2024 World Snooker Championship: Joe O'Connor Reflects on Passing the Torch Crucible Moment with Mark Selby

Joe O'Connor reflects on defeating mentor Mark Selby, sees it as a passing of the torch in Leicester snooker.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-04-22

Naim Rosinski

4 minutes read

A Mentor's Influence: Selby Inspires O'Connor's Journey

In a stunning upset at the Crucible Theatre, Joe O'Connor secured a memorable 10-6 victory over his training partner and mentor, the Leicester snooker legend Mark Selby. The victory marked a significant milestone in O'Connor's career, not only for the magnitude of the win but also for the symbolic passing of the torch from one Leicester snooker great to his apprentice.

Reflecting on the match, O'Connor spoke candidly about the influence Selby has had on his journey in the sport, stating, "He’s inspired me to get to where I am today. Maybe you can look back in a few years’ time and think this was the moment. But I obviously don’t want Mark [Selby] to retire."

Selby opted not to definitively address swirling rumours of his retirement, instead suggesting that he would take time to reflect and consider his future plans over the summer break following this defeat. 

O'Connor's Crucible Breakthrough

The encounter held additional weight for O'Connor, as it unfolded on his Crucible debut. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of facing his mentor in such a pivotal moment, O'Connor embraced the opportunity, recognising the significance of the occasion. 

"I looked at it as more of an opportunity, and a massive occasion. On my debut, I just tried to relish it, rather than look at the negatives of one of us going out in the first round. One of us is guaranteed to win, and fortunately that was me,” he told

An Inside Job

Knowing Selby's renowned ability to mount comebacks from seemingly insurmountable deficits, O'Connor approached the match with meticulous preparation. Their personal relationship provided invaluable insight into Selby's mindset and tactics, enabling O'Connor to anticipate and capitalise on pivotal moments in the match.

"I knew I was going to be facing a different Mark [Selby] than I did yesterday," O'Connor acknowledged. "It is classic for him. He’s known for coming back from long deficits, and I knew it was coming. But I prepared myself for it and took all the chances I got. I know him better than anyone else."


Image credit: WST

Passing of the Torch

The victory not only underscored O'Connor's talent and potential but also symbolised a passing of the torch within the Leicester snooker community. As Selby's protege, O'Connor has emerged as a formidable contender in his own right, poised to carry on the legacy of his mentor while forging his own path in the world of snooker.

As the dust settles on this historic match, O'Connor's triumph serves as a testament to his resilience, skill, and the enduring bond between mentor and mentee in the world of snooker.

Stay connected with for exclusive coverage of the World Snooker Championship 2024, live from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Get the latest news, match results, and interviews, keeping yourself informed with our dedicated snooker content.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.