Limerick's William O'Connor debuts at PDC World Darts Championships in 'Ally Pally'

Colm Kinsella

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Colm Kinsella

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Limerick's William O'Connor debuts at PDC World Darts Championships in 'Ally Pally'

Cappamore man William O'Connor who makes his debut at the PDC World Championships in Alexandra Palace, London, this Thursday night, live on Sky Sports

CAPPAMORE carpenter Willie O’Connor makes his debut in the biggest darts event in the world this Thursday night when he competes at the 25th PDC World Championship at the Alexandra Palace, London.

Thirty one-year-old O’Connor faces veteran thrower Steve Beaton in the opening match of this year’s tournament (7pm), which will be beamed live in millions of homes by Sky Sports.

The first round match is the best of seven sets.

Seventy two players from 24 countries will compete in the tournament for a  prize fund of stg£1.8million. The winner of the final which will take place on New Year’s Day will pocket a cheque for stg£400,000.

He is one of four Irish players taking part in the event, including world number four ranked player Daryl Gurney.

Limerick man O'Connor defeated Jason Cullen 6-4 to win the 2017 Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final in October, to book his place William Hill World Darts Championship for the first time.

O’Connor claimed Ireland's top domestic honour for the first time - having lost in the 2009 decider - with an impressive display to edge past Wexford man Cullen.

Sixteen-time world champion Phil Taylor will retire at the conclusion of the 2018 event.

Reigning World Champion Michael van Gerwen, from the Netherlands, begins his bid for a third Alexandra Palace title on this Thursday night, as he takes on fellow Dutchman Christian Kist.