Snooker: Doherty and O'Brien suffer qualifier agony
Published 14/03/2011 | 05:00
The Republic of Ireland will not be represented at this year's World Championship after Ken Doherty and Fergal O'Brien suffered twin heartbreak at Sheffield.
Doherty, the 1997 world champion, lost 10-6 to Jimmy Robertson in the final qualifying round of snooker's premier event, while Doherty's fellow Dubliner Fergal O'Brien was cruelly edged 10-9 by Matthew Stevens.
Doherty established a 6-3 first-session lead but when play resumed his touch deserted him as Robertson, an Englishman ranked 62nd on the world list, strung together seven consecutive frames to earn his Crucible debut.
Leading by 58 points with only four reds left in the deciding frame, O'Brien was on the verge of beating Stevens. However, Stevens cleaned up to steal an unlikely victory by a single point.
Antrim's Mark Allen is now the solitary Irish hope to collect the £250,000 first prize.