Fergal O'Brien drawn against world number one Mark Selby

The Dubliner attempts to derail the defending champion at the Betfred World Championship on Saturday

Fergal O'Brien

Image: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/PA Images

Fergal O'Brien has been handed the most difficult draw on offer for the opening round of the Betfred World Championship this weekend.

The Dubliner will face world number one and defending champion Mark Selby at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The draw, which was made on Thursday morning, pitted 16 qualifiers against 16 top seeds. The 32 players will battle it out between April 15 and May 1 for the chance to win the prestigious championship and a record top prize of €442,000.

Selby won the title for the second time last year and begins his quest for back-to-back titles on Saturday morning.

O'Brien sits 45th in the world rankings and qualified for the championship after beating David Gilbert on Wednesday night.

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.

His match against Selby starts on Saturday at 10am and concludes at 7pm on the same day.

Elsewhere, Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will be up against debutant Gary Wilson. World number two Judd Trump will face Rory McLeod.

Betfred World Championship - Draw in full

  • Mark Selby v Fergal O’Brien
  • Ryan Day v Xiao Guodong
  • Neil Robertson v Noppon Saengkham
  • Marco Fu v Luca Brecel
  • Shaun Murphy v Yan Bingtao
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan v Gary Wilson
  • Liang Wenbo v Stuart Carrington
  • Ding Junhui v Zhou Yuelong
  • Stuart Bingham v Peter Ebdon
  • Kyren Wilson v David Grace
  • Mark Allen v Jimmy Robertson
  • John Higgins v Martin Gould
  • Barry Hawkins v Tom Ford
  • Ali Carter v Graeme Dott
  • Anthony McGill v Stephen Maguire
  • Judd Trump v Rory McLeod