Fearless Fergal is a former British Open champion

 

DOB 8th March 1972

 

Lives Dublin

 

Turned professional 1991

 

Ranking tournament victories One - British Open 1999

 

World Snooker Tour prize money 2011/12 + 2012/13 seasons (ranking events / PTCs only) £80,927

 

Highest Tournament Break 143 - B&H Championship 1991

 

O'Brien started the 2012/13 season promisingly by reaching the last 16 of the Wuxi Classic. He also got to the quarter-finals of the PTC event in Gloucester. But the Dubliner struggled for form in the second half of the season and finished it 36th in the world rankings.

 

The Irishman reached his first ranking event final in eight years with a brilliant run at the 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy in Belfast.

He scored a superb 5-4 win over John Higgins, finishing with two century breaks.  O'Brien went on to beat Barry Hawkins, Mark Allen and another of snooker's big guns - Ronnie O'Sullivan - to earn his final place. "I've had a few lean years so to come back and be in the mix at this stage is great," he said.

He battled hard against Stephen Maguire but could manage only five frames in the best-of-17 encounter. "I felt great and I still enjoyed it. I hope this is the norm for me now and I don't have to wait eight years for my next final. Some people pigeon-hole me as a boring plodder but I hope I have shown this week that I'm more than that," said O'Brien.

 

O'Brien had double cause for celebration during the 1998-99 season as he claimed his first major title and secured his place among the top 16 for the first time. He showed all his battling qualities in the 1999 British Open, winning four of his six matches in the deciding frame then overcoming Anthony Hamilton 9-7 in the final.

In 2001, O'Brien came within one frame of winning the Masters at Wembley Conference Centre. Victories over Mark Williams, Ken Doherty and Dave Harold took him through to the final and he then led Paul Hunter 7-3 before losing a superb match 10-9 some 30 minutes after midnight.

 

He loves golf and names Ben Hogan one of his all-time heroes; once paraphrasing the nine-time major winner by saying: "Snooker's not what I do. It's who I am."

He is also an enthusiastic runner with Lucan Harriers. He and wife Jean have a daughter called Isobel.