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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 November 2007, 22:55 GMT
Maguire faces O'Brien in NI final
Stephen Maguire
Maguire won the European Open and UK Championship in 2004
Stephen Maguire will face Fergal O'Brien in the final of the Northern Ireland Trophy following a high-quality 6-5 win over Shaun Murphy in Belfast.

Maguire fell 2-0 and 4-3 behind but made six out of the 14 half-centuries in the match in his fightback that included a 52 in the decider.

Meanwhile, Irishman O'Brien battled back from 2-1 down to record a 6-3 win over home favourite Mark Allen.

O'Brien is in his first ranking final since winning the 1999 British Open.

"I took the game by the scruff of the neck at 2-2 and had three good breaks," said the Irishman.

"I could have won it 6-2 but missed a tricky red on 36, but luckily I got my chance in the next frame.

"I was very nervous at the interval. I felt it was a long day, but after the interval I settled down and felt much better.

"It's great to have a few lean years and then be back in the mix with the chance of winning a title again."

Maguire, 26, said he was delighted after coming out on top following a superb tussle with Murphy.

"That has to be one of the best matches I've ever played in," said the 2004 UK champion.

I played well enough to win but for a couple of mistakes

Shaun Murphy

The Scot said it was vital Murphy was never given more than a two-frame advantage.

"I just had to stick in there," said Maguire. "I got off to a terrible start, I was very nervous and doing silly things at 2-0 down. I looked as if I was going 3-0 down.

"I think if I'd gone 3-0 down it was going to be an uphill struggle all day.

Saj C

"But I just nicked a couple of massive frames, and it's obviously made the difference at the end."

The 26-year-old added: "It's brilliant to be in the final. I can just relax now and look forward to the match.

"I'll be up for it 100%. In my last three matches I've been fighting against myself; I've wanted to stamp my authority, because it's still early on in the season."

Murphy, the 2005 world champion, was left to rue missing out on a fourth ranking final.

"I'm very disappointed; I played well enough to win but for a couple of mistakes," said the 25-year-old.

"We took each other's best punches. But at 4-3 ahead, I had a green into the yellow pocket - and I didn't know what to do.

"I leave Belfast happy, because I'm playing well and have had a consistent start to the season. But I'd rather be in the final."

O'Brien stuns Rocket in Belfast
09 Nov 07 |  Snooker
O'Brien fightback stuns Higgins
07 Nov 07 |  Snooker
Robertson into NI Trophy last 16
06 Nov 07 |  Snooker
Northern Ireland Trophy results
08 Nov 07 |  Snooker


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