Killarney Darts Festival & the small matter of 3 World Masters Winners The greatly anticipated Killarney Festival 2019 in the Gleneagles hotel has come and gone but it did not disappoint. With over 400 entries combined with different categories for the singles and almost 200 pairs combined the numbers were through the roof that said the atmosphere delivered in the INEC Killarney, there was lucky to be a roof left. Despite the outstanding numbers and massive crowd all 3 days almost went like clockwork, 1 or 2 minor hiccups which can be ironed out in future events, it was a learning curve but a curve that was passed with flying colours, and to mention colours the shirts on display, the lights on stage all transpired to help such an incredible weekend.
The Friday doubles was a cracking ice breaker for what was to come, some outstanding men and ladies’ pairs took to the oche, some new and regular pairs all fighting out for their respective titles. The lady’s finals reached a cracking climax, and despite a super effort from Fallon & Sue they just fell short to a super pairing of Deta & Lorraine. The men’s event was moving swiftly along and some stunning games and an upset or 2 on paper. The semi-finals saw Dean Forde & Nick Fullwell defeating Limericks Podge Balf & Mick Flynn, Dean & Nick a last-minute combination really shining throughout. The other semi saw Keith Rooney & Gareth Gray taking on the Wexford duo of Tom Kent & Kieran Kehoe, a super game and at 4 – 3 up Keith & Gareth were in control but a magical 150 checkout from Superman Tom Kent to bring it to a last leg decider, however it was Gareth & Keith who held their nerve to reach the final. A final like all on the weekend did not disappoint, heavy scoring, multiple maximums and clinical finishing was on show, but in the end Keith & Gareth got the job done to take the title, a simply incredible night came to a close. I am sure all will agree it was later than ideal, and perhaps as regards the format and an extra few boards it will be ran off quicker and finish earlier next time, but a minor hiccup didn’t ruin a super night’s play.
Saturdays Winmau Irish Open Category A+ was always going to be the class show of the weekend, and yet again the standard of darts was incredible. The Youths final was an all Offaly affair with Dylan Slevin defeating Mark Griffin, Dylan who has had an amazing year is no stranger to success, but a super effort from Mark and he can be very proud of his efforts. Kirsty Hutchinson & Fallon Sherrock both showing quality form early on and it was to continue with both reaching the final after some quality displays. Saturday was Fallons night and she was awesome with a couple of 180’s on route to winning the title, Kirsty lost little in defeat and a super run. Our own Irish ladies can be proud of their performances also, with Caroline Breen, Katie Sheldon and Robyn Byrne all successful on the stage live on McEvoy Live Streaming. The men’s field was strong and some serious early games on display including Michael Warburton who defeated Paddy Meaney, other players such as Dean Finn, Kevin Painter, Niall Culleton, Ciaran Teehan, John o Shea, Jason Marriot, Thomas Conncannon, Shane o Hara, Stephen Rosney, Keith Geraghty all showing good form on our floor live games. As it was impossible to bring the crowd all the games, we surely missed some cracking matches and individual performances. Without doubt for me the best game on the floor was the clash between Gareth Gray & Keane Barry, darts from another planet from both players, it was Keane coming out on top with almost a 110 average and Gareth just behind him in a top-notch affair that would have rivalled any best of 9 game in Wolverhampton. Semi-final number 1 saw Michael Warburton just defeat Ciaran Teehan who had a phenomenal run and will be a real force in the Ally Pally, Ciaran had previously defeated Andy Hamilton to reach this stage. Keane Barry was up next and taking on an inform Anthony Allen, but it was Keane who continued his form to reach the final. Michael and Keane both took to the stage for what proved to be a cracker, and it was no surprise to see it go the distance, it was a pity there had to be a loser, but it was Michael’s night and he became the Winmau Irish Open champ, unlucky to Keane.
The 3rd and final day kindly and proudly sponsored by Johnny McEvoy and HP ROOFING was again a raving success, despite a few sore heads and the crowd slower to reach the arena it rapidly filled out for what was going to be an extraordinary finish to the weekend. Again, quality games all over the place. Youths winner was James Beeton who defeated a gallant Dylan Slevin who had a successful weekend and a decent show in the men’s events also. The lady’s final between Maria o Brien and Deta Headman was a cracker, 2 stars of the lady’s game, it was Maria who had amazing set up play who was that bit more clinical and a deserving winner on the night. The men’s again did not disappoint, good runs