Limerick's William O'Connor to realise 'dream' of playing on professional darts circuit

Colm Kinsella

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Colm Kinsella

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

“I'VE come to realise you have to start dreaming, and if the dream doesn't scare you then you're not dreaming big enough.”
Limerick arrowsmith William O’Connor is showing the benefits of his decision to play darts full-time on the PDC circuit this year.
The Cappamore man has given up his day job as a carpenter this year, encouraged to do so by an excellent showing at the PDC World Championships at London’s Alexandra Palace last December.
O'Connor, aged 32, landed his first PDC ranking title in May, with the world number 47 now looking to build on a successful first half of 2019. 
Earlier this month, O’Connor and Carlow partner Steve Lennon enjoyed a sensational run to the final of the BetVictor World Cup of Darts and the Limerick man hopes it will be a platform for further success.
The Irish duo defeated fancied pairings from England and the Netherlands on the way to the final, where they went down to Scotland's Gary Anderson and Peter Wright.
The Limerick darts community paid tribute to O’Connor on his impressive achievements this year at a special event at the Track Bar in Garryowen where he is a regular thrower. 
William O’Connor, nicknamed the Magpie, told Leader Sport at the Track Bar: “I am full time this year with the darts. 
“I’m sponsored by Winmau (dartboard and darts manufacturer). They make my darts and equipment and stuff now, so they have given me a push to drive on a bit.
“They want to try and promote my name a bit more, so they’re encouraging me along with a few other lads. The guys here in the Track Bar help me a lot.
“I come in here to the Track every Monday night for practice. The lads playing in competitions and leagues. There are some quality players here. They are all pushing me on. They are all helping me to try and push on to the next level.
“I won a few pound at Christmas, I got stg£25,000 then from the World Championships, so that helps. It takes the pressure off and I can use that to try and drive it on and I did.
“It is going okay so far, but I need a bit more, I need to pick up a few pound more, it is very expensive to be travelling.
“That £25,000 doesn’t go very far.
“Overall, I’m over the moon with the way things are going. Getting to the final of the World Cup doesn’t guarantee me the Grand Slam of Darts, but it more or less kinda does! 
“I am going to be in the Grand Slam, going to be in the World Championships, going to be in the Players’ Championships, I would have snapped your arm off for that last year.
“I want to try and make the Grand Prix now, see if I can push that one step further and get up the rankings and see if I can make a full career out of it.
“The more you win, the more it improves your ranking, the higher up you get, the less pressure that is on you. 
“As a result, you can plan more ahead with your schedule, you know what you’re doing. It just takes a lot of pressure off because it costs a lot of money to travel to all of these events so if you win a few bob, it takes the pressure off for the next one.
“You are just trying to build on that all the time, that’s what you are trying to do.
“The reception and turnout tonight here at the Track Bar is savage. I don’t know what to say about it. Huge thanks to the lads, Dave Murphy, Connie and the lads, John here at the Track, everyone who organised it, I’m a bit speechless with the whole thing, just thanks very much and hopefully I can pay it back some day.”
O’Connor travelled to Wigan on Thursday for some qualifiers and it proved to be a successful trip for the Cappamore man who enjoyed a double qualification success, claiming a place in this month's inaugural Czech Darts Open and the forthcoming Austrian Darts Championship.