The Irish angle at the Darts Grand Prix in Citywest
As a largely indoor country that likes a drink, Ireland should be very good at darts. Thanks to a few trendsetters in action next week, we’re getting there.
While most of us were midway through an epic day of sport on Sunday September 23 (Man Utd/Liverpool, Mayo/Donegal, Arsenal/City) a very significant event in Irish darts was taking place far away in Muelheim in Germany.
Fermanagh native Brendan Dolan beat the world number one and living legend Phil Taylor in the quarter final of the PartyPoker.net European Championships. Not only did it end Taylor’s four-year reign as champ of the event, it was also the first time in 15 attempts that Dolan had beaten The Power.
That step forward can’t be underestimated. Speaking after the match, Dolan said: “I’ve never beaten Phil before and it’s obviously brilliant to beat him. It’s been a dream of mine and I’ve fulfilled that now.”
Dolan would exit in the semi-final to Wes Newton but his 10-6 win over Taylor is a sign that the 38-year-old is hitting the best form of his career and that bodes well ahead of the Grand Prix darts event at Citywest next week.
Dolan went all the way to the final last year in Dublin, losing to Taylor 10-6, and on the way he scored the first ever nine-dart finish, that started with a double, on television.
With that performance in mind, and with the boost of his recent exploits in Germany, Dolan is the main man to watch if you want to back a local chucker. One note of caution though; the draw hasn’t been kind to Dolan, pitching him in against fourth seed Gary Anderson. Even if he gets past the Flying Scotsman, Dolan is in the same side of the draw as Simon Whitlock (fifth seed) and, you guessed it, Phil Taylor.
Another name to watch out for in that side of the draw is William O’Connor. The Limerick man is making his way in the lower reaches of the game and gets the invite to Citywest by dint of his performances on the ProTour, the rung below the very top tier. If O’Connor gets past Vincent van den Voort, then he will face the winner of Dolan/Anderson. An all-Irish match at Citywest is a possibility and if it comes to pass the atmosphere should be cracking.
The third and final Irish name to watch out for is Michael Mansell. Currently 66th in the Order of Merit he is the lowest ranked player at Citywest. The Tyrone man will face the talented Australian Paul Nicholson in the first round and it is a great chance for the 26-year-old lefty to show what he can do on home soil.
So while all the focus will be on The Power, Barney and The Wizard, spare a few minutes to give our own lads a big cheer, especially if you are lucky enough to go along next week.
The World Grand Prix runs at Citywest from October 8-14. We have VIP packages to the event to give away courtesy of McCoy’s so click here for your chance to win.