Fergal O'Brien on banishing World Snooker Championship qualifier "demons"

Irishman played out the longest frame in snooker history with David Gilbert

Fergal O'Brien, snooker

Fergal O'Brien (Xinhua/Jon Buckle) (Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)

Fergal O'Brien is relishing a first return to the World Snooker Championships in seven years after coming through an epic final qualifier.

The Irish snooker player beating David Gilbert on Wednesday night to set up a clash with world number one and defending champion Mark Selby at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The Dubliner edged Gilbert in the final frame with the two level at 9-9. They pair played out the longest frame in snooker history, lasting 119 minutes.

"2010 was the last time I played so I've been in the qualifiers and five times I lost that final qualifier. Three of them I lost 10-9 on the pink, 10-9 on the black," said O'Brien on Off The Ball, before joking, "I'd a few demons going through my head last night".

And nerves would come into it as the match drew towards its conclusion.

"What happens is you just become afraid of making a mistake and for me in previous matches, even though it was a few years ago, I could remember the shots that cost me," he said.

"You'd be devastated for a couple of days, weeks and months after during the summer you were playing those. So that then is just built in when you're actually playing, that you become so fearful of making the mistake."