Limerick men on target for darts World Cup

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

TWO Limerick darts players are hoping to be on target this weekend, as they represent Ireland at the World Cup in Hamburg.

TWO Limerick darts players are hoping to be on target this weekend, as they represent Ireland at the World Cup in Hamburg.

Connie Finnan from Garryowen, and Cappamore man Willie O’Connor will travel out to the German city on Thursday, ahead of the tournament on Friday.

The pair could end up facing the top players in the world Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, and Adrian Lewis, at the tournament which has a total of €175,000 in prize funds.

In advance of their departure, Mayor Gerry McLoughlin honoured the pair with a reception at City Hall.

Friends and family joined the darts stars to wish them good luck at the tournament, which will see 24 countries, and 48 players take part.

Mayor McLoughlin, no stranger to big occasions himself, from his rugby playing days, informed the pair of the benefits of meditation ahead of big tournaments.

In the doubles tournament, Connie and Willie - the top two players in Ireland - will face darts players from South Africa and Denmark.

If they finish runners up in their group, it is likely they will face the British pair of Taylor and Lewis.

With both men from Shannonside, Mayor McLoughlin joked that the selectors must be from Limerick.

For Garryowen man Connie, it will be his second international darts tournament.

“I have been to three world cups, but they would have been with the World Darts Federation. This is a big occasion, because to actually play in the two different cups, especially at my age, is big. There would not be very many who have done this: you’d be lucky if there were about ten in the world,” he said.

He said it is a shame that there are not more young darts players like Willie, 26, coming through in Limerick.

He said he was “over the moon” to be recognised by the mayor.

“It is not very often these opportunities come around, and I am looking forward to it,” he said.

Willie is currently out of work, so his friends and family have clubbed together to fly him over to Hamburg.

Mayor Gerry McLoughlin paid tribute to the pair’s commitment.

“I am thrilled. It is a very prestigious competition, and they will be playing against the best in the world. The dedication they have shown to get to this stage, shows how determined they are. You have to play the best to beat the best: you don’t want to freeze on the night,” he said, “They are a real credit to Limerick.”

Sky Sports will screen the tournament on Friday.