Official Fergal O'Brien Website

Season Review 2008

Overall last season was easily one of the best of my career.
The previous season had seen me go from 46th up to 37th on the two year rankings and 30th on the one year list.
I managed to build on that platform and finished last season at 24th and am nicely placed for next season,
being 21st on the provisional list. It is nice to be going back up the rankings.

The highlight of the season was getting to the final of the Northern Ireland Trophy in Belfast last november.
Although I lost 9 - 5 in the final to Stephan Maguire it had still being a great week for me,
beating the world number one Ronnie O'Sullivan 5 - 2
(who, the day before, had five centuries including a 147 in beating Ali Carter 5 -2)
and World Champion John Higgins 5- 4, making two centuries in the last two frames.
These were great results for me and it was nice to play the way I know I can on the big occasions

I also got to the final of the Victor Chandler Irish Professional Championship for the first time,
having previously got to the semi-finals in 2005 and 1992.
I had a "bad day at the office" and lost 9 - 2 to ken Doherty
but it was still a great experience and I learned a lot for the future.
I also got to the final of the Lucan Racing Classic, a tournament I organised for the
Irish Professionals in my home club Raphaels in Lucan.
I eventually lost 5 - 3 to Davy Morris but again it was an enjoyable tournament
and it marked the closing of Raphaels after 22 years in business.
For next season I will be practicing in Celbridge Snooker Club in Co. Kildare, just outside Dublin.

In ranking events, other highlights included winning my qualifying group in the Grand Prix
and winning two matches to qualify for both the Shanghai Masters and the China Open
and whilst I didn't progress further in these events
I had earned valuable ranking points to help my chase for a top 32 spot.

I won my first match in the U.K. Championship for four years beating Liu Song 9 - 8
but I lost in the next round to Stuart Bingham 9 - 4.
I won six out of seven of my first matches, which are crucial in terms of ranking points.
The only one I lost was to Drew Henry in the Welsh Open.
The biggest disappointment of the season was failing to qualify for the Crucible.
After beating James McBain 10 - 4, I lost out 5 - 10 to Jamie Cope.
It is never nice watching others play at the Crucible
but it has just made me more determined to get there next year.

When you include getting to the semi-final of the German Open in August
and winning my group before losing in the semi-finals of the Championship League in May.
It probably adds up to one of my busiest seasons ever.
In total I played fifty matches winning 32 and losing 16, a good ratio that has me back in the winning habit
and gives me great confidence for this season coming.

Finally, I would like to thank my manager, Martin Daly, and my sponsors, Povall Conservation
and Larkin's Spar Dorset St. for their continued support in helping me try and achieve my goals.
I hope to give them, and you, something to cheer about in the coming season.


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