this time aged fifteen that I had my first century, a one hundred and one,
and had decided to become a professional player.

On leaving school at eighteen in 1990 I was ranked number two in Ireland.
The following year I won two points tournaments and moved to Ilford, Essex.
I decided then that the time was right and turned professional in May 1991.
With 700 new professionals it was quite a challenge and after my first year
I felt I had done well to be ranked 192nd.
Two years later I was ranked 42nd having played at The Crucible for the first time.

After changing cue and then losing confidence the next couple of years were lean
and I just maintained my ranking.

Getting married in June 1997 coincided with breaking in the top 32
and then in 1999 I had my major breakthrough beating my good friend
Anthony Hamilton to win The British Open.
This moved my ranking to number 11 in the world.
After reaching the World Championship Quarter-finals in 2000
I was ranked number 9 in the world.
Despite my best performance of 2001 being in a non-ranking event,
The final of the Benson and Hedges Masters where I lost to Paul Hunter 10 - 9,
I stayed in the elite top 16.

Having decided I had gone as far as I could go with my game at that time
I decided to change cue, and more importantly, my cue action
working with the great coach Frank Callen.
I knew things would get worse before they got better
but I did not expect they would get as bad and for as long
But I have been working really hard on my game and I am looking forward to the new season.

I feel I am a much better player now, both technically and mentally,
than when I was ranked at ninth place in the world.
Having said that now is the time to put that into action.
I aim to have my best season ever this year.

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